Put up flights in CRK

CLARK FREEPORT -- Pampanga First District Representative Joseller "Yeng" Guiao asked the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to grant the Clark International Airport (CRK) landing rights and at the same time influence airlines to transfer some of their flights here.

Guiao issued the statement during Thursday’s consultative forum here initiated by the House of the Representatives Committee on Transportation.

The Pampanga solon stressed that The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is congested and there are safety issues concerning the airport’s operations.

“If we are trying to go over its capacity, then that could be dangerous for the passengers and airlines,” Guiao said.

Guiao said there is an observation that CAB continues to grant landing rights to airlines at the NAIA despite overcrowding of passengers at the airport.

NAIA accommodates about 32 million passengers annually, Guiao disclosed.

“Clark can easily absorb two to three million passengers per year. If only the DOTC, CAB and CAAP can influence the airlines, the government can help out Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) to have additional flights here,” he added.

Concerned government agencies should inform airlines that there are five million passengers available in Clark airport’s catchment area, he added.

“If you keep on granting landing rights to NAIA when it is already saturated and has reached its limit, is it not logical for the national government to [tell the airlines] can you transfer your flights to Clark na lang,” Guiao said.

CAB representatives however informed the House Transportation Committee that the agency, together with other members of the Air Negotiating Panel, is selling not only Manila but all other points in the Philippines specially Clark.

Lawyer Wrylou Samodio of the CAB said Clark ranks second to Manila in terms of seat entitlement negotiated by the Philippines.

“Cebu is only third. Yun nga lang po talaga nagkakaproblema tayo kung papaano mata-translate into actual utilization yung mga traffic rights na na-negotiate natin for Clark,” Samodio said.

He presented a diagram showing that Cebu is higher than Clark in terms of actual utilization of landing rights.

Samodio disclosed a new strategy stipulated in the provision of the Air Services Agreement with other countries which requires foreign carriers to fly simultaneously in Clark, Cebu and Iloilo to retain their landing rights in Manila.

“And we are contemplating to put another conditional layer in the agreement na para makapag operate sila sa Manila, they have to operate in other points in the Philippines,” he added.

Guiao said that there are already four to five million passengers in the catchment area of Clark airport based on studies.

These passengers, who come from the northern part of Metro Manila and Central and Northern Luzon, still take their flights at the NAIA, according to Guiao.

“These [passengers] could easily be transferred to Clark if only we have the flights and probably the awareness that is required for these passengers to take advantage of Clark,” Guiao said.

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