Thursday August 16, 2018

Clark airport vital to North Luzon development

PAMPANGA. World-renowned Malaysian businessman and AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes discusses with local mediamen the potential of North Luzon and the role of Clark International Airport in the development of North Luzon and the country during a press conference as part of the ongoing 27th North Luzon Area Business Conference at the LausGroup Event Centre. (Princess Clea Arcellaz)

THE Clark International Airport (CRK) plays a major role in the progress and development of North Luzon, according to AirAsia Group Founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.

During the opening of the 27th North Luzon Business Area Conference at the LausGroup Event Centre Thursday, May 17, in the City of San Fernando, the world-renowned business leader highlighted that the airport, touted as the country’s secondary gateway, 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 noted.

“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.

Moreover, the airline owner shared that CRK should be developed effectively.

It can be noted that the major transportation hub is gearing up for expansion, under a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Department of Transportation and the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

“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,” he said.

The construction of the P12.6-billion new, 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.