Clark Airport Seeks Northern Philippines Tourists' Patronage   

The Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) conducted a roadshow in Baguio to drum up interest from the tourism industry in northern Philippines, especially on the use of the Clark airport as a gateway.

CIAC President and Chief Executive Officer Alexander Cauguiran said the Clark airport is implementing a four-phase development program worth PHP17 billion to further improve its facilities for the convenience of the millions of passengers using the airport.

“We expect the growth in travel in the next five years,” he said, stressing that Clark wants to be prepared.

Cauguiran said the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals 1 to 4, which were designed for 30 million passengers, overshoot its target in 2017 with 43 million passengers.

Domestic travelers, he noted, are projected to increase by 15 percent, and international tourists by 10 percent, in the next five years.

He estimated this would mean an additional four million passengers for NAIA alone.

“This trend will make Clark airport a very important facility in north Luzon,” Cauguiran pointed out.

On Friday alone, he said that four planes were diverted by NAIA to Clark due to visibility problem in Metro Manila.

4-phase development plan

Cauguiran said Clark airport's development plan is set to be completed before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term in 2022.

Phase 1 started in December 2017, covering five components--a terminal that will raise the airport's capacity to eight million per year, an access way to the terminal, the secondary access way that will allow vehicles coming from the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to reach the airport terminal without entering the Clark economic zone, a separate building where fetchers can stay, and a huge parking area.

The succeeding phases, Cauguiran elaborated, would further raise the terminal’s capacity to 22 million passengers, then to 46 million, and eventually to 80 million.

The phases would be done in modules, he said, and are set to be operational by the second quarter of 2020.

There will also be a cargo terminal separate from the passengers, and a hangar for private planes, Cauguiran added.

A new runway about one kilometer apart from the existing ones would also allow planes to take off and land simultaneously, he said.

Cauguiran said Clark's civil aviation complex has ample space of 2,367 hectares, four times NAIA'S 600 hectares, making Clark's airport development plan feasible.

Serving northern Philippines

Named Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, the airport in Clark, Pampanga in Region 3 serves travelers from Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera aside from the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Novaliches, and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) in the National Capital Region.

These areas have a total population of over 24 million, Caguiran said, adding the traveling population is bound to grow further.

Clark, he added, is now easy to reach with the Point to Point (P2P) buses that bring passengers from Metro Manila, Baguio City, Nueva Ecija, and Baler town in Aurora province to Clark and vice versa.

He expressed hope that with the Clark airport's proximity to Regions 1, 2, 3, and the Cordillera, more travelers from the northern Philippines will use the facility for their international and domestic trips.

He said that from five to seven flight destinations from Clark a year ago, the airport now has 21 domestic destinations, with 32 planes flying out of Clark daily.

These are aside from the international flights and cargo planes, he said.

Caguiran further revealed that budget Malaysian airline, Air Asia, plans to locate 16 additional planes in Clark in the next five years. These are for the airline's 16 international and 22 domestic flights.

“There is nowhere to go but to improve the facility and enhance the services to cope with the growing demand of air travel,” the aviation executive said.

AirAsia to fly Clark-Taipei route on July 12

Low cost airline AirAsia Philippines will launch its Clark-Taiwan flights on July 12, the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) announced Wednesday.

CIAC president and chief executive officer (CEO) Alexander Cauguiran said AirAsia will commence the thrice weekly flights from Clark International Airport to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Taoyuan is the international airport serving the capital city of Taipei and northern Taiwan, and Taiwan's largest and busiest airport.

“This new development is an opportunity to explore the beauty of both the Philippines and Taiwan and will benefit travelers, tourists, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and their families as well,” said Cauguiran.

“The Taipei flights are also advantageous to numerous Taiwanese locators and other business travelers based in Clark and Subic,” he said.

AirAsia also services domestic routes such as Kalibo, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo, Tacloban and Davao via Clark airport.

CRK is currently serving 158 international and 323 domestic flights, making it one of the busiest airports in the country today.

The airport also serves more than 7,000 passengers daily since President Rodrigo Duterte designated it to become an alternative to Manila’s overcrowded airport.

"There is definitely a surge at Clark airport in terms of the number of flights, destinations and passenger volume, along with the improvements of its facilities, all largely possible under the leadership of President Duterte," Caugurian said.

The airport chief added that CIAC registered 8,736 passengers last April 23, the highest recorded number of travelers in a day that passed through Clark in the history of CIAC since 1995.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said "We are here to provide only the best service possible and massive connectivity across Asean, Asia and, beyond." (PNA/Liza Agoot)

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