Foreign chambers favor ‘twin airports’

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The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) said on Thursday that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should “seriously consider” the development of the “twin airports” system where both the Clark International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be improved.

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In a statement, the JFC said that it asked Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to push through with the plan to unify the two airports.

The DOTC is looking for ways to close—and possibly sell—NAIA “in favor of a new international gateway airport.”

“[But] we do believe that both aviation hubs would share a ‘symbiotic relationship’ that benefits the domestic and foreign traveling public,” the group said.

The JFC emphasized that one big hub should have domestic and international flights all together, and that it “inconveniences passengers with domestic-international connecting flights” if separation of domestic and international ports continue.

Comparing the local twin airports plan to the successful experiences of Tokyo and Shanghai, JFC noted that the government should look at “modernizing and improving the efficiency of NAIA and steadily expanding Clark” as specified in the Philippine Development Plan, Public Investment Program and Tourism Development Plan up to 2016.

“The upgrade should include the modernization of all four terminals of NAIA, and inter-terminal transfer facilities and procedures between four NAIA terminal buildings,” the group said.

Meanwhile, a lot of projects are still in line with the expansion and development of Clark, which include a budget terminal, construction of gateway terminal and installation of navigational equipment.

“While access to Clark is presently a problem, we strongly believe that plans for faster land transportation connections between Makati and Clark should be implemented as the ‘twin airports’ policy will be put in place,” the JFC said.

The twin airports policy is seen to benefit the National Capital Region and Central Luzon regions—expanding passenger capacity to 40 million passengers, greater than Tokyo and Shanghai—and help achieve government’s tourism goal of 10 million visitors by 2016.

“We believe that this is the best solution to accommodate future growth of the Philippine aviation,” the JFC said.

In addition, the foreign chambers commended the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s Entertainment City project, which will lead to the establish of hotels, gaming centers and entertainment complexes to attract more tourists into the country.

“It is important to note, however, that requiring arrival at Clark and a long transit through heavy traffic may severely handicap the new project,” the JFC said.

Among the foreign chambers that signed the statement include American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

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