Air Asia, DHL, Qatar Airways, Tiger Air calls for CIA / NAIA 'Dual Airport System'

Seated from L to R: Crisanto Venzon, Philippine Exporters Confederation Region III President; Nonie Abcede, DHL Global Forwarding (Phils.) Director of Airfreight; Reyna Cano, Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines Director; Linda Oliva Ramos,Tiger Airways Philippines President and CEO; and Marianne Hontiveros, Air Asia Philippines CEO. Standing from L to R: Captain Benjamin Solis, Asia Foundation Air Transport Adviser; Crisanto Frianeza, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary General; Raoul Perez, Philippine Academy for Aviation Training General Manager; Abdallah Okasha, Qatar Airways Philippines Countrywide Manager/Director; Jeff Pradhan, Peregrine Development International Inc. Vice President for Sales & Marketing; Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Philippine Exporters Confederation President; Angelito Colona, United Portusers Confederation President; Reimond Silvestre, Subic Bay International Terminal Corp General Manager; Francis Lopez, InteCommerce Network Services, Inc President; and Mario Lazatin, Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc President. 

Top Philippine business groups, stakeholders, logistics firms and airlines gathered to support the Clark: Dual Airport Declaration ceremonial signing at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last Wednesday. The declaration calls for the Philippine government to adopt the dual airport system with Clark International Airport (CIA) as the northern airport of Luzon and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as the island’s southern airport.

The Declaration also called for the “fast track development of Clark’s infrastructure to meet current and future passenger, carrier and cargo growth.” Clark has a lot of potential because of its huge land area spanning over 2,300 hectares. CIA has supporting road infrastructure and the most modern navigational equipment. The airport is also the fastest-growing in the country, registering 72% increase in passenger traffic and 44% jump in revenues in 2012.

The statement arose from the inaugural Clark Aviation Conference, held in February 2013, which galvanized private sector support for the immediate development of Clark airport to help drive the country’s economic growth.

The 22 signatories included heads of Air Asia Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Asia Foundation, Clark Investors and Locators Association, Center for the Advancement of Trade Integration & Facilitation, DHL Global Forwarding (Phils), Global Gateway Logistics City, Association of Hotels And Restaurants in Pampanga, InterCommerce Network Services Inc., Jamco Philippines, Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Academy for Aviation Training, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Philexport Region III, SIA Engineering (Phils), Qatar Airways, Subic Bay International Terminal Corp., Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, TigerAir Philippines, United Portusers Confederation and US-Asean Business Council Philippines.

The Declaration welcomed government’s “interest in pursuing the dual airport system to support air connectivity,” and “approval of the 2.5-million interim passenger terminal and 10-million budget passenger terminal for Clark airport in support of the Department of Tourism’s target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016.”


The declaration highlighted Clark International Airport’s advantages to meet the country’s growing aviation requirements. These include:
  • High passenger demand supplied by the 23-million population from Regions I, II and III, including the northern environs of Metro Manila; 
  • Fast-growing passenger traffic (72 percent increase in passenger traffic, 69 percent increase in air traffic movements and 44 percent increase in airport revenues in 2012. Additional 36 percent increase in passenger traffic for January to May of 2013 over same period of 2012, making Clark airport the fastest-growing in the Philippines); 
  • most modern and sophisticated navigational instruments (radar system and precision approach equipment) in the Philippines; 
  • vast land bank (airport complex covers 2,367 hectares); 
  • parallel runways considered the best in the country in terms of orientation, length and capacity; and
  • easy road access via the Northern Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Expressway.
The Declaration took note that “distance, if measured in time rather than kilometers,” placed Clark at just an hour away from Metro Manila via Nlex. It also quoted a 2011 Japan International Cooperation Agency study citing Clark as the “best and only viable option to complement NAIA.”

The study gave Clark an 80 percent mark compared to the less than 50 percent received by five other areas — Sangley Point in Cavite, Angat and Obando in Bulacan, Talim Island in Rizal and Taguig in Metro Manila.


The Declaration also dispelled notions that Clark airport’s viability was contingent on the presence of a high-speed rail, an expensive infrastructure that many major airports around the world do not deploy during their initial phase of operation. "Without Northrail, Clark won't be the main airport." said former Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary and now Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.

Clark is around 80 kilometers or an hour and 30 minutes away from Metro Manila. A rail project funded by China called 'Northrail' was supposed to be built to link the 2 points, but it was mired in legal, technical and financial issues. In this declaration, the private sector groups said that while a high-speed rail system is welcome, Clark's viability is not dependent on it. They said it takes a long time to build and is "extremely expensive."

They added that "Many major airports around the world do not utilize rail service during the airport's initial phase of operation." The groups are lobbying for the rollout of a bus rapid system (BRT) instead, saying this is more "efficient and economical." The airports in Haneda-Japan, Suvarnabhumi-Bangkok, and KLIA-Kuala Lumpur are examples of facilities that have successfully deployed their own version of the BRT.