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Clark emerging as new airline hub

MANILA, Philippines - Record traffic statistics at Clark International Airport in Pampanga have given a big boost to government efforts to promote the airport as an emerging international airline hub.

The airport posted an impressive 71-percent increase in traffic in 2012, carrying 1.3 million passengers for the year from 767,000 in 2011, according to a report by Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC).

Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC president and CEO, said the rise in traffic volume came largely from a big jump in demand from low-cost travelers.

The launch last year of local flights to key domestic tourist destinations by Air Asia, Airphil Express and Southeast Asian Airlines-Tiger also helped boost traffic.

Clark airport now has eight budget airlines in its stable, the most among airports in the Philippines, said the state-owned airport operator.

Clark also benefits from the government’s “pocket open skies” policy encouraging the use of airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

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But CIAC thinks that Clark International Airport has the potential to go beyond merely an emerging budget airport hub to become a regional aerotropolis. The term “aerotropolis” refers to community planning where airports serve as the center for new cities growing around them.

In line with this, CIAC in partnership with Global Gateway Logistics City is holding a two-day conference in February to promote Clark as an aerotropolis. The Clark Aviation Conference 2013 will be held on Feb. 21-22, 2013 at the Widus Convention Center at Clark Freeport Zone. The event coincides with the popular annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

With the theme “The Case for Asia’s Next Aerotropolis,” the trade gathering will examine Clark International Airport’s compelling case as an aerotropolis, highlight its critical role in decongesting Manila and focus on how it can drive economic expansion not just in Central Luzon but also nationwide.

The convention will also identify investor-friendly infrastructure and policy developments at Clark Freeport Zone. More important, the conference is a call for the full development of Clark International Airport as an aviation nerve center in light of the economic growth in Asia.

Heads of government agencies — including the trade, tourism, and transportation and communications departments as well as the Bases Conversion and Development Authority — and private-sector representatives will look at Clark’s prospects as an aviation and investment destination in Asia, even as they look into pressing aviation and tourism concerns and propose sustainable and long-term solutions.

The conference targets international investors, logistics and supply chain executives, tourism stakeholders, airline officials, import and export managers, and members of the academe.


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