In 1991, NAIA's Terminal 1 reached its design capacity of 4.5 million passengers. As a result of annual passenger traffic growing at 9% per annum, the 1990 NAIA Master Plan crafted by Aeroport de Paris included a provision for a larger and modernized international passenger terminal.

While improvements raised Terminal 1's design capacity to 6 million, a peak level of 7.7 million passengers was reached in 1997, causing overflow of passengers that year.

Terminal 3 was the answer to this growing traffic. Currently the largest airport in Manila, it stands proud on a 65-hectare property adjacent to the NAIA runway facilities. It is a two-tiered design with its ground floor handling arrivals and the 3rd level facilitating departures. Each level has 600 meters of curbside space, rendering drop offs and pickups efficient.

Terminal 3 can handle 13 million international passengers annually. The center of the building contains the head house where passenger processing is centralized. A total of 20 boarding gates and 140 Check-In-Counters can accommodate 4,000 peak hour one-way passengers.

Retail shops and food courts line the 4th level and arrival levels while surface parking for over 1200 cars is provided in front of the terminal and 2,500 car parking space available in the multi-level parking area.

The following airlines operate at the NAIA Terminal 3:

  • Air Asia (Z2) / (AK)
  • All Nippon Airways (NH)
  • Cathay Pacific (CX)
  • Cebu Pacific (5J)
  • China Southern Airlines (CZ)
  • Emirates (EK)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • Etihad Airways (EY)
  • Gulf Air (GF)
  • Hong Kong Express Airways (UO)
  • Jeju Air (7C)
  • Jetstar Asia Airways (3K)
  • Jetstar Japan (GK)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL)
  • Qantas (QF)
  • Qatar Airways (QR)
  • Scoot (TR)
  • Singapore Airlines (SQ)
  • STARLUX Airlines (JX)
  • Thai Airways (TG)
  • Tiger Air (TR)
  • Turkish Airlines (TK)
  • United Airlines (UA)