MANILA, Philippines - The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was the 34th busiest airport in the world last year despite its being tagged as the world’s worst airport by an interactive website last October.
Data from the think tank Center for Aviation (CAPA) showed that NAIA served 829,348 seats per week last year.
“Manila’s NAIA holds on at top 34 of the busiest airports in the world,” CAPA said.
CAPA reported that the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained the world’s busiest airport in 2012 with 1.97 million seats per week, followed by the Beijing Capital International Airport with 1.91 million, and Tokyo Haneda Airport with 1.81 million.
The London Heathrow Airport ranked fourth with 1.67 million seats per week, followed by the Dubai International Airport with 1.58 million; Los Angeles International Airport, 1.44 million; Hong Kong International Airport, 1.43 million; Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, 1.43 million; and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, 1.39 million.
Meanwhile, CAPA data showed that the Singapore Changi Airport has entered the Top 10 with 1.39 million seats per week, overtaking the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with 1.37 million due to strong growth in low-cost carrier (LCC) operations.
Records showed that the combined volume of domestic and international passengers who used NAIA went up about eight percent to 32.1 million last year from 29.8 million in 2011 on the back of cheaper fares being offered by budget airlines as well as the country’s improving economy.
The volume of international flights at NAIA 1 increased by 4.5 percent to 8.17 million last year from 7.82 million, while the volume at the NAIA 2 or the Centennial Airport where national flag carrier Philippine Airlines is based slipped to 7.79 million from 7.81 million.
Data showed that the volume at the NAIA 3 where budget airlines including Cebu Pacific, AirPhil Express, Zest Airways, and All Nippon Airways are based surged 17 percent to 13.78 million from 11.82 million, while the number of passengers at NAIA 4 or the domestic airport climbed by 3.1 percent to 2.34 million from 2.27 million.
Interactive website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” has tagged NAIA – particularly Terminal 1 – as among the “Worst Airports in the World.” In 2010, the website branded NAIA 1 as the fifth-worst airport in the world and the worst in Asia.
The ranking of Manila’s international airport was based on reviews of travelers who complained, among other things, of “safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities, no (or few) services to pass the time, bribery, being kicked out, and general hassles of being in the airport.”