Two new international airlines will soon operate flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced on Thursday.
Greater Bay Airlines and Batik Air are both expected to start operating at NAIA on November 9 and December 1, respectively. Greater Bay Airlines will provide flights between Hong Kong and Manila five times a week, whereas Batik Air will offer daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
The MIAA recently welcomed Hong Kong-based HK Express, which had a successful launch at the country's main gateway with its daily flights between Hong Kong and Manila on October 17, as well as United Airlines' non-stop flights connecting Manila with San Francisco on October 30.
"We are pleased to welcome Greater Bay Airlines and Batik Air to NAIA's growing roster of air carriers. This expansion reflects our commitment to providing passengers with an even broader range of travel options," MIAA Officer-in-Charge Bryan Co said in a statement.
Greater Bay Airlines, which was established in 2020 in Hong Kong, is a subsidiary of East Pacific (Holdings) Ltd. This carrier was originally named Donghai Airlines but went through several name changes before finally being known as Greater Bay Airlines. On the other hand, Batik Air Malaysia is a full-service carrier based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia that is associated with the Indonesian Lion Air Group.
The MIAA chief noted the significant impact of this development on the airport's connectivity as new airlines strengthen Manila's position among the most internationally connected airports worldwide. NAIA recently ranked 15th in the OAG Megahub Index 2023's list of the top 50 global airport mega hubs, ranking 6th among the leading international mega hubs in the Asia Pacific region, and 3rd among the top 25 low-cost carrier airport mega hubs.
The inclusion of Greater Bay Airlines and Batik Air brings the total number of air carriers hosted by NAIA to 48, with its 42 international carriers serving 57 international destinations.
Co attributed MIAA's ability to accommodate more flights to the efficient schedule management carried out by the Airport Integrated Command and Control Center (AICCC), which is responsible for efficiently managing flight schedules at NAIA. This facility plays a crucial role in coordinating and controlling airport operations, including flight information services and gate planning, to enable MIAA to accommodate more flights and ensure a seamless flow of arrivals and departures.
According to MIAA, the AICCC currently handles 800 flights departing from and arriving at NAIA within a 24-hour window, with the potential to accommodate more flights contingent on the availability of runway slots.
The MIAA is expecting more airlines to come in the future due to Manila's reputation as a popular choice for international carriers. The city's advantageous position in Southeast Asia makes it a convenient entry point to the Philippines and a perfect layover option for connecting flights between Asia and other parts of the globe. It is also conveniently located near major Asian cities, as well as Australia and the Middle East.
This, coupled with the country's economic growth, popular local tourist destinations, and rich cultural attractions, positions Manila as an attractive destination for both business and leisure travelers, fostering an increased demand for international flight services and drawing more carriers into its network, the MIAA added.
"Apart from expanding the range of destinations for Filipinos and international guests flying to and from NAIA, we also seek to diversify our airline roster, ultimately benefiting passengers who will have access to more affordable and competitive airfares, as well as a wider array of flight options, including different departure times, various service classes, and potentially more convenient routes. This increased variety can better cater to individual preferences and needs," Co emphasized, adding, "We will continue to harmonize our procedures and coordination to enhance our capacity to accommodate even more carriers and flights and leverage the use of digital technologies to further this cause."
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