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DOTC readies final report on number of airports issue

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to finally make a recommendation to Malacanang whether the country would adopt a single or twin airport system to address the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a radio interview that the government understands the importance of an international gateway infrastructure

“An international airport is an important infrastructure so we need to make a policy on whether to adopt a single or twin airport system,” Abaya stressed.

He pointed out that the agency is set to make a recommendation to President Aquino for approval soon.

He refused to elaborate but pointed out that the Clark International Airport is the country’s fastest growing airport with eight budget airlines handling 1.3 million passengers last year.

Earlier, Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer Victor Jose Luciano pushed for a twin airport system that would allow the joint development of the international gateway in Pampanga and NAIA to benefit the travelling public and boost the government’s campaign to attract 10 million tourists by 2016.

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“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 P6-billion budget terminal, navigational equipment, among others to the 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.

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.”

Former CILA president Jeff Pradhan claimed that 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 earlier 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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