Gov’t urged to adopt, support dual airport policy

Simultaneous development of Naia, Clark airport pushed

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Private sector stakeholders urged the government to speed up the development of Clark International Airport in Pampanga, saying that a dual-airport policy must be pursued to boost investment activity.

The diverse group—which included air carriers operating in Clark, logistics firms and business and investment associations—signed the so-called Clark: Dual Airport Declaration, outlining the need for the government to pursue this route.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya had said that a dual-airport system, which called for the simultaneous development of the Clark airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila, was a likely option although the department had yet to adopt a formal policy on this.

“We are calling for the Philippine government to declare complete support for and adoption of the dual airport system of Clark as the northern airport and Naia as the southern airport of the Luzon island,” a portion of the declaration read.

“We are calling for the Philippine government to fast-track the development of Clark’s infrastructure to meet current and future passenger, carrier and cargo growth.”

During the briefing, business executives said the development of Clark would be a logical move considering its proximity to Metro Manila and its capacity to expand and, thus, accommodate more capacity over the long term.

The benefits that can be derived from the airport’s development, according to proponents, will cascade to other areas beyond the aviation industry and boost business activity in North Luzon.

Clark handled 1.32 million passengers last year, higher by 72 percent from 2011 level, but far smaller than the 32 million handled by Naia.

Because it operates two parallel runways and has the capacity to expand, in addition to new toll roads under construction, signatories to the declaration believed Clark could catch up with the Naia numbers.

The government has approved the construction of an interim terminal with a 2.5 million passenger capacity. The Department of Transportation and Communication is studying the viability of building a new budget terminal with a capacity of 10 million passengers.

“A secondary airport, with additional land space, can usually outgrow these (main) airports because they have the space to do it,” Jeff Pradhan, president of Global Gateway Logistics City, said in a briefing.

He said other major cities use a dual-airport system, citing John F. Kenney International Airport and LaGuardia Airport for New York in the United States and Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport for Tokyo.

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