CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, (PNA)–The Airline Operators Council (AOC) has expressed support in the government’s move to develop both Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila under the “Dual Airport” system program.
“The AOC supports the principle of the ‘dual airport’ movement in the island of Luzon. We have always expressed concern that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has reached its maximum capacity with the increasing number of passengers annually,” the 14-member AOC said in a statement during a recent visit at the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC).
The council said the government and the private sector must cooperate “if we are true to our commitment that ‘It’s more fun’ in our Philippine airports.”
The group said the AOC and the airline Industry are very excited about recent developments in government to pursue this principle.
“There is no question that the runway system in Clark is far more capable of handling numerous inbound and outbound aircraft. We are hopeful though that a new passenger terminal would soon turn into reality to encourage our members to schedule regular flights into and out of Clark,” the group said.
At the same time, CIAC president and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano informed the AOC officers and members that Emirates Airlines will commence their non-stop daily flights via Dubai-Clark-Dubai on October 1, while Qatar Airways via Doha-Clark-Doha daily flights will begin October 28, this year.
Luciano said that Emirates and Qatar will have the chance to attract passengers in Northern Luzon that will link them to the rest of the Middle East especially Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are mostly residing in the North.
He also said that Emirates and Qatar will also bring European and Arab tourists to visit Clark and the rest of the Philippines.
With this development, the AOC said “we would like to take this opportunity to express optimism in the light of the regular flights to and from Clark initiated by two airline members, Emirates and Qatar.”
AOC chairman Florante Isidro also expressed confidence that Clark Airport will play a major role in the aviation industry saying that “there is room for growth (Clark) and everything is here.”
Florante said that he was impressed by the developments at the Clark Airport particularly the on-going construction of the P360 million Phase 2 expansion of the passenger terminal.
The expansion of the passenger terminal is expected to be completed by the end of September in time for the operations of Emirates and Qatar in October.
The facility will further increase passenger capacity to five million annually.
In 2012, Clark Airport recorded 1.3 million passengers compared to the previous of more than 600,000 passengers since operating international flights in 2003.