Duterte eyes Clark airport as hub for domestic flights

MANILA — To decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to study an idea to make the Clark International Airport as hub for domestic flights.

President Duterte broached the idea during the first official Cabinet meeting held after his inauguration as the country’s 16th President at the Malacanang Palace.

”This is just a native idea. We will make road access to Pampanga airport so that we can transfer the domestic flights,” Duterte said.

President Duterte said the Clark international airport will be used for the meantime for domestic flights while construction of the new airport near NAIA is being studied by the government.

”I don’t know if we have the money to build airport in Sangley (in Cavite). If investors will come in, then go but for the meantime, we have to remedy the overcrowded sky of NAIA,” he said.

The President said he personally experienced the air traffic congestion at the NAIA when the plane he is boarding has almost ran out of fuel while waiting for its turn to land at the busy NAIA runway.

”We have been turning around and we are in danger of running out of fuel. I think it’s only good for 17 minutes. Mabuti na lang pina-landing kami. I don’t want special treatment,” Duterte said.

”I want this stopped. We should not be treated different from the other suffering Filipino passengers,” he added.

The President directed Tugade to advise the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) not to give him special treatment.

”We should treat ourselves just like any other Filipino travelling,” he said.

Duterte said he intends to take ordinary commercial flights “but not now because everybody is offering for the use of their airplanes.”

”Akala siguro nila bibili ako. Kasi sabi ko ‘yung lahat ng [planes] I am turning it over to the military pati ‘yung mga assets ng Pangulo. Gawin na natin ospital ‘yan. Put it to good use rather than allow it to rust to death,” Duterte said. Jelly Musico/ PNA/ northboundasia.com