CIA’s new terminal. PHOTO BY BONG LACSON
CLARK FREEPORT – There are strong indications that the government will shortly opt for a dual-airport sys Gov’t to start dual airport system soon tem.
This, according to Victor Jose I. Luciano, president-CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC).
Luciano said this is meant to attract more foreign travellers to Philippines, explaining that under this emerging policy, the operation of the premier Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila will be complemented by the Clark International Airport (CIA) here which is about 90 kilometers away from the former.
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has been quietly financing projects designed to upgrade CIAC‘ s facilities, topped by the construction of a terminal for arriving passengers, now nearing completion, Luciano added, hence correcting unpopular observations that the administration of President Aquino is not keen on pushing for the speedy development of the CIA as another premier gateway for the country.
During the Balitaan forum of the Capampangan in Media, Inc., (CAMI) at the Bale Balita here last Friday, Luciano said the start of daily Doha- Clark-Doha flights of Qatar Airways on October 28, will connect Clark airport to more than 125 international destinations.
This, even as he disclosed that Emirates Airlines, which started its Dubai-Clark-Dubai daily flights last October 1, is committed to attract one million passengers for the CIA. Luciano indicated that the moves of the two Middle East airlines buttressed the commercial feasibility of the Clark airport to serve as Luzon’s second premier international gateway dedicated to servicing passengers bound for or departing from Central and Northern Luzon, like overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), business travellers and foreign tourists, hence the emerging policy on the adoption of a dual airport for the Manila gateway.
According to Luciano, Clark airport enjoys certain distinctive features that could fi t in the dual airport system now under contemplation by national policy makers. Among these is its strategically placed location in the center of the Luzon urban beltway hub in the Philippines as well as its central location in the Asian region.
This freeport is also an emerging metropolis, coupled by its connectivity, given the existence of infrastructures, like roads and tollways that facilitate the movement of people. Added to these is the presence of a vast market for both departing and arriving passengers and businesses, boosted by the presence of varied destinations for tourists and growing commercial centers, he said.
It is, perhaps, due to these “pluses that the Clark airport has consistently occupied prominence in all feasibility studies on the choice of future sites in Luzon to serve as Manila’s complementary airports,” Luciano said.
He added that “these were the very factors which Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines cited in their respective decisions to use Clark airport as their second gateways to the Philippines.”
“A lot of airports all over the world have been inviting Emirates and Qatar and it’s really a wonder why these airlines chose Clark airport. Emirates before they decide to go into an airport, they do a very extensive study… market study profi le of the citizens and they have been studying Clark for the past five years.
It is not an overnight decision,” Luciano said adding that this proves CIA’s viability as the next premiere international gateway of the .country