Inside NAIA Terminal 4 (Photo grabbed from the Manila International Airport Authority's Facebook page)

MANILA – Passengers at the newly reopened Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4 may likely reach 1.5 million annually should domestic carriers begin operating at full capacity, an executive of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said on Tuesday.

According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the NAIA Terminal 4 was designed to accommodate 3 million passengers annually.

Upon Terminal 4's reopening on Monday after being closed for operations for almost two years due to the pandemic, carriers CebGo, AirAsia Philippines and AirSWIFT began mounting their flights at this domestic terminal.

CebGo has 14 daily flights via Terminal 4; AirAsia has 11 and AirSWIFT has three, the MIAA confirmed on Tuesday.

"Based on the number of routes (at Terminal 4), we estimate that passengers may reach 30,000 weekly if (these) airline operators would have full operations there. The number may reach 1.5 million annually," CAB Air Operating Rights Division chief Eldric Peredo said in a public briefing.

MIAA has used the NAIA Terminal 3 for domestic operations since June 2020 to reduce the operations cost, as there were many flight cancellations and restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Flights of Philippine Airlines remained at Terminal 2, while Cebu Pacific's domestic flights are still designated at Terminal 3.

Peredo reminded passengers to follow health protocols being implemented in all NAIA terminals. Wearing of face mask, maintaining social distancing should always be observed, he said.

The executive also advised passengers to declare if they experience Covid-19 symptoms and to declare their true vaccination status, especially if they are heading to destinations where local government units are still implementing restrictions.

"The airlines are helping the government in implementing these protocols since they are the ones checking the passengers' documents and examining whether they could board the aircraft," Peredo said.

Like the airlines operating at Terminal 4, Peredo also suggested that passengers should head to the airport early to avoid delays and to allow ample time for pre-departure requirements.

Meanwhile, amid the rising fuel prices, Peredo said no airfare increase has been implemented yet. "Airlines implement a fare range. Based on CAB monitoring, the fare has not yet exceeded this (range) and has not yet reached the highest fare range," he said. (PNA)