what is the difference of naia terminals


As a frequent traveler, I have had the opportunity to experience the various terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines. Each terminal offers a unique experience, but you may wonder, “What is the actual difference between them?” In this article, I will provide a comprehensive comparison of the NAIA terminals, shedding light on their distinct features, amenities, and overall traveler experience.

NAIA Terminal 1

NAIA Terminal 1, also known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, serves as the gateway for many international flights to and from Manila. Terminal 1 has been around for several decades and has undergone several renovations to enhance its facilities and services. However, despite these improvements, it is still often criticized for its outdated design and lack of modern amenities. The terminal has a reputation for long queues at immigration, limited dining options, and insufficient seating areas.

Despite its shortcomings, Terminal 1 does boast a few redeeming qualities. It houses duty-free shops, currency exchange counters, and VIP lounges for premium passengers. The terminal’s iconic coconut-shaped roof is a familiar sight for travelers arriving in Manila. Overall, while Terminal 1 may not offer the most luxurious experience, it fulfills its primary function of facilitating international travel.

NAIA Terminal 2

NAIA Terminal 2, also known as the Centennial Terminal, is exclusive to Philippine Airlines. It was inaugurated in 1999 to accommodate the growing operations of the country’s flag carrier. Terminal 2 is known for its spacious and airy design, providing a more pleasant environment for travelers. The terminal has a straightforward layout, making it easy for passengers to navigate without feeling overwhelmed.

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One of the standout features of Terminal 2 is its impressive art display, showcasing the works of renowned Filipino artists. It also houses an array of dining options, from local delicacies to international cuisine. Terminal 2 stands out for its efficient check-in and security processes, contributing to a seamless travel experience for passengers. While it may not have the glitz and glamour of modern airports, Terminal 2 prioritizes functionality and convenience.

NAIA Terminal 3

NAIA Terminal 3 is the newest and most modern terminal in the NAIA complex. It was officially opened in 2008 and has since become the primary hub for both domestic and international flights of various airlines. Terminal 3 is known for its sleek and contemporary architecture, featuring expansive glass windows and high ceilings that create an open and inviting atmosphere.

Terminal 3 boasts an extensive array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, catering to the diverse preferences of travelers. The terminal’s spacious and well-designed departure and arrival halls minimize congestion and offer ample seating areas for waiting passengers. Terminal 3 also houses numerous airline lounges, providing a comfortable retreat for premium travelers. With its modern facilities and passenger-centric layout, Terminal 3 sets a high standard for airport experiences in the Philippines.


Each NAIA terminal has its own distinct characteristics, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of travelers. While Terminal 1 may lack modern amenities, it serves its purpose as an international gateway. Terminal 2 prioritizes functionality and showcases Filipino art and culture. Terminal 3 sets the bar high with its modern facilities and passenger-centric design. Ultimately, the difference in NAIA terminals lies in their unique offerings and the experiences they provide to travelers.


1. Which NAIA terminal is best for international flights?

NAIA Terminal 1 is the primary hub for international flights, serving as the gateway for travelers arriving in and departing from Manila.

2. Can I access different terminals within the NAIA complex easily?

Yes, shuttle buses and transfer services are available to transport passengers between the different NAIA terminals, ensuring seamless connections for connecting flights.

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3. Are there sufficient dining options at NAIA Terminals?

While Terminal 1 may have limited dining options, Terminals 2 and 3 offer a wide variety of restaurants and eateries to cater to diverse culinary preferences.

4. Which terminal offers the most modern facilities and amenities?

NAIA Terminal 3 is known for its modern architecture, extensive dining and shopping options, and passenger-centric design, making it the go-to terminal for a contemporary airport experience.

5. Are there VIP lounges available at the NAIA terminals?

All NAIA terminals house various VIP lounges offered by airlines, providing premium travelers with exclusive amenities and services to enhance their airport experience.