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Dynamics of an airport

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No, this will not be an extended treatise on what makes an airport run. But it is a brief glimpse of Clark Airport after about 25 years of existence. It is a story of opportunities and lost opportunities, as a jewel was left to itself for all this time. Clark Airport’s history shows it bouncing from one ownership status to another under a series of executive orders and changes in political dynamics. As a result, its full potential was never tapped into and unleashed.

 

01-31-17_PAL

In Photo: PAL Incheon flight arrival at Clark (Photo by BusinessMirror)

 

Now under a more firm base that involves two rather solid parents—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)—Clark may yet begin to show its true potential. First of all, it is the only airport around that has an area of about 2,300 hectares. Under a plan developed by the Aeroport de Paris (ADPI), it will have the capability of servicing about 80 million passengers once its terminals will be phased in over 20 years. It will have three runways, and will be able to service 40 percent of the current traveling market, who go all the way to Naia but live in Clark’s natural catch basin of Regions 1, 2 and 3. Heck, even travelers from North Metro will find it easier to get to Clark than braving the wilds and traffic of Edsa.

 

The current leadership of DTI has seen fit to “persuade” airlines to mount more flights out of Clark. The result has been an increase in the number of both domestic and international flights in just a few months. And there is talk of extending routes to much traveled areas, like the United States, and certain parts of Asia, like Japan.

 

Best of all, investors are showing interest in building a truly first-class airport that will surely eclipse the current Naia, paving the way for another airport to service south of Metro. The Naia itself may have to be closed down because it goes against the grain and wisdom of having a bigger and better airport somewhere else. Talk now is of Sangley, or other areas to the south of Metro. Another proponent wants to set up in Bulacan, but this will go directly against Clark.

 

Right now, we are hearing of different groups willing to set up the train connection to Clark. But in past articles by this author, we suggested that the DTI think beyond a mere Manila-Clark connection. They should try and connect all the big ports and airports. Start with Batangas port, going to the existing Manila Port Area, then out to Clark and Subic, San Fernando, La Union, and even Port Irene in Cagayan. In this way, goods, services and people can be moved to and fro, and remove the onus of having to ship goods in and out of the Metro Port Area alone.

 

Within two to three years, the first of two overhead roads connecting the Slex to Nlex-Sctex-Tplex will be finished. Again this will alter the dynamics of Clark as it becomes totally accessible even by road, whether the train connection comes up quickly or not.

 

This augurs well for the planned Green City Administrative region, which will, hopefully, become the new capital of the Philippines. It will be built on raw land over an area anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 hectares. Since this will be a “tabula rasa” project, the lessons learned from the mistakes of the Metro area should point to a truly green city with wide roads, pathways, biking and jogging lanes, etc. Not to mention use of clean and green energy and buildings with low carbon footprints—lots of greenery and small urban forests to provide breathing areas. Best of all, with public transportation built and planned from the start, traffic and pollution will be largely minimized. Abangan! [Stay tuned!]

 

These are exciting times for Clark.

 

This article was originally published by our media partner, BusinessMirror:

Dynamics of an airport

by Jose Ma. J. Fernandez  |  Published: 21 March 2017  |  BusinessMirror

 

 

Author: Jose Ma. J. Fernandez, BusinessMirror
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