Originally opened by the USAAF as Nichols Field. The Manilla International Air Terminal moved here in 1948 from a site on the ex Nielson Field at nearby Makati.
It was occupied by the Japanese during World War II and was handed over to the Philippine Government around 1948 by the US authorities. A runway for international movements was built in 1953 and in 1961, further work produced a new control tower and international terminal, when it became Manila International. A major expansion was planned in 1973 and work eventually began in mid 1978 on one of the options.
Col. Jesus A Villamor Air Base of the Philippines Air Force is also located at the airport, just north of the main runway intersection.