The transportation department remains keen on putting up a new budget terminal for Clark International Airport in Pampanga even as the Philippine unit of low-cost carrier Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia said it would scale back operations in Clark while expanding in Manila.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said the government was keen on supporting both Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark with the addition of new terminals catering to the fast-growing budget airline segment.
“The feasibility studies for (budget terminals) for Clark and Naia (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) are ongoing,” Abaya said in a text message, noting that these would need subsequent approvals by President Aquino.
The two terminals, which could be built over the next two to three years, would expand Clark’s capacity by about 4.5 million passengers and Naia’s capacity by about 10 million passengers, based on interviews with airport and DOTC officials.
Abaya made the statements as Philippines Air Asia announced late last week that local and international operations at Clark would be temporarily suspended “all in one go” on Oct. 9, airline CEO Marianne Hontiveros said in an interview on Friday. This will involve flights to Kalibo, Davao, Taipei and Hong Kong.
She said flights to Hong Kong would resume for the Christmas holidays.
She said scaling back operations was necessary because the company was reassessing its strategy and cutting unprofitable routes while diverting financial and manpower resources to affiliate Zest Air, which suffered significant losses after a controversial surprise four-day suspension last month. Miguel R. Camus