Clark Subic News Section
Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines, May 25, 2008 – It looks like times are a changing and air traffic will be flowing for DMIA with the recent decision to designate Clark as the Philippines port of entry as part of the new ASEAN Open Skies Agreement to be signed and formulated later this year.
ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It was established in 1967 in Bangkok by the original member countries consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. At later dates, Brunei Darussalam, Lao, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) joined. Some stated purposes of the ASEAN group are to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the Asia region; the new Open Skis policy fits nicely with these goals.
Announced in a joint press meeting by the Philippines Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and CIAC President Victor Luciano, the news of Clark Airport’s designation as the official entry point of this new Open Skies policy further reinforces the alignment of the government in establishing DMIA as the premier gateway for all the Philippines.
In the press meeting, Mendoza, also the elected chairman of the ASEAN Transport Ministerial Meeting committee said all of the ASEAN countries would be declared “Open Skies.” He went on to say that DMIA, not NAIA will be declared the official port of entry of the Philippines in the ASEAN meeting scheduled for December.” Philippines President Arroyo gave Mendoza the approval for this decision and to proceed with complete authority toward making DMIA the premier gateway of the Philippines.
“Open Skies” simply means that all carriers of the compact nations would be allowed to fly over another member country without landing or be allowed to actually make a stop in one of the member countries for maintenance, restocking-food and supplies or refueling without requiring the airline to pickup, drop-off or transfer passengers or cargo.
Unlimited flights between cooperating country capital cities can begin by December 2008, and possibly by 2015, the Philippines may be able to be part of a single aviation market similar to the European Union’s market,
Japan, China, South Korea, and even India have expressed a desire to join the ASEAN group in being considered for the proposal. This could spur tremendous growth within the airline industry throughout the entire region,
With NAIA in Manila at full-capacity, it seemed inevitable that the Clark International airport with its two parallel runways 3.2 kilometers long, would win-out the designation as the entry point airport for Open Skies. NAIA has a single, non-expandable runway with a maximum capacity of only 13 million flights per year.
Mendoza said: “We cannot expand the capacity in NAIA, we have no other choice but to transfer to Clark. There is no other alternative.”
Given the new Open Skies Policy Entry Point designation for Clark, the signing of the Civil Aviation Complex at Clark in April, 2008, detailing the eventual build-out by Singapore Engineering Airline Company (SEAC) of a $100 million Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and Kuwait Gulf and Links (KGL) plans for a $25 million Global Gateway Logistics Park, the future for Clark seems only limited by the restrictions of our collective aspirations.