Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Wednesday said that he will present to the Palace a “dual system” to improve the country’s airport system.
“Yes, we are ready to present it [dual system airport]in a couple of weeks. But we had the opportunity to discuss it with him [President Benigno Aquino 3rd]. Now we’ve seen a part of the decision-making process is [that]he is open to it, he immediately reacted to it,” Abaya said.
Earlier, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that it will present to the President three options to improve the Philippine airport system.
Abaya said that the first option involves a single airport system wherein the government would shut down and sell the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and develop the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
The second option is a dual system wherein the government would develop Clark and at the same time maximize the operations of NAIA until 2025. However, the government will look for an alternative site for a new airport that would be 25 kilometers, or 30 minutes away from the existing gateway.
The third option also involves a dual system wherein the government would jointly develop Clark and NAIA, and then decide whether or not to put up an alternative airport.
During summer of 2012, NAIA suffered from delayed and canceled flights because of the congestion from airlines flying in and out of Manila. The government has since ordered a reduction in traffic at the premier airport as a stop-gap measure.
Shifting air traffic
The Aquino administration has pursued a policy of shifting air traffic away from Manila and toward other growth centers, such as Clark in Pampanga.
“I think most of the Cabinet secretaries are saying we can have a dual system,” Abaya said.
He said that at the initial stages, the government won’t force the airlines to go to Clark, and that aviation firms will transfer on their own there.
The DOTC secretary also said that by 2025, NAIA will become suboptimal because of its present limitations.