Manila Airport Has New Shuttle Bus Systems

New Shuttle Bus Systems

New Shuttle Bus Systems in Manila International Airport, still known as NAIA.

The 4 commercial terminals and the air-charter hangars are rather far from each other. The distance between terminal 1 (NAIA-1) and terminal 3 (NAIA-3) is 4.8 kilometers. That’s too far to walk. During many years, passengers had the choice between taxis and sometimes a free shuttle bus.  Taxis had been a real hassle until the yellow airport taxis appeared. But one problem the buses and taxis shared — the almost permanent traffic jams between the airport’s terminals.

Landside vs. Airside

Each typical airport has two sides. Departing passengers always come from the “landside” meaning parking lots, public transport railway stations and access roads. Airside includes all areas accessible to aircraft, like runways, taxiways and apron/ramps. Passage between landside and airside is tightly controlled at all airports. To access airside, one must go through Security, and if applicable, Passport Control too.

PAL – New Shuttle Bus Systems

With the reorganization of PAL and PAL express flights, the national flag carrier had to move flights from terminal 2 to terminal 3.  PAL then started its airside shuttle bus service between the two terminals. PAL write on their website:

Manila Transfer Service

Between Centennial Terminal 2 and Terminal 3
Passengers transferring via Manila with confirmed connecting flight on Philippine Airlines and PAL Express shall be provided with free airside shuttle service to and from Centennial Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.
The passengers coming from International/Regional flights at Terminal 2 will clear with Immigration, Customs and will claim their baggage at the carousel. The passenger is requested to proceed to the transfer desk for issuance of transit cards and transfer to Terminal 3.

Between NAIA1 and Centennial Terminal 2/Terminal 3
Passengers transferring via Manila on Philippine Airlines and International Codeshare flights shall be provided with free shuttle service to and from NAIA Terminal 1, Centennial Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The passenger is requested to proceed to the Transfer Desk Service at NAIA Terminal 1.

This service is subject to certain conditions and qualifications. For more information, please inquire with any of our Philippine Airlines staff at the arrival area of either terminal.
(It seems that one condition is that you must have an onward flight ticket from PAL, PAL express or a code sharing airline.)

New Shuttle Bus Systems

MIAA airside shuttle bus

In 2016 MIAA, the Manila International Airport Authority, started their own airside shuttle bus operation. These MIAA buses operate 24 hours. During day time a bus leaves about every 30 minutes. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. it’s every 50 minutes. The only condition to use these free shuttle buses is to have a valid onward flight ticket for the same day. In the evening also tickets for the next day are accepted.
The bus stations are clearly indicated at each terminal. If you cannot find them, ask airport staff.

New Shuttle Bus Systems

UBE Express – the downtown shuttle

The latest of the New Shuttle Bus Systems are the UBE Express shuttle buses. They have a website and a Facebook page. These buses run on fixed routes between the 4 airport terminals and the hotel districts of Metro Manila. The “Grand Prix Route” brings passengers to the Victory Liner bus terminal. The “Atrium Route” goes to the Jam Liner bus terminal in Buendia.

The UBE buses must be booked in advance. UBE express accepts credit card, PayPal and Dragon card. The fares are not indicated. You will see them, when you book your trip. We just tested the booking system and got a fare of PHP 200 for the trip from NAIA terminal 1 to the Peninsula Hotel in Makati. This is about the average fare for a yellow airport taxi. Our taxi calculator says:

Total Distance: 8.796 km
Off peak:
Airport taxi fare: 180.61 pesos
Common taxi fare: 136.79 pesos
Peak time:
Airport taxi fare: 361.22 pesos
Common taxi fare: 246.22 pesos

NAIA UBE express bus

NAIA UBE express bus

For Manila’s bus terminals see our Manila Bus page. On our general bus page, you find an easy to use fare calculator and information about many Philippines bus companies.

[Editor’s comment:] The New Shuttle Bus Systems make it a bit easier in Manila, but only a bit. The airside shuttle bus came many years too late, but it came! This bus makes transferring between terminals more comfortable, yet not faster. You must still reserve at least 3 hours to catch your next flight in another terminal.
The UBE express buses can be recommended for transfers from your downtown hotel to the airport. You won’t have to deal with cheating taxi drivers.
For the transfer from the airport to your downtown hotel, we recommend the yellow airport taxis. They are clean and bring you for about the same fare directly to your hotel.

The newly opened skyway above Andrews Ave., Airport Rd., and Domestic Rd. considerably reduces the traffic jams at the 4 NAIA terminals.


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5 Responses

  1. Ramesh Bulbule says:

    I would like to book a bus ride from Manila International airport to 101 Hotel on 5th May. My flight arrives into Manila at 16.35.

  2. airport taxi says:

    I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  3. Dr. Stan says:

    I have 2 hours to transfer by the airside shuttle from T1 to T2. Yet this site and several others say 3 HOURS minimum connecting time. The legal connection time is 1 hour. So, does everyone miss their flight, every day, with only 2 hours to transfer?

    • waebi says:

      Hi Dr. Stan,
      Where did you find “The legal connection time is 1 hour.” Maybe in the US. Here, we are in the Philippines with our own laws.
      Forget 1 or 2 hours in Manila NAIA. Check-in close 60 or 90 minutes and gates close 15 minutes before take-off.

      The only possible 1 hour is when you have two checked-through connecting flights with the same company in the same terminal.
      Cheers, waebi

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