San Pedro: ‘3rd Best Airport Zone’-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, August 5, 2012
TRUTH: The Clark International Airport is “3rd Best Airport Zone” in the world. Fallacies: The government was delaying the development of the Clark airport. That the government took out an P8-billion loan on top of the P1-billion existing loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines. That there was a conspiracy to delay the development of Clark airport.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDi) Magazine of the UK-based Financial Times Group picked the Clark International Airport as one of the best airports in a Freeport zone setting. Now one of the busiest airports in the country today, the Clark airport which is expected to register over a million passengers for this year, bested 56 other free zones that submitted many aspects of their operations. The criteria set by the panel led by FDi Magazine Editor Courtney Fingar include: incentives, facilities, cost-effectiveness, transportation and best foreign direct investment promotion. The presence of the Clark airport within the Clark Freeport Zone that now employs over 66,000 workers also put Clark above the rest.
The Dubai Airport Free Zone was adjudged the “Best Airport Zone in the World” followed by Morocco’s Tangier’ Free Zone in second place. I had the chance to visit Dubai Airport once and I was amazed by the duty free store which raffles a Rolls Royce car.
“We are humbled,” said Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Victor Jose I. Luciano.
The government should now fast-track the development of the Clark airport and make it more appealing to other airline operators. The P360-million Phase II project expansion of the Clark Terminal Building should push through to accommodate the growing passenger volume which is expected to hit over one millions for this year.
From January to June this year alone, international and domestic passengers stood at 547,556 from 354,585 recorded in the same period last year. The growing family of airlines include; Seair, Cebu Pacific, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Dragonair, Airphil Express, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Berhad. Zest Air will soon launch flights from Clark airport.
In having chosen Clark Freeport, panel judge John Worthington of IBT Partners said: “Asia’s zones are, of course, not to be overlooked. With the highest average levels of education among emerging economies, Eastern Economic zones have at their disposal a labor force with one of the highest skill-to-cost ratios, resulting in massive influxes of foreign direct investment to China and South East Asia.”
“At different stages of transition between primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, these are attractive regions for a wide range of industries. The Philippines, India, China and Singapore, in particular, are regarded as zones of fast growth and attraction, which is reflected by the huge increases in employment in the past two years in their respective economic free zones.”
The Clark Freeport Zone landed in the 8th spot in the same survey conducted by FDi. Again, Dubai Airport Free Zone topped the list in the search for the top 50 Free Zones of the Future 2012/13. FDi noted that Dubai has an “excellent transport link and a clear focus on attracting foreign direct investments.”
Now fly in the world’s “3rd Best Airport Zone” and experience the Filipino hospitality at its best.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 06, 2012.