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Clark bats for twin airport system

MANILA, Philippines - The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) is pushing for a twin airport system that would allow the joint development of the international gateway in Pampanga and the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

CIAC president and chief executive officer Victor Jose Luciano said in a statement that a twin airport system would benefit the travelling public and boost the government’s campaign to attract 10 million tourists by 2016.

“We support the development of a twin-airport system that is the overall development of both Clark airport and NAIA. Both airports will have a symbiotic relationship that will be beneficial to the travelling public,” Luciano stressed.

He pointed out that CIAC is set to submit on March 4 a list of projects including the construction of the gateway terminal, a budget terminal, navigational equipment, among others to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for approval.

According to him, the updated list including costs of the projects submitted by other attached agencies of DOTC would also be consolidated and submitted to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for processing.

“CIAC adheres to the planning process of the national government as to the approval and implementation of vital infrastructure projects,” he clarified.

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Luciano added that CIAC has been closely coordinating with the DOTC on the development of the international gateway in Pampanga.

He said CIAC officials participated in the planning session conducted by the DOTC in Tagaytay City last Feb. 8 as well as the updating of the Philippine Development Plan, Public Investment Program (PIP) and the Tourism Development Plan for 2013 to 2016 last Feb. 18.

He added that businesses in the Clark freeport zone and nearby communities further increase their revenues while more locators are planning to locate in Clark because of the presence of the Clark airport.

Luciano brushed aside the claims made by the former president of Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) that “businesses in the former US military facility suffered due to the indecision of the government over the fate of Clark airport.”

On Wednesday, former CILA president Jeff Pradhan said locators inside the Clark Freeport and special economic zone are urging the Aquino administration to decide with finality whether the Clark international airport would serve as an alternate gateway in the Philippines.

Pradhan said businesses inside the former US military naval base have suffered due to the indecision of the government over the fate of the international airport in Pampanga.

 “It comes down to lost opportunities. They want to see further improvement by the government rather than constant changing of minds,” he added.

For his part, Clark International Airport Corp. adviser Capt. Benjamin Solis told reporters that the government should act quickly on the development of the Clark international airport as the NAIA is already 40 percent over the capacity of its terminals and runway.

“They have not made up their minds and that is the problem,” Solis stressed.

Solis, former general manager of UPS-Delbros, pointed out that the development of the Clark international airport as an alternative gateway to NAIA would be cheaper compared to putting up a new airport or putting up a high-speed railway.

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