Gov't eyes Clark as main international airport

by Henry Omaga Diaz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2013 06:33 PM | Updated as of May 29 2013 08:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya on Tuesday said the government is studying several options to deal with Metro Manila's airport woes.

He said the President Benigno Aquino and his Cabinet are seriously thinking of declaring Clark as the main international gateway instead of the current Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

However, since the move to Pampanga is not immediate, the government is spending P150 million to fix NAIA-1.

The government will also rehabilitate the airport's water and electrical lines.

Government is also fixing the NAIA-3 to help decongest Terminal 1.

Meantime, the DOTC is planning on moving small aircraft operations to Sangley Point while Air Force operations will be moved to Cagayan de Oro.

Clark expansion

The expansion of Clark International Airport's passenger terminal is expected to be completed by September, in time for the launch of new flights by a Middle East-based carrier, according to Victor Jose Luciano, president and chief executive officer at Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC).

"The existing terminal can only accommodate two million passengers annually, while the new passenger terminal expansion will further boost its capacity to 4 to 5 million passengers annually. The expansion project is expected to be completed by September," he said in an earlier statement.

Luciano said CIAC expects passenger volume at the airport to reach 2 million this year, after the number hit 408,895 in the first quarter alone.

"We expect this to further increase as we are anticipating the start of the Emirates non-stop daily flights between Dubai and Clark and vice versa on October 1," Luciano said.

Clark Airport hosts various local and international carriers such as Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia, Air Asia Philippines, PAL Express, Seair-Tiger Airways, Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific), Jin Air, Asiana Airlines, and Dragonair.

Last year, the airport saw a 69% increase in passenger volume to 1.3 million from 767,000 in 2011.