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DOTr: NAIA's passenger volume exceeds 2022 figure in 1st 9 months of 2023

File photo of passengers entering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to board an outbound flight. (Photo Courtesy: NAIA)

MANILA, (PIA) -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Sunday announced that passenger volumes for the first nine months of 2023 have already surpassed the entire year of 2022 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Parañaque City, showcasing a remarkable resurgence in aviation in the country.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista revealed that NAIA had recorded an astounding 33,757,646 domestic and international passengers from January to September 2023. This figure represents a substantial increase of nine percent compared to the total passenger volume recorded in the entirety of 2022, which stood at 30,943,105 passengers.

"This impressive achievement signifies a remarkable 59 percent surge in passenger volume during the same period in 2022 and is equivalent to 95 percent of the first three quarters' performance in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic," Secretary Bautista said.

The official highlighted that the on-time performance (OTP) of flights in September 2023 matched the highest rate recorded earlier in 2023, demonstrating the commitment to operational excellence at NAIA. OTP is a widely accepted method for measuring punctuality across different modes of public transport, including aviation. It provides a standardized means of comparing how well one service provider operates according to its published schedule compared to another.

Moreover, the vitality of both domestic and international flight movements also remains robust, with a total of 206,050 flights taking off and landing at NAIA from January to September 2023, reflecting a three percent increase compared to the same period in 2022 and a two percent improvement over the first three quarters of 2019, as reported by the DOTr.

The third quarter of 2023 has emerged as the strongest three-month period for passenger volume and flight movement compared to the first and second quarters, showcasing the continuous upward trajectory of NAIA's performance.

Bryan Co, Officer-in-Charge of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), shared insights on this remarkable growth.

"With this consistent growth, MIAA remains on track to achieve our year-end projections of 45 million passengers and 275,000 flights by the end of 2023," Co said.

"These projected flight estimates are poised to surpass the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, reflecting the resilience and recovery of the aviation industry in the Philippines,” he added.

In addition to this encouraging trend, Co highlighted the significant improvement in NAIA's flight OTP, with MIAA achieving an average OTP of 80 percent in September 2023, matching the highest average OTP rate recorded this year in March. These OTP statistics align with international standards, considering flights that depart and arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled time as on-time.

Co attributed MIAA's enhanced schedule reliability to a strategic blend of software solutions and technology, coupled with vigilant monitoring. The airport effectively mitigated operational disruptions, including those caused by Red Lightning Alerts, through innovative technology and real-time monitoring systems.

Furthermore, Co emphasized the collaborative efforts with airlines and aviation stakeholders to address industry challenges, ensuring the timely deployment of the required resources needed to support flight schedules.

Ensuring the security and safety of passengers remains a top priority amid the expected influx of more passengers for the remainder of 2023. Co reassured the public that measures are in place to ensure the safety of NAIA passengers, flights, and facilities.

This includes foot and mobile patrols and K9 units conducting regular rounds of the terminals, in addition to existing day-to-day protocols. MIAA maintains close coordination with the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Unit (PNP AVSEU) and relevant government law enforcement units to validate any threats to national security.

"We would like to assure the traveling public that protocols are in place to ensure everyone's safety and security," Co affirmed.

NAIA's exceptional performance in 2023 demonstrates the continued recovery and resilience of the aviation industry in the Philippines, further solidifying its position as a vital international gateway. (PIA-NCR)

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Janna Marie Pineda

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