CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark International Airport (CIA) here will now be the country’s alternative airport under the dual airport system.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) Operations Manager Ritchie Nacpil has confirmed that the government is now intent on making the CIA as an alternative airport to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.
Nacpil, who was present during the November 25 House Committee on Transportation meeting, said two other options have been scrapped – to make the CIA as the country’s premiere international airport after the total closure of NAIA and the plan to make CIA as the premiere airport while slowly phasing out NAIA.
This time everybody agrees that there should be no phasing out of either the CIA or NAIA but to adopt a dual airport system and speed up the development of the former, Nacpil explained. “Both airports have their own catchment basins,” he said.
As a result, the House Committee on Transportation chaired by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento has ordered the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to take the lead in meeting with other government agencies like the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and CIAC in doing the masterplan for the dual airport system to be submitted next month (January 2016), he said.
Nacpil said Clark is ready to be an alternate airport. “There is no doubt that Clark is ready to be an alternative airport even at this point to address air traffic congestion at NAIA,” he said.
The House Committee on Transportation meeting was called amid problems of congestion and flight delays at NAIA in anticipation of the annual Christmas rush when deluges of passengers fly in and out of the country.
Reports said Sarmiento mentioned the experience of Cebu Pacific in last year’s Christmas rush, when stranded irate passengers were stuck at NAIA supposedly because of overbooking.
Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei has personally apologized to the company’s patrons in a House hearing in January 2015.
Cebu Pacific has paid a P52 million fine for inconveniencing the passengers.
Source: Dec 2 Punto