Local and foreign airline companies are turning to Clark International Airport to boost their strategic expansion, according to a foreign investor in Clark Freeport Zone.
Mark Williams, chief executive of Global Gateway Development Corp., said the simultaneous expansion of airline companies at Clark is a clear indication of robust growth and strong demand in Central and Northern Luzon.
Officials of Clark International Airport Corp. are holding talks with more airlines to connect the premier airport north of Manila to different parts of the country, Asia and even North America.
CIAC president Alexander Cauguiran said the airport operator is currently in talks with air carriers on possible air connection between Clark and North America.
He said Clark has a huge market potential consisting of travelers coming from Northern Luzon, Cagayan Valley Region, Central Luzon, and the northern part of Metro Manila or Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela). Together, these areas have a combined population of 24.2 million.
“Clark ought to be the most logical and practical airport of choice of the people from the morthern and central parts of Luzon,” Cauguiran was quoted as saying.
CIAC’s master development plan includes developing a new passenger terminal with an 8-million-passenger capacity. The Duterte administration plans to construct another terminal by 2019 or before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office.
Studies point to the strong growth in the number of passengers in Clark, with the increase in flights at CRK. In its report, CIAC seeks to maximize in the next two to three years the existing terminal with a capacity of 4.2 million passengers annually.
The goal of decongesting Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport is on track to being achieved with more airlines mounting flights from the Clark International Airport, according to Philippine Airlines executives.
Philippines AirAsia, the local unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia, is also set to resume flights from Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Kalibo, Aklan. Cebu Pacific also has flights to and from Clark.
More flights means good business for Clark International Airport, which was designed to accommodate 4 million passengers but only sees about a million a year.
More flights to and from Clark will not only decongest Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but will also help prop up the local economy.
Cauguiran said more flights to Clark will boost economic activities, including transportation, food and other businesses down the line.
Airport authorities say less traffic, comfort and a better passenger experience form part of the lure of Clark airport for those from Northern and Central Luzon and even people from Metro Manila.
Williams expressed optimism that as more flights land in Clark International Airport, Clark Freeport Zone will solidify its position as the next growth area in the country. He said GGDC’s huge investment in Global Gateway City is timely for new locators in the Freeport area.
“Global Gateway City, the 177-hectare development of GGDC is in the midst of riding on the crest of economic progress,” he said.
Williams said the multi-billion project is envisioned to provide support for various industries such as aviation that needs aeroparks and business process outsourcing complete with mix-used infrastructures.