Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA): Gateway to the Philippines


Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), originally Manila International Airport (MIA), is the primary international gateway to the Manila metropolitan area and the Philippines. Strategically located between Pasay and Parañaque, NAIA is about 7 km south of Manila and southwest of Makati. Serving as a hub for AirSWIFT, PAL Express, and Philippine Airlines, it’s also a base for Cebgo, Cebu Pacific, and Philippines AirAsia.

Named after the assassinated senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., NAIA operates under the Manila International Airport Authority, part of the Department of Transportation.

History and Development

  • Early History: Began as Grace Park Airfield in 1935, transitioning to Nielson Airport in 1937. Operations moved to the current site in 1948.
  • Renaming: Renamed after Ninoy Aquino following his assassination at the airport in 1983.
  • Expansion and Modernization: Ongoing expansions include new terminals and infrastructure improvements. The latest additions are Terminal 3 and plans for privatization and rehabilitation.

Facilities and Terminals

  • Terminal 1: The oldest, handling international flights of Philippine Airlines and several other airlines.
  • Terminal 2: Known as the ‘Centennial Terminal’, dedicated mainly to domestic flights.
  • Terminal 3: The largest and most modern, serving domestic and international flights, mainly of Cebu Pacific.
  • Terminal 4: The original structure of the airport, serving regional flights.

Runways and Statistics

  • Runways: Two main runways (06/24 and 13/31), accommodating various aircraft types.
  • Statistics (2022): Served 30.96 million passengers, 246,724 aircraft movements, and handled 402,732.26 tonnes of cargo.

Ground Transport

  • Inter-Terminal Transport: MIAA shuttle bus and airside services.
  • Local Connections: Bus services (UBE Express), jeepney routes, and rail connections (LRT Line 1 and PNR).
  • Road Access: NAIA Expressway, connecting to various parts of Metro Manila and Cavite.

Challenges and Future Plans

NAIA faces challenges like congestion and has been criticized for its facilities. Plans for privatization aim to improve its infrastructure. Two new airports, the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan and Sangley Point Airport in Cavite, are under construction to alleviate congestion.


NAIA stands as a vital component of Philippine transportation, reflecting the country’s rich history and ongoing efforts towards modernization and improved connectivity. Its strategic location, coupled with plans for expansion and privatization, poises it to continue being a key player in regional and international air travel.


Coordinates: 14°30′30″N 121°01′11″E
Airport Type: Public / Military
Location: Parañaque and Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Opened: 1948
Elevation: 23 m / 75 ft