DOTr pushes flight rationalization in NAIA

MANILA The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing for the rationalization of flights to decongest the terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This as DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has expressed his support on the proposal of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for airlines to transfer some of their flights to the 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.

The transportation secretary explained that under the original concept of NAIA, Terminals 1 and 3 should handle international flights while Terminals 2 and 4 are for domestic flights.

However, it has been observed that the NAIA terminals are now currently being used for both domestic and international flights which lead to the congestion of its runways.

Currently, NAIA Terminals 2 and 3 are being used for both international and domestic flights.

There is a need to rationalize the usage of NAIA Terminals 1-4 in relation to Clark, Tugade stressed.

Clark International Airport currently serves 200 domestic and international flights.

Last December, the DOTr and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Clark International Airport Expansion Project.

The project involves the construction of a PHP9.36 billion new passenger terminal building spanning 100,000 square meters which can accommodate an additional eight million passengers to the existing four million passengers for a total of 12 million passengers yearly and is expected to be operational by 2020.

Megawide-GMR won the bid for the design, engineering and construction of the new airport terminal building after it submitted lowest financial proposal for the project amounting to PHP9.36 billion 25 percent below the ceiling price of PHP12.55 billion.

The BCDA is expected to bid for the operations and maintenance of the Clark International Airport to the private sector within this year. It is also being eyed to be connected 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.

Alvarez said air carriers face the risk of losing their franchises if they are not able to move their flights to Clark within 45 days in order to decongest NAIA during a hearing of the House transportation committee conducted last Feb. 14.

Transferring flights from NAIA will match its design capacity to the volume of passengers according to Alvarez who also served as the former Secretary of the then Department of Transportation and Communications during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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