By Jennifer A. Ng | BusinessMirror
Foreign businessmen called on the government to consider seriously the “twin-airport solution” that is anchored on making the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) more efficient while expanding the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) made this proposal in a position paper it submitted recently to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). “We call on the DOTC to seriously consider the so-called twin airports, an option based on the coexistence and improvement of both Clark and the Naia,” the JFC said. “While we recognize that the DOTC is also looking at the option of closing the Naia in favor of a new international gateway airport, we do believe that both aviation hubs would share a ‘symbiotic relationship’ that benefits the domestic and foreign traveling public,” the foreign businessmen added.
They said the twin-airport solution is the best solution to accommodate the future growth of Philippine aviation. The JFC said improving the Naia and expanding Clark is made all the more critical by the plan of the government to attract 10 million tourists by 2016. The JFC noted that modernizing and improving the efficiency of the Naia and steadily expanding Clark will allow the convenience of executive travel at the Naia and cater best to the growth of the tourism industry, especially through budget travel.
The foreign businessmen said the upgrade of the Naia should include the modernization of all its four terminals, including its navigational equipment for passenger safety, comfort and convenience. “Projects in Clark would include the rapid expansion of the budget terminal, construction of a gateway terminal and installation of complete navigational equipment,” the JFC said. While they recognize that access to Clark is currently a problem, foreign businessmen said they “strongly believe” that plans for faster land transportation connections between Makati and Clark should be implemented.
The JFC pointed to the experience of Tokyo and Shanghai, two large Asian metropolises that are served by two international airports. Tokyo, for one, has developed Narita International Airport and restricted Haneda International Airport largely to domestic flights. In Shanghai, China, the Pudong International Airport serves international passengers while Hongqiao International Airport serves both international and domestic passengers. The JFC said it also supports the development of the Manila Entertainment City project. “With plans for as many as 8,000 hotel rooms in four gaming/entertainment complexes intended eventually to be larger than Las Vegas, it is important to consider the convenience of foreign destination travelers in quickly transiting to the new complex on the Naia Expressway Phase 2 link with Naia Terminal 3,” the JFC said.