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P-Noy open to adoption of dual airport system

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration is open to adoption of a dual airport system by upgrading the congested 30-year old Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and developing the Clark International Airport in Pampanga while building an alternate international gateway within Metro Manila.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of a forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) that President Aquino is now open to a dual or twin airport system than a single airport system.

“President Aquino is now open to the dual airport system. Previously his inclination was to go single wherein everybody goes to Clark,” Abaya stressed.

The DOTC was supposed to forward to Malacañang three options including the possibility of shutting down and selling NAIA.

The first option is to transfer all of NAIA’s flights and operations to Clark International Airport, but travel time to Pampanga would still take over an hour even with a high-speed rail connecting Metro Manila to Clark, while the second option is to maintain both Clark and NAIA while already preparing a future replacement for NAIA that is 20 or 30 minutes away.

The third option is to support the growth of Clark and allow NAIA maximization until 2025 while diligently observing how market forces react and how our own behavior responds to this set up within the next few years.

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“At this point, we are inclined to go with a dual gateway right away, meaning having both Clark and NAIA while already building a NAIA replacement. This is not yet final though, and we are due to discuss these options with the President soon so that we can come up with the final decision,” he stated in his speech.

After a presentation to President Aquino and other members of his cabinet, Abaya said the country’s chief executive is now inclined to adopt a dual or twin airport system than a single airport system due to the growing number of travelers particularly tourists.

“The three options will no longer be presented to President Aquino. He is open to a dual system so we just flesh out the difference on to two or three and put more specifics on the proposal,” he added.

The DOTC chief pointed out that the government would not force airlines to transfer their operations to the Clark international airport under a single airport system.

“We won’t force the airlines to go to Clark. On their own they will transfer because Emirates is going there. I think there will be a natural flow,” he said.

He explained that the Aquino administration would continue to upgrade and rehabilitate the 30-year old NAIA Terminal 1 and at the same time fully maximize the NAIA Terminal 3 in preparation for major events that the Philippines would be hosting over the next few years.

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