Arroyo father’s name to be dropped from Pampanga airport
CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—It is Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) no more.
The name of the country’s ninth president would be dropped from the airport in this economic zone and would be used instead in a soon-to-rise terminal for passengers served by international and domestic budget airlines, the head of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) said.
In dropping the name of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s father, the airport would revert to its original name—Clark International Airport (CIA)—thus needing no executive order, congressional fiat or resolution from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, said Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC president and chief executive officer. He said the name comes with a new corporate logo.
“We will project Clark as Clark, including its history,” Luciano said.
A survey showed that domestic and international aviation players know the airport more to be Clark than DMIA, Luciano said.
CIA, as a name, first appeared in Executive Order No. 192 issued by former President Fidel Ramos on July 27, 1994, documents showed. Through it, Ramos authorized the creation of CIAC to operate and manage the Clark Aviation Complex (CAC).
EO 174, also by Ramos, earlier designated this free port’s forerunner, the Clark Special Economic Zone, as the “future site of a premier Philippine International Airport.”
Covering 2,500 hectares, the CAC used to be the central facility in the Clark Air Base of the United States Air Force until 1991 when the Senate ordered all US military bases in the Philippines closed and American troops pulled out.
Clark Air Base was named in honor of Major Harold Clark of the US Army Signal Corps who died in a seaplane crash in Panama Canal in 1919. In honor of this aviation pioneer, the American government changed the name of Fort Stotsenberg into Clark.
The bases conversion master plan, also known as the Abueva Commission report, identified the CAC as the leading resource that would transform Clark for economic uses.
Through resolutions by local officials in 2003, Arroyo renamed the CIA after her father, who died in 1997.
But name change or none, it turned out that the Clark airport, whether in the US military’s time or under the Philippine government’s jurisdiction, is known among pilots by its three-letter code: CRK.
“We made a survey among pilots and other players in the aviation industry. The Clark International Airport or Diosdado Macapagal International Airport went by three letters and these are CRK,” Luciano said.
The code of the International Air Transport Association for Clark is also CRK.
Luciano saw nothing political in the name change.
He said CIA would be a very busy airport this year as Airphil Express and AirAsia are flying to local and international destinations starting March 29.
Passengers are expected to reach 1.7 million in 2012, he said.
CIA, Luciano said, would sign a P1-billion loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines on February 21 to partly fund the construction of the new terminal.—Tonette Orejas
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