MANILA, Philippines – As new and existing budget airlines operating at Clark come in and add more planes, the volume of passengers passing through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) is seen to hit one million in 2012.
This reflects a faster growth of 30.7% from the 2011 passenger traffic of 765,000, which is itself a 27.5% jump from the 2010 traffic of 600,000.
In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, January 24, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president Victor Jose Luciano said the growth target is hinged mainly on the expansion plans of AirAsia Philippines and the partnership of Tiger-Seair.
Luciano said AirAsia Philippines will mount its inaugural flight as soon as it gets a permit authorizing flights out of Clark from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The low-cost Philippine affiliate of Malaysia’s AirAsia already has 2 aircrafts ready and plans to bring in 3 more in 2012.
Luciano also noted the expected expansion of Singapore’s budget carrier Tiger Airways, which has formed a partnership with local South East Asian Airlines (SEAir).
The Clark airport is primed to be the alternative main gateway into the country in place of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, which has been suffering from congestion both at the runway and in the three international terminal buildings.
Still the transition is another 5 to 6 years according to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The move is tied to the development of the North Rail project, which has been bogged down by legal, diplomatic, and financial issues with China.
Meantime, the DOTC has yet to finalize its plan to expand the capacity of DMIA by adding a new terminal that can handle millions of passengers a year.
The Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investment Corp. has previously submitted an unsolicited offer, while diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. has said it entered into a deal with a local firm that supposedly has a franchise from a separate government agency. – Rappler.com