Without Northrail, Clark won’t be main airport – Roxas

Rappler.com
Passengers of most international airlines will have to keep on passing through the congested NAIA-1 until the legal and construction issues that hound the North Rail project are resolved

MANILA, Philippines – Passengers of most international airlines will have to keep on passing through the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) until the legal and construction issues that hound the North Rail project are resolved, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said.

The North Rail project, which is meant to link Metro Manila and Clark International Airport, is the “necessary ingredient” in making the former US aviation base the new gateway, Roxas said.

At press briefing on Monday, February 27, Roxas said that “the transfer can’t happen if there is no infrastructure. It is a necessary ingredient” because North Rail project is the missing link to transport passengers from Metro Manila all the way to Clark.”

Clark is located around 80 kilometers from Metro Manila. Metro passengers taking budget airlines flights in Clark travel via buses or private cars that take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

The North Rail project, a controversial project between the former Arroyo administration and the Chinese government, is meant to reduce the travel time between Manila and Clark, which has a sprawling area ideal for aviation activities.    

NLEx as alternative

Roxas had given assurances that the Philippine government is pushing through with the development of the North Rail project in line with plans of making the Clark Airport as the country’s major gateway.

But negotiations with the Chinese proponent for major revisions of the contract are “going very slow,” prompting the agency to look at other alternatives.

Roxas said last week that the Philippine government has yet to secure a confirmed meeting with Chinese officials due to an ongoing leadership change. “They are going through changes. We do not want our projects to be disrupted because of that.”

“We are now reviewing the possibility if we can use other alignment. Perhaps we can use the NLEx (North Luzon Expressway) alignment,” said Roxas. – Rappler.com
 

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