AirAsia CEO bats for Manila-Clark road link

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A connector road between Manila and Clark would play a vital role in encouraging passengers from Manila to use Clark International Airport (CIA), a top official of budget carrier AirAsia said.

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“I think a good road connection between Clark and Metro Manila would help,” AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told reporters.

Last year, Transport and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the Philippine National Railways would extend its service to Cagayan and Isabela and possibly build a spur to Clark Green City.

Abaya said the DOTC has allowed the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to prepare a feasibility study for the rail spur.

The DOTC early this year said it would propose the setting up of an elevated railway system that would cost $5 billion (P220.5 billion) and will be built over the existing railways.

The project includes the 900-kilometer Integrated Luzon Railway [IRL] that will run from Cagayan to Sorsogon, Bicol and the 90-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway that will run from Malolos, Bulacan to Calamba, Laguna.

The DOTC said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is helping the government to complete the feasibility study for the Malolos-Calamba commuter rail.

The proposed railway would cover the entire north and south networks of the state-run PNR.

PNR’s north network runs from Manila to La Union as well as a branch line from Tarlac to San Jose, Nueva Ecija, and a possible extension to Cagayan, while the south network traverses Manila to Legaspi City, including the branch line from Calamba to Batangas City.

Abaya also clarified that the railway system BCDA is proposing for Clark is not a bullet train but a train running at 150 kilometers per hour.

“Clark is 100 kilometers away. If it travels at 150kph, you get there in 40 minutes. You don’t need a bullet train to get there,” Abaya said.

The government still has to decide if it will be a public-private partnership project or one funded by official development assistance.
Currently, there is an existing Clark-Kuala Lumpur route that is operated Malaysia’s AirAsia (AK) flight code three times a week.

The company also said that during the fourth quarter ended December 2014, it provided financial assistance in the form of loans to its affiliate, AirAsia Inc., in the amount of $22.34 million, to facilitate the ordinary course of business of AirAsia Inc.

The financial assistance provided has no material effect on the share capital, shareholding structure or net assets of the company, it said.

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