MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation is pushing for the rationalization of flights to decongest the terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
At the same time, Secretary Arthur Tugade voiced support for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s proposal for airlines to transfer some of their flights to Clark International Airport.
“Ang habol ng ating Speaker is to put things in order and ensure fluidity and efficiency in NAIA Terminals 1-4. Gusto namin ibalik ang dating konsepto sa NAIA. ‘Yung di makakayanan sa NAIA terminals ililipat sa Clark. (The Speaker wants to put things in order and ensure fluidity and efficiency in NAIA Terminals 1-4. We want to revive the old concept in NAIA. Flights that cannot be accommodated in the NAIA terminals must be transferred to Clark),” Tugade said in a television interview Monday.
He explained that the original concept was for Terminals 1 and 3 to handle international flights, with Terminals 2 and 4 for domestic flights.
However, NAIA Terminals 2 and 3 are being used for both international and domestic flights, leading to runway congestion.
Clark International Airport currently serves 200 domestic and international flights.
Last December, the DOTr and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority led the groundbreaking for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project.
The project involves the construction of a P9.36-billion new passenger terminal building spanning 100,000 square meters which can accommodate an additional eight million passengers to the existing four million for a total of 12 million passengers yearly.
It is expected to be operational by 2020.
The BCDA is expected to bid out the operations and maintenance of the Clark International Airport to the private sector within this year. It also eyes a connection to the 106-kilometer Manila-Clark Railway project, which is expected to reduce travel time from Manila to Clark to 55 minutes from the present two hours.
Speaker Alvarez said air carriers face the risk of losing their franchises if they do not move their flights to Clark within 45 days to decongest NAIA.
The four NAIA terminals can only accommodate 31 million passengers based on its design capacity yet at least 42 million passengers actually use their terminals according to the Manila International Airport Authority.