Passenger safety priority at Clark airport—CIAC

THE STATE-run Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) on Monday assured the public of stringent safety and security measures being implemented at the Clark International Airport (CRK) in view of last week’s flight diversions from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Clark airport is able and ready to accommodate at least 30 aircraft should there be flight diversions especially at the onset of the rainy season, as we have ample facilities and aircraft parking slots, hotel accommodations, transportation services, and emergency and technical services,” Alexander Cauguiran, President and CEO of CIAC, said.

Last week, 11 flights were delayed or diverted to Clark after the runway at the NAIA was temporarily shut down for several hours to give way to emergency repairs of a large pothole at runway 06-24.

Cauguiran added the airport’s engineering and security personnel are directed to work overtime in preparation for the Asean Summit in November, some of its related meetings will be held in Clark.

In a related development, security measures are also currently being undertaken to discourage the proliferation of informal settlers at the Clark Civil Aviation Complex (CCAC) who raise farm-produced crops.

Cauguiran said the present CIAC board members approved the replacement of Cerberus Security in November last year, the past management’s security force at the CCAC, due to “lapse in security,” referring to the unregulated access of unauthorized persons to the CCAC area.

“Under this administration, we have established tougher security measures to control informal settlers and heighten security efforts,” Cauguiran added.

The informal settlers, most of them farmers, have been occupying the Clark area even before the Clark Freeport Zone was built.

Apart from the ongoing census and other social preparation activities to compensate the settlers, Cauguiran said he has directed the CIAC security personnel to prohibit settlers from bringing in agriculture inputs such as rice and corn seeds which lure in birds, equipment and other farm implement to prevent any incidence of bird strikes.

“CRK’s safety measures are pursuant to the international and national safety regulations. The more flights we have (at Clark), the higher the probability of bird strikes happening, that is why we have to control informal settlers and farming activities in the surrounding areas,” Cauguiran said.

The airport logged in a total of 6,205 international and domestic flights with 950,732 passengers for local and foreign routes in 2016.

In its 2016 Annual Audit Report, the Commission on Audit (COA) urged CIAC management “to continue being a good steward in developing, operating, managing and maintaining the Clark Civil Aviation Complex as mandated by EO 716.”

Clark airport has a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan which targets the upgrading of technology and equipment, including ultrasonic emissions, laser bird deterrent system, motorized reflectors, and wildlife control vehicles effectively used in international airports worldwide.

“From 2010 up to the present when flights have increased, there are no reported incidents of major and disruptive aircraft damage due to reported bird strikes at Clark,” Cauguiran said.

Cauguiran added CRK’s domestic and international flights were increased in only the first quarter of this year. CRK serviced 950,732 passengers in 2016, and this year, CRK is projecting to service approximately 1.5 million passengers by end of 2017.

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