MANILA, Philippines - AirAsia is hoping the government will exert more effort into making Clark International Airport in Pampanga more accessible to travelers coming from Metro Manila.
In a press conference in Makati, AirAsia CEO Maan Hontiveros said the government should not slow down its efforts to develop the necessary infrastructure that will develop Clark.
Asked about Philippine Airlines' reported plan to build its own airport in Bulacan, Hontiveros said she doesn't think it would affect Clark.
"I just hope the government won't get distracted or slow down. Clark should have been developed much earlier... I hope the government puts in resources to make Clark much more viable for travelers," she said, in a press conference.
While the government is mulling a new high-speed rail project for Clark, Hontiveros offered some ideas on how to make it easier to go to Clark airport.
For instance, she suggests having a special fast lane on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
"While they're putting the fast rail and the elevated highway projects, there should be a special fast lane in NLEX for passengers going to Clark... The speed limit is 100 kilometers, and that's slow.... Maybe they should raise it to 140km," she said.
At present, there are already buses plying routes from Manila to Clark, but Hontiveros noted not many people know about this.
Philtranco has a bus that travels from SM Megamall in Ortigas to Dau, and tickets are only P400. Victory Liner also has routes up to Dau, and offers free bus transport from Marquee Mall in Dau to the airport.
However, she thumbed down a suggestion that AirAsia have its own shuttle from Manila to Clark. "There are many bus companies that go to Clark, Dau... Bus transport is not our core business," she said.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), which operates the airport, is also said to be finalizing plans to offer cheaper rates for the "Park and Fly" facilities for travelers leaving Clark.
Hontiveros said CIAC should also consider bringing down the passenger service fee to make it more attractive for travelers to take flights out of Clark.
Despite challenges, Hontiveros noted that 80% of AirAsia passengers at Clark are still coming from Manila.
"80% are still from Manila, so it means we're not reaching our target audience in north and south Luzon... We have to do more marketing efforts there," she said.
AirAsia is holding a "free seats" promo for domestic flights tomorrow (September 18), and for international flights on September 20.