Clark airport eyes NA market
CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga—Clark International Airport, one of the biggest aviation complexes in Asia, is eyeing the rich passengers of 23 countries in North America to increase its flights and passengers, including its cargo tonnage.
Alexander Cauguiran, president and CEO of Clark International Airport Corp., said they are currently negotiating with other air carriers to connect Clark to the rich passengers from the North American market.
North America, the world’s third largest continent, not only boasts the United States and Canada but also “dozens of possessions and territories, including the Caribbean and Central American countries, Bermuda, and Mexico,” the airport boss said.
Cauguiran said Clark is targeted a new market of foreigners and Filipino overseas workers, 3.5 million of them in the US alone.
Filipinos are the third-largest ethnic group after Chinese and Indians communities in Canada, totaling about 800,000 based on 2011 statistics provided by the Canadian National Household Survey, he added.
Filipino-Canadians are concentrated in provinces of Ontario (275,380), British Columbia (126,040), Alberta (106,035), Manitoba (59,226) and Quebec (31,495), representing 1.8 percent of Canada’s total population, Cauguiran said.
Mostly holder of bachelors and masters’ degrees and technical skills, Filipino-Canadians receive annual salaries of about $24,000, lower than most Canadians nationals’ average of $30,000 a year, he added.
Domestically, Cauguiran said local tourists from Region I to Region III and the northern Metro Manila cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela make up a “huge traveling population” of 24.2 million that use Clark as their takeoff point.
During the Asia CEO Forum held here, the airport president told international and local business leaders, mostly potentials locators at the Civil Aviation Complex, that Clark has two parallel runaways that can easily be extended to four kilometers in width to accommodate the new generation of wide-bodied aircraft, plus its modern facilities and services.
Under the CIAC short-term Master Development Plan, a new Passenger Terminal Building that can accommodate eight million passengers is being implemented by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, in anticipation of the growing congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
The existing Clark terminal only has 4.2-million passenger capacity, Cauguiran said.
Based on the latest economic profile of Central Luzon, the performance of CIAC “was not impressive and leans toward frustrating and disappointing,” he admitted.
With the entry of Philippines Airlines, Cauguiran said they are confident Clark can recover its lost flights, passengers, and cargo tonnage, especially now that they are working with the North American market.