THE emergency repair of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s main runway which caused flights’ delay and diversion if any stressed the need to further develop the Clark International Airport as an alternative international gateway.
This, amid calls of Pampanga businessmen, politicians and travelers to transfer some of the international and domestic flights to Clark airport to solve air traffic congestion at the NAIA.
In 2011, the NAIA was voted the “World’s Worst Airport” by readers of ‘The Guide to Sleeping in Airports’. It was again voted “World’s Worst Airport” in 2013 by the same travel website. In 2014, the NAIA slid to the 4rth slot. Among the complaints at the NAIA include: poor customer service, long queues, sub-par food selection, the lack of rest rooms, and the crowded seating areas.
Rehabilitation of the NAIA T1 and T3 had helped decongest and clean up the airport while the introduction of the Wings Transit Lounge in T3 provides passenger comfort.
At least P1.3 billion had been infused in the rehabilitation of the NAIA T1 while another P1.9 billion had been spent on the rehabilitation of T3.
Despite the improvements, the two old intersecting runways need further improvement, according to aviation experts, who had been pushing for the utilization of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga province.
28 Manila flights diverted to CRK
The Clark International Airport (CRK) on Monday has accommodated 28 international and domestic flights amid the ongoing repair of the NAIA’s runway 06/24 which suffered a 5-inch deep crack.
Various foreign and local carriers started arriving at Clark airport at about 9am after Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Manila issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to proceed to Clark. The NAIA was closed to all air traffic amid the emergency repairs, prompting airport authorities to divert the flights to the Clark airport
By 10:45 pm, the NAIA runway was opened to air traffic following the completion of the repair with several air carriers having departed Clark for Manila. Other airlines opted to disembark their passengers at Clark and most of whom were provided with bus transportation to Manila.
All of the diverted flights at Clark have returned to Manila early Tuesday morning.
Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Emigdio Tanjuatco III was on hand Monday night assisting thousands of disembarking passengers at the Clark Airport Passenger Terminal Building.
He said that the situation at Clark was normal despite the emergency diverted flights from Manila and CIAC did everything in coordination with airlines to assist the needs of the passengers.
Meanwhile, Leandro Aranas, manager of the CIAC Terminal Operations said that regular flights at Clark airport were not affected by the diverted Manila flights.
“All regular flights were not affected, no cancellation and delay.” He stressed.
“We understand the predicament of the passengers, we did our best to provide them the utmost care,” he added.
Among the diverted flights were from Airphil, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia Zest, Cebu Pacific, Air Juan, Asian Aerospace, Emirates, Saudia Airlines, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airline, and Oman Air.
The Clark International Airport is located within the 2,367 hectare Civil Aviation Complex with two 3.2-kilometer parallel runways built by the United States Air Force military.