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Metro Pacific keen on Clark airport

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman
[ ] August 11, 2011

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is keen on investing in the overall development of Clark Airport in Pampanga, including the construction of a terminal for budget airlines and a high-speed train railway.

“We will be interested if the government will bid it out,” Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters Wednesday, referring to the P8-billion budget carrier and the city air terminal earlier announced by Clark International Airport Corp.

“You have to upgrade [Clark Airport] as a whole and then you decide on it as the second international airport,” Pangilinan said.

He said the Diosdado Macapagal International, or Clark Airport, could start as a hub for local and regional foreign budget carriers whose market values savings more than convenience.

To make the airport commercially attractive, Pangilinan said an airport express connecting Manila and Clark Airport was necessary to attract carriers to mount flights.

“It should be an integral part of the airport because certain foreign carriers have already told us that they will not go to Clark unless there is an express train that will bring passengers to Manila in less than an hour,” Pangilinan said.

“Airport express is a necessity in my view if you are going to build an international airport that is about 90 kilometers from Manila,” he added.

He said the bidding for the planned terminal in Clark Airport and the airport express train earlier proposed by Metro Pacific should be done as one package to attract passenger traffic to the airport.

Pangilinan also said that Clark Airport offered a good potential for investors as Manila airports were expected to be fully utilized in the next three years. “The growth will come from Clark as Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be full in three years,” he said.

On the city air terminal, a transit point for Clark air passengers coming from Manila, Pangilinan said Makati was a better location for the terminal due to its proximity to the bulk of Metro Manila residents. The location, he said, is also strategic to the planned Connector Road of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., a unit of MPIC.

CIAC earlier said it was preparing to bid out another terminal at the Clark Airport next year.

The state-run firm added that the terminal, to be patterned after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, would occupy 40 hectares and have a maximum annual capacity of up to 10 million passengers.

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