Thursday, September 20, 2018

AirAsia: Low-cost airlines vital to airport growth

AS CLARK International Airport (CRK) undertakes expansion, Asian business leader Tony Fernandes urged management to continue catering to low-cost airlines.

“It’s really important that they don’t let go of low cost airlines, because an airport’s bread and butter is the mass market. Whoever takes over the terminal should make sure that there’s a low cost terminal in the area because that’s what is going to drive the volume,” Fernandes, founder and CEO (chief executive officer) of AirAsia Group, said at the opening of the 27th North Luzon Business Area Conference at the LausGroup Event Centre Thursday, May 17, in the City of San Fernando.

Construction of the P12.6-billion state-of-the-art passenger terminal in Clark International Airport started in December last year.

The new structure, upon full completion of the first phase, can accommodate up to eight million passengers, while its third and last phase can be used by over 46 million passengers.

Fernandes said the airport, touted as the country’s secondary gateway, plays a major role in the progress and development of North Luzon. It drives businesses, investments, and tourism forward in the region.

“We see the Clark International Airport as a major transportation hub that creates interconnectivity, stirs progress, and links businesses here in the region, as it also serves as a viable airport that serves and caters to over 24 million people in Luzon,” he said.

He said he was confident that CRK is poised to become a world-class airport in the near future.

“The Philippines needs another major airport next to NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), and we already have CRK. So what we need to do is utilize it for it really has massive potential. I believe the future is here,” he said.

“It is the same reason why AirAsia is very active in launching more routes here. In fact, this Friday, we will unveil our new Clark to Taipei route,” he added.

The airport’s expansion is being undertaken under a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Department of Transportation and the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority. (Erika Mariel Gines)