Airport Guide: Accessing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) by Road

This Airport Guide outlines a number of options for travelling to and from Greater Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) – commonly referred to as NAIA – by road.

Note: This post should be used only for general guidance. Timetables, prices, available modes of transport and other details may change anytime without prior notice.
Throughout this post, Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be referred to by its IATA code (MNL), rather than by its full name or by its common abbreviation “NAIA”. The airport’s terminals will also be referred to in abbreviated fashion – e.g., “T3” for “Terminal 3”.

IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ!: This Airport Guide has been updated to reflect changes brought about by the pandemic. However, because of the very fluid situation around health protocols and border restrictions, the accuracy and completeness of the information set out here cannot be guaranteed. Please refer to the official websites and verified social media channels of airports, airlines, government agencies, and other reliable sources to collect information that is both relevant and up-to-date for your specific needs.

CONTENTS

Alternatives

Read about the other options for travelling to/from MNL in the following guides:

  • Travelling by rail – MNL isn’t served by trains, but indirect access via Manila’s urban rail network is theoretically possible through several stations. Even then, you’ll need a shuttle bus connection for the final stretch. Not recommended, but I present the option nonetheless in case it’s of use to a very small niche who are prepared to risk their health, property, and sanity for the sake of minuscule savings. (Penny wise and pound foolish and all that.)
  • Travelling on foot – Not really practical unless you’re using Terminal 3 (T3), which is equipped with a pedestrian-friendly link to the nearby Newport City hotel and leisure district. Click on the link to learn more.

Access

For travellers going by road, the most straightforward route to/from MNL involves taking the new NAIA Expressway (NAIAX). This elevated toll road links the three largest terminals (T1/T2/T3) to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in the east and the Manila–Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) in the west, and thence to other points in Greater Manila and beyond. The NAIAX bypasses T4, so passengers using that terminal should keep to the surface roads underneath.

The ground-level SLEX lacks a direct connection to the NAIAX, so you will need to use surface roads in order to transfer between the two motorways.

On the other hand, the Metro Manila Skyway (Skyway), an elevated toll road that runs above the SLEX, is directly connected to the NAIAX through dedicated on- and off-ramps at the Sales/Nichols Interchange.

Over at the western end, the CAVITEX also enjoys a direct connection to the NAIAX via a dedicated ramp. The NAIAX continues a little further past that point, linking up with Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard and – by way of New Seaside Drive – terminating at Diokno Boulevard, with dedicated on/off ramps for each. These two surface roads serve the massive area of reclaimed land along Manila’s waterfront, home to several integrated resorts and (to the north) the SM Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping centres in the Philippines.

Tables setting out the current state-approved toll rates for the motorways named above are available through the following links. (Note: For toll-setting purposes, 4-wheeled passenger cars – such as your typical family sedan – will generally fall under Class 1.)

Private Transportation and Parking

For trips of very short duration – no more than a few days, for example – taking your own car to the airport may prove convenient and cost-effective. That said, the parking fees can add up quite rapidly (along with the petrol bill), so alternative modes should be considered for longer absences or if you’re setting out from a great distance.

Parking at the airport

Paid parking facilities are available at MNL’s terminals. T1 and T2 have open-air parking lots, whereas T3 is equipped with both open-air spaces and a multi-level parking building directly connected to the terminal.

As of 19 April 2022 (source), the fees charged at the airport parking facilities were as follows (all figures are in Philippine pesos):

Vehicle typeFirst 3 hours, in PHPEvery succeeding hour (or fraction thereof), in PHP
4-wheeled vehicles, including vans and sedans40.0015.00
Buses and trucks100.0020.00
Motorcycles15.005.00

The standard overnight parking rate is PHP 300.00 for 24 hours. For every hour (or fraction thereof) beyond full 24-hour blocks, the additional charges in the third column of the above table will also be levied.

Should you lose your parking ticket, you will be charged a fee of PHP 500.00 on top of any parking fees incurred. Tickets that are damaged but readable will still be accepted as valid.

Do note that overnight/long-term parking is occasionally suspended in response to extraordinary events or peak travel season demand. For example, overnight parking was temporarily prohibited for a few days around New Year’s Day in both 2018/19 and 2019/20, with the aim of freeing up slots for hourly users coming to pick up returning travellers after the Christmas holidays.

Using the Park ‘N Fly service

A privately run alternative to the airport parking lots is Park ‘N Fly, which offers secure sheltered spaces at a location south of T4. After leaving their cars at the facility, customers will be transported to any of MNL’s terminals on the company’s own shuttle vans.

According to their FAQs (and reconfirmed by telephone on 18 June 2022), the parking rate is PHP 340.00 + 12% VAT for the first 24 hours. Every succeeding hour or fraction thereof attracts an additional PHP 14.17 + 12% VAT.

I’ve never used Park ‘N Fly myself, but there are comments and reviews available online that might help flesh things out for anyone considering this option. (A few examples: here, here, here, here, and here.)

Refer to the official Park ‘N Fly website for further details.

Public Transportation and Hired Vehicles

Passengers can travel to or from MNL using buses and taxis, as well as vehicles booked through ride-hailing platforms.

When using either taxis or ride-hailing apps, one should bear in mind that road tolls are not normally included in the fare. Unless contactless payment is possible for the option you’ve selected, you’ll need to prepare sufficient local currency to cover both tolls and the actual transportation charge.

Now before anyone asks, I’ll throw the question out myself: why not include Manila’s famous “jeepneys” on this list? That’s because these open-sided, often overcrowded mini-buses with minimal safety equipment, inconsistent stopping patterns, and little or no dedicated luggage space are ill-suited to airline passengers (or indeed to anyone with access to practical alternatives). Not recommended.

Buses

Between Ninoy Aquino International Airport and stops in Greater Manila

Transport company UBE Express operates scheduled bus services between MNL and various points in Greater Manila. Most of their routes were suspended during the pandemic, but are now gradually being reinstated. Refer to their Facebook page for timetables, service updates and other announcements.

Unless otherwise indicated on their Facebook page, these routes are operated as direct point-to-point services; i.e., with no intermediate stops between the airport and each of the other termini.

As of this writing (29 June 2022), the following route resumptions have been announced (Note – the links will take you to the announced timetable for each service):

Fares range from PHP 150.00 to PHP 300.00 depending on the destination. Payment is collected using Beep contactless cards, which can be purchased from any LRT/MRT railway station and other select locations (including some Ministop convenience stores). Cash is accepted on journeys originating from the airport, but will not necessarily be accepted for journeys to the airport; this is likely contingent on the availability of a manned UBE Express service counter at each stop.

Between Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport

There are regular highway bus services run by Genesis Transport between MNL and Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga Province – about 90 kilometres to the northwest – which may be of interest to travellers who need to connect between flights using the two airports. Consult their Facebook page for more information.

The latest timetables for this route (published 08 June 2022) are available via this link.

(NB: Anecdotally, the journey between MNL and CRK takes 2.5 to 4 hours or so depending on traffic conditions and stopping patterns. Additional time would also be required for airport formalities, waiting for the next available bus, service disruptions, etc. Keep this in mind before booking an itinerary that involves a same-day transfer between these two airports.)

Between Ninoy Aquino International Airport and nearby railway stations

*****UPDATE (24 June 2022): I have not been able to directly verify whether the Airport Loop service is still in operation.*****

A caveat: I do NOT recommend taking the trains to/from the airport. (It’s not even possible in a practical sense, if you set aside the shuttle bus described below.) That said, the following may be relevant to a very small niche: people meeting someone at the airport or perhaps staying in a nearby hotel, for example.

For PHP 20.00, the Airport Loop shuttle service connects MNL T3 to Taft Avenue Station (Line 3 MRT), which is in turn physically linked to EDSA Station (Line 1 LRT) via an elevated walkway. The airport stop is near the arrivals level doors of T3, whilst the opposite end of the line is in a bus terminal within walking distance of Taft Avenue Station. (Learn more about connecting to Manila’s train network using those stations in my separate guide to rail-based airport transportation.) NB: the map below does NOT accurately represent the loop bus route – and it excludes intermediate stops – as it’s only meant to give a general idea of the distance between the two termini.

The Airport Loop bus also stops in the Baclaran area en route from MNL to Taft Avenue Station. (I’m not 100% certain but it seems that the bus does NOT serve Baclaran when it’s moving south in the direction of the airport; it does so only whilst heading north to the train stations.) For reference, here’s a video – not by me! – posted on 12th May 2019 by someone who travelled from MNL T3 to Baclaran using the Airport Loop; the stopping points for both the airport and Baclaran are shown there.

Inter-terminal shuttle service

The airport authority runs an hourly, 24-7 bus service that calls at all four of MNL’s terminals. This so-called Airport Transfer Service is a complimentary landside shuttle for the exclusive use of passengers connecting between flights in different terminals (note: an airline ticket is needed to avail of this service).

Schedule and stop details (as of 29 March 2022) are available via this link.

Taxis

Travellers landing at MNL and setting off for other parts of Greater Manila have a rather confusing mix of taxi services to choose from. To start, there are the yellow airport taxis that hold special licences to accept passengers at the airport. The minimum “flagdown” rate is PHP 70.00, and the total goes up in increments to account for both distance and travel time.

A staff member will note down the vehicle’s registration number on a dispatch slip, which will be handed to you before boarding. Keep the form safely tucked away, as you’ll need the taxi’s details if it should become necessary to file a complaint, retrieve articles left behind, or raise any other concerns after your journey. (Note that the rates printed on the forms might no longer be current.)

Another possibility is a fixed-rate/coupon taxi, which will transport you from MNL at a predetermined price (varies by destination). Although the flat rates may work out to be more expensive than metered fares, one advantage of the coupon taxis is that some – but not all – are larger vehicles that can carry more people.

Whether you choose to take a yellow metered taxi or a fixed-rate taxi, it’s important to arrange transport only at one of the signposted taxi ranks. Ignore the touts standing outside the terminal exits, even if they’ve got official-looking vests or IDs (which may well be fake).

Finally, we come to the ordinary white taxis that serve not just airport users, but also regular commuters throughout the city. Flagdown starts at PHP 40.00 and the variable component is added on during the journey (PHP 2.00 per minute of travel time, PHP 13.50 per kilometre travelled – source). It must be said that the airport authorities aren’t too keen on white taxis picking up arriving passengers at MNL, although there’s no issue with them dropping off departing passengers. Some of the “concerns” have to do with perceived safety and reliability issues surrounding the less rigorously regulated white taxis. (Yellow taxis supposedly undergo extra vetting before they’re granted airport licences.)

Despite all that, the white taxis’ presence is tolerated – if rather grudgingly – and travellers boarding them from an official stand may be issued dispatch slips similar to the ones used for yellow cabs. The form used is slightly different (picture here for your reference), but it serves the same purpose; i.e., as a record of the vehicle’s information in case complaints or other concerns need to be addressed later.

If you’ve boarded a variable-rate taxi – be it yellow or white – you should always insist on the metre being used. You should likewise check that the metre is only turned on when you board; if it had been left running beforehand (whether fraudulently or by honest mistake) you may find your final bill much higher than it should be. Pricing scams are rife amongst taxis of any description, with some unscrupulous drivers presenting fake (but official-looking) “fare cards” with exorbitant tariffs, or trying to negotiate inflated fares whilst keeping their metres turned off.

Of course, if the driver is honest and their service satisfactory, you’re more than welcome to offer a tip beyond what the metre reads out.

Ride-hailing services (TNVS)

Ride-hailing services – or “transport network vehicle services” (TNVS) – are regulated much like taxis, with similar fare structures. For example, the official price matrix approved on 1st August 2019 (source) allows TNVS operators to collect PHP 40.00 as the flagdown fare, with variable charges of PHP 15.00 per kilometre travelled and PHP 2.00 per minute travelled, if the vehicle used is a car/sedan. (Different rates apply to larger or smaller vehicles.) The key difference in terms of fares between TNVS and taxis is the so-called “surge pricing” permitted to the former, where the variable charges may increase to as much as twice the basic rates depending on demand. This is meant to ensure that enough TNVS drivers are attracted into the market at peak hours.

There are several apps available for summoning transportation services in the Philippines. Grab is the dominant player, having extinguished its key competition by absorbing Uber’s local operations.

The Grab app in particular has two main options, both under the “Car” menu. You’ll be offered a choice between them after entering your journey details.

  • GrabCar – This will summon a privately operated hire car, with the cost calculated and displayed right on the app before the trip starts. You’ll simply pay the price shown (plus tolls if you use motorways) since the cars, being private vehicles, aren’t fitted with metres. You might also see an extra option to call for a larger or premium-class vehicle, which will cost more than the sedans that are hired by default.
  • GrabTaxi – This will summon an ordinary white taxi. Although an estimated fare range will be displayed on the app, what you’ll actually pay is whatever the metre reads out at the end of the trip (plus tolls, if any) and an additional booking fee. As with any taxi, make sure the driver triggers the metre when your journey starts and only after you board.

Hotel shuttles and pick-ups

Some hotels offer complimentary shuttles and/or paid airport transfers. Check directly with your accommodation provider for availability.

Several hotels in the Newport City area – across the NAIAX from T3 – are served by the free Resorts World airport shuttle service (source). If you are staying in one of these hotels, reach out to the concierge for details and assistance.

Pandemic-Related Measures

The wearing of face masks remains mandatory in all forms of public transport throughout the Philippines. Face shields are no longer required.

Physical distancing (or “social distancing”) at queuing points is recommended, but not rigorously enforced in practice. No significant form of distancing is maintained in vehicles as transport providers are now generally permitted to operate at full capacity.

4 responses to “Airport Guide: Accessing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) by Road

  1. Pingback: Airport Guide: Accessing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) by Rail | Within striking distance·

  2. Pingback: Airport Guide: Accessing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) on Foot | Within striking distance·

  3. Pingback: Airport Guide: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL), Greater Manila, Philippines | Within striking distance·

  4. Pingback: Airport Guide: NAIA (MNL) Terminal 3, International Arrivals | Within striking distance·

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