Lawmaker calls for rationalization of air transport by expanding Clark flights 

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A LAWMAKER called on transport authorities to maximize the recently upgraded Clark International Airport as an alternative facility to the main gateway in Manila, which is being pushed for privatization in the aftermath of the Jan. 1 air traffic fiasco that affected more than 65,000 passengers.     

House Minority Leader Marcelino C. Libanan said 50% of all flights in and out of the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) could be transferred to the privately-managed Clark airport, which has a new terminal building that can accommodate up to eight million passengers annually.    

The Clark airport, located within a former American military air base in Pampanga, is about 115 kilometers north of NAIA.   

Mr. Libanan noted that Clark is more accessible now to and from the capital with the construction of toll roads.  

He added that privatizing NAIA would only be a temporary solution to the congestion problem.   

“NAIA’s problem is lack of land for expansion. No new parallel runway can be built there because the area around the airport is already highly urbanized,” he said in a statement on Sunday.   

On Sunday, flights at the NAIA were briefly suspended for the replacement of a blowing/cooling fan for its second uninterruptible power supply, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).   

Nine flights for departure were affected while 38 waited for clearance delivery after a short outage as part of maintenance activity, CAAP said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz