NAIA Addresses Commuting Issues Through a New Program With Grab

The program is called Airport to Anywhere.
by | December 16, 2022

As borders reopen and more people travel around and out of the country, issues regarding our transport system continue to draw attention. The Philippines’ main airport Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has recently been the subject of a number of viral issues, including the latest one involving journalist Atom Araullo.


Frustration over lack of airport transport options

Last Friday, journalist Atom Araullo took to Twitter to air out his frustration about his experience. After just arriving from an overseas trip, the journalist had a difficult time finding a ride home.

“No coupon taxis, no metered taxis, no Grab. Wala rin tayong mga bus at tren dito. Basically kung wala kang sundo, you’re dead. It’s been an hour and counting. This is what a broken transpo [transportation] system looks like,” he wrote. Araullo was only able to secure a ride “after a little less than 2 hrs.”


The airport’s response

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which operates NAIA, replied to the journalist half an hour after his tweet was posted. MIAA pointed to “the high demand due to rush hour” and “heavy traffic around the metro” as reasons for the difficulty in finding transportation.


Airport-goers echo his sentiments

After Araullo’s tweet went viral, other airport-goers shared their similar experiences.

“Arrived the other day at Terminal 3, same experience and found the luck to book a 6 seater Grab car… driver said that traffic was bad at NAIAX with speed limit of 60km/hr, only to see wang-wang escorted private vehicles speeding like ambulances, making all other cars pull over,” one Twitter user said. Meanwhile, another claimed that they tried to hail taxis, but couldn’t ride because the fares were “freaking insane.”

One acknowledged the apology, but asked for action from the MIAA. “Di ba tayo naiinggit sa mga airport ng ibang bansa? Kelan tayo pwede magmayabang na maganda airport natin?” the user asked. Another, however, said they felt that MIAA was “passing the blame to rush hour and heavy traffic”.

According to MIAA, the monthly passenger volume at NAIA reached 3.1 million in November, which is a 229% increase in the same period last year.


The people’s suggestions

Airport-goers called for action from MIAA and the government authorities to implement changes that can address the ongoing issue of transportation.

“Adjustments and alternative options should be laid out for passengers, busy period eh. All other countries do it,” one said.

“Sana po magkaron ng masakyan from airport to any point in Manila. Kahit bus lang po sana,” another requested.


The current available transport services

In response to the suggestions, MIAA shared that there are shuttle buses operating in NAIA: the Genesis Transport and the UBE Express. MIAA also has a list of NAIA-accredited transport services, the rates of which are also regulated.


A new solution

A week later, MIAA also announced a new partnership with Grab called Airport to Anywhere (ATA). Through this new program, an initial 200 Grab-accredited vehicles will be deployed exclusively to NAIA to meet the increased demand for transport vehicles in the airport. A passenger can book an ATA transport service through the Grab app. The price is fixed based on drop off location and no surge charges will be added.

Other viral issues

Earlier this year, NAIA also went viral for the lack of cashless payment options in the airport. Two foreigners — a Dutch content creator and K-Pop idol Joshua Hong of Seventeen — reported different instances where they had difficulties in transacting in the airport because establishments only accepted cash.


One of the most stressful airports

In November, a travel blog named the Hawaiian Islands ranked NAIA as the third “most stressful airport in Asia and Oceania.” Based on data they collected from 1,500 Google reviews for 500 airports worldwide, 58% of passengers saying they experienced stress in the Philippines’ main airport.


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This article was republished with permission from Minor edits have been made for


Meryl finds joy in music, movies, museums, and making her way around the world.

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