Aquino to decide on fate of Clark airport


The fate of Clark International Airport will be left in the hands of President Aquino, who will have to decide if the government should develop two major airports in Luzon or focus its efforts on just one.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said different plans for Clark and its Manila counterpart, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), would be brought up to the Cabinet economic cluster and later to the President for approval within the month.

The choice would be between maintaining two major airports—Clark and Naia—supporting each other, or vacating Manila in favor of the former US military base.

Malacañang also has the option of establishing a brand-new airport inside Metro Manila or in a nearby province that will replace the existing Naia complex in Pasay City.

“We are finalizing plans and bring this to the President [for a final] decision,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Thursday.

Abaya admitted that while there were several options on the table, no clear favorite has emerged and it would be up to the President to take his pick.

“Will we have one or two gateways? Do we close down Naia in the future for some other airport? A lot of stakeholders are waiting for these decisions,” Abaya said in a radio interview.

“What’s important is that a decision is made soon so projects can move forward,” he added.

Clark International Airport is seen as the inevitable replacement to Naia, which has suffered from congestion and various legal issues over the past decade. The Clark airport sits on 2,400 hectares of land, more than three times bigger than the 700 hectares occupied by the current Naia complex.

Plans to develop Clark, however, have been put in the backburner as the government weighs its options on sticking with Naia.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, which represents foreign business groups operating in the country, earlier this week lamented the government’s indecision over Clark’s development.

The group said the frequent changes in the DOTC’s leadership—the department has had three secretaries in the last three years—has left Clark airport in the “twilight zone.”

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • go88

    AirAsia Philippines’ hub is owned by the cojuangcos, Clarck is it’s hub.  Guess what abnoy will ‘decide’?

  • Jhune

    Kailangan ng Pilipinas ang magandang airport, hindi iyong pag labas mo sa terminal kaliwat kanan ang eskuwater, nakakatakot tuloy.

  • Richard Buenchico

    Voices here here demanding that other parts of the country should also benefit from development are absolutely right. However, regarding the fact that Metro Manila is by far the most important political, commercial, trade, finance, industry, tourism, cultural etc. center of the Philippines, the National Capital Region needs a state-of-the-art international airport that could compete in efficiency and style with any airports in the region (Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur) and – most importantly – lies within or just near the borders of Metro Manila! There’s nothing wrong to develop Clark, Cebu-Mactan and Davao into world class international airports, so that travelers whose final destination are closer to those airports will not have to land at NAIA anymore, which in return would decongest NAIA. Yet, concentrating on developing Clark and leaving Metro Manila without its own international gateway is like saying New York City doesn’t need its own international airport since “nearby” cities such as Chicago, Baltimore-Washington and Boston have international airports that could serve the greater area of New York City as well. As much as London does not need an airport in Glasgow, it needs a airport within or in close proximity of greater London, Metro Manila needs an airport in Metro Manila (regardless of NAIA or a completely new airport) and not over 2 hrs away out in the pampas.

  • henry21

    the best option is to maintain two airports. travel time from south to north and back is the biggest obstacle to our growth. let NAIA serve the  south side  and Clark the northern part. Airlines can configure their flight schedules using the two airports.  With the two airports, we can unclog NAIA and improve its services.

  • Cavitekid

    Time to move on, pull the trigger and close NAIA and get Clark up and running.

  • BS

    kung papalitan ang pangalan ng Clark sa Cory Aquino International Airport…matagal na sanang aprubado yan…abnoy lang presidente pero hindi hilo.

  • mark1205

    If Clark becomes the choice, PLEASE CONVERT NAIA INTO A PUBLIC PARK. We must reserve space for the environment, fresh air and soil for water to seep back. Let us follow NYs Central Park, Singapore’s Gardens by the bay. Metro Manila can no longer breath fresh air.

    • CommonSens6

      I like that idea!

  • Balahura

    expand the naia clark is so far from the metropolis. buy everything there in paranaque just to expand naia…..let clark be a secondary or an emergency airport in case some commotion arise…

  • Platypus09

    Perhaps Laguna or Cavite City is a good choice than Clark.

    Or even Bulacan that is much closer to Manila..

  • JasonBieber

    If we recall accurately, to show Aquino’s disdain for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo even when it was already known as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Aquino purposely changed it and dropped Diosdado out of the Clark airport’s name. Ouch!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos