Support for CRK needed

At no better time has the need for a complementary airport become even more unquestionably evident and exemplified than during the recent diversion of 28 domestic and international flights of 11 airlines to the Clark International Airport in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga caused by an unfortunate problem at the runway of the country’s premier gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Such debacle affects the interests of thousands of travelling passengers and makes them wonder why airlines insist on cramming into the country’s main gateway and upon disembarking, charge into traffic that further delays their journey to their appointment or just simply, home. A good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

I find it funny as I muse over arguments that the Clark airport is too far from NAIA when talk of a dual airport system is being discussed but seemingly not too far, or as a matter of fact, VERY IF NOT MOST CONVENIENT, when the main gateway encounters problems and the aircraft that are supposed to be landing at the Manila airport end up diverting and landing at Clark. Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Such double standard ultimately result in the public being shortchanged, frustrated and disappointed, as was the case during the recent event where the passengers had to wait for hours, some event longer hours, for the airport in Manila to be operational so they can make their way to their relatives or some business meeting that had already been delayed by such an unfortunate event. Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Not to mention irate when they have to deplane, hungry and tired with no airline staff to assist them. Fortunately, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) officials and staff have made themselves available to assist the passengers anyway they can to ease the already disorientated and distressed passengers. Another reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Think about how people would feel if their flights were to be diverted to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport instead of Clark during that instance? Travelling by land to metro Manila would not be an option noting the fair distance. So they would have no choice but to weather the event. This could ease some of the irritated passengers’ tempers that were on the edge at the time. Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

However, the problems that would be encountered by the passengers do not end with the opening of the repaired runway and resumption of flight operations. The travel back to NAIA from the diversion at Clark would disrupt the scheduled flights of other airlines at the time. Further complicating an already complicated situation. Another good reason for a complementary airport.
Records showed that more than 3,000 or 3,043 to be exact, passengers were forced to disembark at the Clark airport as some have been waiting for more than eight hours aboard their aircraft with some being provided transportation to Metro Manila. Some airline staff, however, were conspicuously “missing in action” during the event and had the audacity to come out as if nothing happened after the commotion.

The Clark International Airport may, as some claim, be a fledgling airport but it is operational and is by some standards, world-class. Well, it wouldn’t make it to the list of the 30 Best Airports in Asia in 2015 if it were not. And its passenger facilitation process has been ISO 9001:2008 certified. A very good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Imagine if the Clark airport had more government support. Well, a new terminal has been drawn up and its implementation is now being planned before NAIA goes beyond its already saturated capacity. Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Some passengers of the diverted flights that disembarked at the Clark airport were impressed with the facility and are wondering why the airport is not being utilized as much as it should. And the facilities are available. Which leads to the question of why some people are pushing for the construction of a new airport when one is already existing and merely needs improvement? Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Fortunately, the new administration has seen this problem and the president has already given marching orders to consider building a road network to Clark, along with the transfer of some domestic flights and the possibility of developing a fast train linking Metro Manila to Clark to decongest not only NAIA but Metro Manila as well.

It cannot be overemphasized that what concerned organization, like businessmen and the recently convened Advocacy for Dual Airport Priority (Adapt), are pushing for is the establishment or implementation of a dual airport system with the Clark International Airport servicing Northern and Central Luzon and NAIA providing for the needs of Metro Manila and the southern reaches of Luzon. Another good reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

Anyway, there are more than 20 million potential passengers for each of the areas to be covered by the airports under the dual airport scheme. This would not only ease congestion at the airport but also make air travelling to and from the airports more convenient as passengers only have to go to the airport nearest them, cutting travel time and expenses. Another practical reason for the Clark airport to be a complementary airport.

No longer a novel idea worth considering but one that needs implementation.

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It is amusing that every Filipino becomes an “analyst” overnight when interesting issues crop up.

The recent elections gave rise to “political analysts” that held nothing back as they fearlessly aired their views on various social media sites. Sporting events, such as the recent basketball Olympic Qualifiers and Senator Manny Pacquiao coming out of retirement to fight again later this year, also gave rise to “sports analysts” that even neighborhood tambay has something to “share” on the matter.

There are also some that have been called “Angalysts”, or those that are critical of anything that is happening in the country. By the way, the term is not my original. I merely picked it up because it was so amusing from morning radio commentators Mike Enriquez and his team.

We’ll see more of such “angalysts” soon, from your neighborhood to the Senate.

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And lastly, I would just like to say that the blame game might be finally over, an overdose of which was dealt the Filipino people in the past six years.

I’m referring here, of course, to erstwhile Clark Development Corporation (CDC) president and CEO and now Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade who repeatedly apologized to everyone who were inconvenienced by the runway ruckus and most especially to President Duterte.

The usually rambunctious Tugade manned up to the problem, owning up to it and not throwing the blame on anyone else, particularly the past administration, as he assured the president that his agency will take precautionary measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

Nice one, Mr. Secretary.

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