Fast train a ‘key’ in priming Clark

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CLARK FREEPORT -- The proposed North-South Railway System that is expected to connect the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to Clark in Angeles City is seen to boost Clark International Airport (CIA) as North Luzon’s the prime airport.

This as stakeholders, during the Clark Challenge Stakeholders Summit 2014 spearheaded by Pampanga 1st District Representative Joseller “Yeng” Guiao which was attended by influential businessmen and political figures in Central Luzon, highlighted the impotance of the project.

Guiao said the railway system will also connect Manila to other main cities in Central Luzon, and emphasized that there is no need for the stakeholders to justify the potentials of CIA and Clark Freeport Zone as a whole.


He said the idea of decongesting NAIA through the realization of twin airport system connecting NAIA to CIA is a good proposal that should be given utmost attention by Congress and the national leadership.

Aviation expert Captain Ben Solis cited that the “operation of the NAIA is already saturated since 2009 based on the studies conducted.”

Solis said NAIA was designed for small aircrafts five decades ago. “But now, the international airport caters also to planes weighing up to 400 tons,” he said.

“What if calamity like Yolanda strikes Manila and damages NAIA? It is like putting all our eggs in one basket and adding more as time passes. We are putting the economy of this country in danger,” he added.

Solis stressed that the decongestion of NAIA and transfer of international flights to CIA is the key and will make a huge impact on both international airports.

However, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Oscar Rodriguez mentioned the inconvenience of the proposed Clark flight transfers to those living south of Central Luzon especially Manila dwellers.

He disclosed that during a lunch meeting with business tycoon and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and Guiao, Pangilinan really wanted the high-speed railway project to push through.

Rodriguez added that the proposal will soon be taken to the national leadership to get initiative action.

“This is the time to unite and be heard as one voice. We should set aside crab-mentality and work on the realization of this,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the project will open more job opportunities and will someday make Central Luzon the number one region.

Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano also revealed in the summit that feasibility studies are being made by the French firm Aeroports De Paris commissioned by the Department of Transportation and Communications for the master plan and development of the budget terminal building.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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