San Pedro: AOC supports CRK-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, September 15, 2013
THE Airline Operators Council has expressed its support in the Aquino administration’s move to develop both the Clark International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport under the “dual airport” system program.
This, as AirAsia Philippines announced that it will temporarily suspend its domestic flights to Davao City and Kalibo, the gateway to the island paradise of Boracay; Hong Kong and Taipei, starting on October 9. The AirAsia flights to Hong Kong, however, will resume on Dec. 20, 2013 until Jan. 6, 2014 in time for the yuletide season.
“The temporary suspension is primarily to manage costs following the recent grounding of Zest Air by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. This has affected many factors and allocating necessary resources such as aircraft and crew is critical to ensure its recovery,” according to AirAsia Phils CEO Maan Hontiveros. “Right now, we need to focus our resources to support Zest Air where we have significant economic interest, and we believe in Zest Air’s potential with their Manila based operations.”
On the temporary suspension of flights of AirAsia Philippines next month, CIAC President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano said: “Clark acknowledges the challenges confronting AirAsia, made more daunting with the acquisition of Zest Air while the latter is in the midst of hurling regulatory issues. Clark will continue to give fullest support to its airlines and will give all the encouragement to AirAsia to increase flights out of Clark. Clark believes in the capability of the management of AirAsia, not only to overcome its present difficulties but even grow the airline soon.”
AirAsia Philippines holds a 49 percent stake in Zest Air, which is expected to carry the AirAsia brand once it is approved by the CAAP.
In a statement, the AOC indicated: “The AOC supports the principle of the “dual airport” system 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 government and the private sector must cooperate if we are true to our commitment that “it’s more fun in our Philippine airports.”
“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 out bound 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 statement said.
“Expansion is to accommodate the coming of long-haul flights from the Middle East...the wide-body planes of Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways. Clark is being readied for the coming of more of these long-haul flights,” said Luciano.
No less than AOC Chairman Florante Isidro expressed optimism that Clark airport will play a major role in the development of the aviation industry saying that “there is room for growth (Clark) and everything is here.” Isidro was impressed in the developments at the Clark airport particularly the on-going construction of the P360 million Phase 2 expansion of the existing Clark terminal.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 16, 2013.