By Ma. Cristina Arayata

PASSENGER VOLUME. Arriving passengers utilize the electronic gates at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City in this undated photo. From an average 130,000 daily passengers during the Christmas season in 2019, the figure is expected to reach up to 145,000 starting Dec. 22, 2023. (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata)

MANILA – Passenger volume at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for the first three weeks of December increased by almost 15 percent year-on-year.

Data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Friday showed there were 2,773,711 passengers as of Dec. 21, up 14.53 percent from the 2,421,808 passengers for the same period last year.

From the 130,628 passengers logged on Dec. 1, the number has reached 141,164 on Dec. 21, breaching the management’s estimate of 140,000 daily passengers during the holiday season.

On Friday, aviation officials, along with Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, made the rounds at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City to check the airport’s readiness amid the holiday rush.

Bautista told reporters that daily passengers could reach 145,000 daily.

“This (estimate surge) is higher than the pre-pandemic levels,” he said, noting that daily passenger volume at the NAIA was only 130,000 in 2019.

Earlier, MIAA officer-in-charge Bryan Co said the domestic passenger volume has been exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

“Domestic passengers have reached around 110 percent of the pre-pandemic levels, while international passengers is at around 95 percent of the 2019 level,” he said.

Co advised passengers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before an international flight, and two hours before a domestic flight, and to also consider the traffic condition.

He urged travelers to make use of online processes, such as when paying taxes and when checking in, to minimize the need for queuing. (PNA)