Cathay leads Terminal 3 Transfer

NAIA Terminal 1 burst to seams as Cathay seeks new home

February 10, 2009

Hong Kong, SAR - Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways will lead international airlines to Terminal 3 by middle of this year.

The airline flew 1,067,270 passengers out of Manila from January to September last year followed by Northwest Airlines, at 383,104. Singapore Airlines carried 415,828; Korean Air, 314,808; Emirates Airline, 321,191; Japan Airlines, 312,670; Thai Airways, 241,372; China Airlines, 203,956; Gulf Air, 255,741; and Asiana Airlines, 214,871.

Coming in tow are Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, and Thai Airways whose international flights caused congestion at the Terminal 1 during peak hours. All of them also operated multiple flights.

Terminal 1 exceeded its 7-million passenger capacity in 2007. With the foreign airlines transfer, it is expected that 3 million passengers will be taken away from Terminal 1.

However, Terminal 1 capacity is expected to grow following additional flights from middle east carriers particularly Emirates and Qatar airways. Emirates intend to fly the bi-class Airbus 380 early next year. Two more foreign airlines, one from Europe and the other from the middle east, are also expected to fly out of Manila Terminal 1 this year if their plans push through.

General manager Alfonso Cusi of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) when asked, neither confirmed nor deny which airline was transferring because they are still negotiating the terms of the contract. Japan bound airlines will continue to operate at Terminal 1.

The airport authority expects international traffic to rise by 2 percent to 3 percent this year, while domestic air travel at conservative 6%.

CAB reported that in 2008, international passenger traffic was at 10.7 million and domestic traffic was 9.7 million, for a total of 20.4 million passengers.

By 2013, the MIAA forecasts 11.3 million international passengers and 10.3 million domestic passengers for a total of 21.6 million passengers. It is expected to service 39 million passengers by 2018.

Meanwhile, Cusi announced that a monorail would be constructed next year to link first Terminal 1 and 2, then Terminal 3. The project is estimated to cost P300 million and be completed in three years. By 2014, the Terminal 2 annex will be constructed together with the monorail extension to Terminal 3 to accommodate future international flights of Philippine Airlines.

MIAA earned revenues close to P8 billion last year. CAB expects the Philippines to continue serving more passenger arrivals despite the crisis, citing the healthy growth of deployment in overseas Filipino workers. OFW arrival was recorded at 25 percent of terminal capacity in 2008. Philippine aviation industry grows more than 9% in 2008 while the rest of Asia Pacific struggles positive growth.


  1. Do you have an exact date when they gonna transfer those four airlines to NAIA 3 ?

  2. Sorry. I don't know the particular date. I can only assume based from the manager's informal talk, that they are hoping to transfer it sometime in October or Early November in time for the peak season. But the addition of 10 new wide body flights from the middle east prompted them to expedite the relocation hopefully by July. And it seems that other regional flights will have to relocate too, such as Dragon Air, Air Macau, China and Eva Air, Malaysia Airlines, and Jetstar. The plan is not yet final so there is still a possibility of slight changes. I guess we have to just wait and see.

  3. "As of now, March 25,2010...these transfers have not taken place yet! It will probably never happen at all..."