Airport authorities expect only “modest growth” in international passenger traffic this year but vowed to continue improving the services and capacity of the country’s premier gateway.
In its yearend report, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) had not yet tallied the 2008 figures but said they expected it to “remain modest” compared to 21.3 million passengers in 2007.
The MIAA said it will work for the full operation this year of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, which can handle up to 35 million passengers annually.
Philippine passenger traffic is presently among the lowest in Asia.
In 2007, Thailand’s Suvernabhumi International Airport handled 41.2 million passengers, Indonesia’s Sokearno-Hatta International Airport, 32.5 million, and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, 26.9 million, according to the Airport Council International.
The region’s bigger international airports, Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore’s Changi International Airport, handled 47 million and 36.7 million passengers, respectively, in the same year.
Among the busiest in the world, Tokyo’s Haneda airport handled 67 million passengers in 2007.
Worldwide, the Atlanta and Chicago O’Hare airports in the United States were in the top two slots with passengers numbering 89 million and 79 million, respectively. In terms of international traffic, London’s Heathrow airport (68 million) and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (55 million) take the top two slots, according to the World Airport Traffic Report.
MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi said that aside from building airports, fostering an aviation boom in the Philippines would require MIAA and other government agencies to “aggressively pursue the bright prospects of a developing country with such vast potential in trade and tourism.”