Top 10 Busiest Airports in the Philippines

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In the list of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), there are over a hundred airports in the Philippines. They are classified into three – international airports, principal airports and community airports.

Due to the archipelagic nature of the Philippines, airports are vital facilities connecting the islands.

In this post, we will know what are the most busy airports in the Philippines.

1. Ninoy Aquino International Airport 

With over 30 million passengers in 2012, NAIA is disputed to be the primary gateway to and from the Philippines. The airport is located in Pasay City, one of cities comprising Metropolitan Manila. It was built in 1948, two years after the Philippines became independent from the Americans and was originally named Manila International Airport but was renamed with its current name in 1987 in honor of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who was assassinated in its tarmac when he went back to the Philippines in 1983 from his self-imposed exile in the United States. Currently, the airport has four (4) terminals. Terminal 1 serves most of the international flights; Terminal 2 or the Centennial Terminal is exclusively used by Philippine Airlines for its domestic and international flights; Terminal 3, which is the newest and the biggest of all terminals, serves domestic and international flights as well and the Terminal 4 or the Manila Domestic Terminal which serves domestic flights operated by AirAsia Zest and Tiger Air Philippines.

2. Mactan-Cebu International Airport

MCIA is the main entry point to the South.  In 2012, it served nearly seven (7) million passengers both from domestic and international destinations. It was opened as a civilian airport in the 1960s in Mactan Airbase as a replacement of the Lahug Airport which could no longer be expanded because of the growing urbanization in mainland Cebu. Today, the airport connects the city not only to major cities in the Philippines, but to the countries of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, China, Malaysia and Singapore.

3. Francisco Bangoy International Airport

Serving nearly 3 million passengers, Francisco Bangoy International Airport or the Davao International Airport remains to be the busiest airport in Mindanao. Built in 1940s in a lot donated by Don Francisco Bangoy (where the airport got its name) , patriarch of one of the most influential families in Davao City . The airport connects the city to Manila and other major cities in the country like Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo and Zamboanga. Serving international flights, Silk Air has a regular flight  to and from Singapore and also serves chartered flights to Manado, Indonesia.

4. Iloilo International Airport

Fourth in the list is the airport serving the Iloilo- Guimaras – Southern Panay area – the Iloilo International Airport. The facility is located in the town of Cabatuan, some nineteen (19) kilometers northwest of Iloilo City. Built in 2004 and completed in 2007, the airport replaced Mandurriao Airport as the primary gateway to Iloilo and was the first airport in Western Visayas to be built in international standards. Currently, it connects Iloilo to the cities of Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Puerto Princesa. Regular international flights are also scheduled to and from Hongkong and Singapore.

5. Kalibo International Airport

Occupying the fifth spot is also an airport in Panay, specifically in the Province of Aklan. Kalibo International Airport which served nearly 2 million passengers in 2012 is touted to be the fastest growing airport in the country. Though, Iloilo International Airport is the busiest airport in Western Visayas, Kalibo International Airport boasts as having the busiest international flight activity in the region since the airport is one of the two airports serving Boracay, the country’s primary tourist destination. It has flights to Busan and Seoul in South Korea, Taipei in Taiwan, Hongkong, Beijing and Shanghai in China, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Singapore. Chartered flights are also scheduled connecting other cities in China and Russia.

6. Lumbia Airport 

In the 2012 CAAP Report, Lumbia Airport serving Cagayan de Oro City tallied 1.6 million passengers embarking and disembarking in the airport making it the second busiest in Mindanao.Currently it serves as a minor airbase for the Philippine Air Force, after it was closed down for civilian used when the Laguindingan Airport went to full operation. Lumbia got its name from the barangay where the airport in located.

7. Bacolod -Silay International Airport

The third airport from Western Visayas to make it to the Top 10, Bacolod-Silay International Airport is the busiest airport in the Negros Island. Constructed in 2004 and completed in 2007, the airport replaced the old Bacolod Domestic Airport in Barangay Sicgang. The airport is located in Silay City some 15 kilometers northeast of Bacolod City. Currently it connects Bacolod to the cities of Manila, Cebu and Davao. No international flights is currently serving the airport.

8. Puerto Princesa International Airport 

The primary airport in Palawan and the main gateway to the famed Puerto Princesa Underground River, Puerto Princesa International Airport is truly one of the country’s busiest serving 1.32 passengers. Currently, $82.9-million was allocated by the National Government for the construction of new terminal and other support facilities and is expected to be completed in 2017. Currently, the airport connects Puerto Princesa to Manila, Cebu and Iloilo. It has international flights from Taipei.

9. Clark International Airport 

Being the alternate airport of NAIA, Clark International Airport served 1.30 million passengers making it the ninth busiest airport in the country. It opened in 1993 right after Clark Airbase reopened as the Clark Special Economic Zone. It was renamed as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in 2003 by Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to honor his father, Former President Diosdado Macapagal, who hailed from Lubao, Pampanga. In 2012, President Benigno Aquino III, renamed the airport back to Clark International Airport. Currently, it serves international flights to Kuala Lumpur, Hongkong, Macau, Singapore, Doha and Seoul.

10. Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport 

With 1.1 million passengers served, Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban is the busiest airport in Eastern Visayas. It was constructed during World War II as San Jose Airstrip serving the USAFE. Later on, it was renamed after Daniel Z. Romualdez, a former Speaker of the House of Representative who hails from Tacloban. During the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan, DZR Airport was heavily damaged making its terminal, control tower and other vital installations unusable. Operations resumed few days after but for turboprops only. During the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015, the airport was the venue where the pontiff celebrated a holy mass drawing more than 200,000 attendees. Currently, the airport connects Tacloban to Manila and Cebu.


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