On September 30, Cathay Pacific (CX) flights CX913 and CX905 docked at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 for the very first time. The arrival of the flights from Hong Kong signalled the official transfer of Cathay Pacific from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
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Although the terminals have changed, the number of flights being operated by Cathay Pacific to Manila have not changed. Scheduled arrival and departure times also remain the same. However, Cathay Pacific is slated to add a seventh daily flight between its Hong Kong hub and Manila on October 26. The new flight, CX935, will depart Hong Kong at 5:50pm and arrive in Manila at 7:50pm. The return flight, CX934, will depart Manila at 8:55pm and arrive back in Hong Kong at 11:05pm.
With up to six flights currently being flown each day between Manila and Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific provides the most number of flights out of Manila by any foreign carrier. Consequently, its move to Terminal 3 is expected to significantly reduce congestion at the 33-year old Terminal 1.
Although all flights operated by Cathay Pacific will now be serviced at Terminal 3, the Hong Kong carrier will continue to maintain a presence in Terminal 1 through its sister carrier Dragonair, which will continue to operate out of Terminal 1 until further notice.
THE FIRST FIVE FOREIGN CARRIERS TO TRANSFER TO NAIA 3
The transfer of Cathay Pacific signals the completion of the transfers of the first five foreign carriers from the thirty year old Terminal 1 to the recently completed Terminal 3. Delta Airlines became the first foreign carrier to use the facility on August 1, followed by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines three days later. Emirates became the third carrier to move in on August 15 and Singapore Airlines started operations from Terminal 3 on September 1.
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However, industry observers are speculating whether this special A380 flight operated by Emirates will serve as a test for the possibility of introducing regular A380 service to Manila. Emirates is due to lose one of its daily flights between Dubai and Manila after the Civil Aeronautics Board forced Philippine Airlines and Emirates to discontinue their code-sharing relationship. Using the A380 aircraft could help Emirates to maintain its current capacity in the important Philippine market.
The Manila International Airport Authority is hoping that the transfer of some of the foreign carriers to Terminal 3 will lead to the decongestion of Terminal 1, which was previously handling up to eight million passengers a year -- well above its designed capacity of 4.5 million passengers.
THE RECENTLY COMPLETED NAIA TERMINAL 3
With the recent completion of Terminal 3, the facility now features a much wider array of shopping and dining facilities compared to Terminal 1 both on the landside and airside. Rival coffee houses Seattle's Best Coffee and Bo's Coffee are found on the airside of the international wing. In addition, National Bookstore operates a store in both the domestic and international wings.
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A multi-level parking facility serves passengers, visitors, and staff of Terminal 3. Unlike the other terminals at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, friends and relatives can accompany passengers inside the building until the security checks after check-in. In addition, selected carriers also offer self-service check-in machines for passengers.
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