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Clark passenger volume surges 71%

MANILA, Philippines - The volume of passengers using the Clark International Airport surged 71 percent last year as budget airlines operating in the gateway continued to offer cheaper fares.

 Victor Jose I. Luciano, president and chief executive officer of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), said in a report to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya that the Pampanga based airport emerged as the fastest growing airport in the country and maybe even the region.

Luciano pointed out that Clark posted a record 1.3 million passengers last year or 533,000 higher than the 767,000 passengers recorded in 2011, but slightly short of the 1.4 million target for the year.

 “Clark airport achieved unprecedented growth on the strength of budget travel that encouraged passengers coming from Northern and Central Luzon and as far as Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog to experience Clark,” he stressed.

He pointed out that growth last year was achieved for both international and domestic passenger movement.

 The international airport hosts eight budget airlines that catered to 1.013 million or about 77 percent of the total passengers who used the international gateway last year.

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 However, Luciano also pointed out that domestic passengers increased last year as AirAsia, Airphil Express Seair and Tiger Airways commenced domestic flights in April to the country’s prime tourist destinations. 

 Last Nov. 21, the Clark International Airport serviced its five-millionth passenger since commercial flight operations started in 2003.

Luciano said Executive Orders 28 and 29 issued by President Aquino boosted the attraction of Clark as alternate airport to foreign and local carriers alike as airlines were encouraged to fly outside Metro Manila as an alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

 Furthermore, he also cited the decision of Malacañang to place Clark International Airport under the direct supervision of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in December 2011 under EO 64.

For 2013, Luciano said he expects growth to be sustained through improved access from Manila through a dedicated regular firstclass bus service starting Jan. 15 from Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.

 Luciano reported that the Ayala-owned Trinoma Mall has provided a comfortable fully furnished waiting lounge dedicated to Clark-bound passengers who only have to pay P200.  Three bus companies would initially operate the Clark-Trinoma run.

 He also reported that CIAC would likely post a positive balance sheet for the first time in its 17-year history on the back of a surge in passenger volume.

 Clark was a dormant airport from its inception in 1995 up to 2002 when UPS chose Clark as its intra-Asia Hub.  Commercial passenger operations started in the last quarter of 2003 with the introduction of international passenger charter flights of Asiana Airlines of Korea to Clark.

 The Aquino administration is spending P360 million to expand the airport’s existing passenger terminal to accommodate the expected influx of passengers at the airport.

 CIAC submitted a proposal to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) seeking to put up a P12 billion terminal that could accommodate at least 10 million to 12 million passengers per year similar to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.

 The DOTC has earmarked P100 million for the feasibility study of the entire Clark Civil Aviation Complex in preparation for its transformation as the next premier international Gateway.


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