Arroyo pushes development of Clark Airport as main PH gateway

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is pushing for the full development of Clark International Airport (CIA) to become the main airport of the country.
Arroyo pushes development of Clark Airport as main PH gateway

Following the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) fiasco that left hundreds of flights cancelled, rerouted or delayed after a Xiamen Airlines aircraft skidded off the runway, Arroyo suggested that the Clark Airport will definitely help decongest NAIA.

Arroyo pushes development of Clark Airport as main PH gateway
Arroyo eyes Clark Airport as an alternative to NAIA | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Clark International Airport

Along with CIA President Alex Cauguiran, Arroyo recently led a media tour for the public to see the improvements and ongoing construction. She said, “I have been for it [Clark as the main international airport] and it’s not because of any specific knee-jerk reaction to any event. That is why I invited the media to go to the ongoing construction of the Clark airport.”

Cauguiran explained that the full development of the 210-hectare airport is under the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program. They are aiming to be completed by June 2020 to accommodate 10 to 12 million passengers per year from the current figure of 2.5 million passengers per year.

He added, “Aside from decongesting the NAIA, the expansion of the Clark airport is part of a bigger development plan for North and Central Luzon as the new terminal will complement other infrastructure projects in the area which include the Manila-Clark Railway, Subic-Clark Cargo Railway and New Clark City.”

Lawmakers support

Aside from Arroyo, House Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay Jr also called for the transfer of several flights to Clark Airport from NAIA. Pichay said, “It’s about time the government look into moving flights at the over-congested NAIA.”

“Grabe ang traffic sa NAIA. We only have one runway, other countries, they have two runways, three runways in an airport so I think it’s about time that we really transfer the international airport to Clark because Clark has two runways,” he added.

Makati City Representative Luis Campos Jr also stressed the urgent development on Clark as a main gateway. Campos also said that the Department of Transportation is already spending P2.74 billion this year to further modernize Clark. He stressed the importance of CIA, “Clark already has an Instrument Landing System (ILS) that makes it possible for the primary runway to handle flights after 6 p.m.”

Despite the push, several critics have pointed out that Clark airport may not be an ideal new gateway due to its far distance from Metro Manila and the heavy traffic on the Northern Luzon Expressway.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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