Gov’t urged to make Clark, Subic airports fully operational
Make Clark International Airport in Pampanga province fully operational and speed up the reopening of Subic Bay International Airport in Zambales province.
These were the proposals of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Richard Gordon, respectively, in response to the chaos that gripped Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) over the past four days.
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) urged the immediate upgrading of Naia and the expansion of the Clark airport.
In a statement, MAP said the immediate upgrading of the airport was the “most cost-effective and fastest solution” to the problem of severe congestion.
Pimentel said dilly-dallying was no longer an option.
“Let’s not wait for another airplane incident which hassled thousands of passengers to realize there should be an urgent and comprehensive government plan to decongest Naia,” he said.
Pimentel said two airports serving as the country’s main international gateways were needed.
“Naia can serve South Metro Manila and Southern Luzon to Bicol, and Clark can address the needs of passengers from north Metro Manila and northern Philippines,” he said.
Gordon, on the other hand, said flights could have been diverted not only to the Clark airport but also to the Subic airport if the latter had been reopened.
“As it was, passengers of canceled flights were still stranded at Naia up to [Sunday] and awaiting announcements on their flights. If the [Subic airport] was already opened, flights could have been diverted to the two airports,” he said.
Gordon said airports were the country’s doorway to tourism, trade and investment.
“Thus, when flights are delayed or canceled, it incurs cost, not only to passengers who are stressed and inconvenienced because they miss their work, classes or other appointments, but also to the airlines and companies doing trade and commerce,” he said.
Gordon, former mayor of Olongapo City and former head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, has been pushing for the completion of the rehabilitation of the Subic airport so it could return to full operation by the second quarter of 2019. —WITH A REPORT FROM ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL
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