Clark airport ‘marketable’, says solon

The Clark International Airport (CRK) is not only viable but also marketable and will largely contribute to easing decongestion of Metro Manila.

This was according to Rep. Emi Calixto-Rubiano, chairperson of the House Committee on Bases Conversion, after the group’s legislative tour at the Clark airport over the weekend.

The Clark airport tour is part of the committee’s activities in overseeing programs pertaining to the operation of special economic zones in former military bases.

Calixto-Rubiano, a three-term administration congresswoman of Pasay City, was accompanied during the tour by Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu (2nd Dist., Batangas); Committee Vice Chairperson Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla (2nd Dist., Zambales); Rep. Noel Villanueva (3rd Dist., Tarlac); and Rep. Federico Sandoval II (Lone Dist., Malabon).

“I am surprised by (Clark airport’s) cleanliness and it offers many flights now, definitely a come-on for target passengers,” Calixto-Rubiano said.

The committee chairperson also vowed to support development plans for Clark airport which has “a very huge potential and is at present easily marketable that it can help ease the congestion in Manila,” in reference to the overly-crowded Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Late last year, Calixto-Rubiano and fellow members of the Bases Conversion committee along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo co-signed with other stakeholders from Pampanga and Tarlac a manifesto of support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s infrastructure plan for Central Luzon, which includes the multi-billion peso Clark airport’s New Terminal Building Project and the construction of a railway system linking the Freeports of Subic-Clark to Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.

Clark airport’s new terminal building project, spearheaded by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio Dizon, is projected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.

“The (Clark) airport’s role as a viable alternative and its further development will definitely boost the regional economy of Northern and Central Luzon, a vision we all share with the House committee,” Alexander Cauguiran, President and CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), said.

The present NAIA grows at an average of two million passengers a year for the last seven years, prompting the national government to optimize the use of Clark airport for some operations of domestic and international airlines.

Cauguiran said Clark’s domestic and international flights were increased in only the first quarter of this year.

CRK serviced 950,732 passengers in 2016. This year, CRK is projecting to service approximately 1.5 Million passengers by end of 2017.

CRK at present has 138 weekly international flights and 118 weekly domestic flights.

These will be increased more with additional Philippine Airlines flights later this month for Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod, and within the year, the expansion of operations of other domestic carriers specifically Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia, Wakay Air, and SEAIR Philippines. Negotiations are also on-going for international carriers to start operations at Clark airport by mid-2017.

Among the priority projects of the national government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program is a Manila-Clark airport express rail that is targeted for completion in 2021. This project is in addition to the Clark-Subic railway project that is planned for completion before the end of President Duterte’s term.

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