CLARK AIRPORT FIRM FINALLY REVIVED; REGULAR FLIGHTS SLATED

CLARK FIELD, PAMPANGA, August 25, 2003 (STAR) By Ding Cervantes  - The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) has finally been revived with 80 percent of it owned by the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and the rest by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

This developed as the CDC announced the first-ever regular international flights at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here by Asiana Airlines to the US West Coast, Europe and Asian countries starting this September.

Asianaís international flights from Clark are expected to boost the full development of the DMIA as a premiere international airport.

During the launch of the Asiana flights, CDC executive vice president Jose Victor Luciano said the CDC and the MIAA recently signed an agreement resurrecting the state-run CIAC, which was abolished and absorbed by the CDC early on in the Arroyo administration.

A few weeks ago, President Arroyo issued an executive order reviving the CIAC to run the DMIA, which covers some 2,400 hectares of the 4,500-hectare Clark special economic zone.

"Itís going to be a joint venture with the CDC owning 80 percent of the CIAC and the MIAA 20 percent. Its operations would be bigger and more harmonized with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)," Luciano said.

Tarlac and Angeles City officials earlier passed resolutions blocking moves to remove the DMIA from CDCís jurisdiction which they said could hamper its full development into a premiere international airport.

They recalled that in 1994, then President Fidel Ramos issued an executive order declaring Clark the "future site of the countryís premiere international airport."

Local officials also objected to reported plans of the MIAA to transfer all general aviation operations at the NAIA to the DMIA, saying this would also stall the Clark airportís full development.

Luciano, however, said the operations of international airports in other countries, notably in Europe, have become integrated.

Infrastructure projects such as the modern railway and the upgrading of the North Luzon Expressway would boost the integration of the DMIA and the MIAA, he said.

Starting this September, Asiana Airlines will fly from Clark to Saipan, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Sydney, 14 cities in Japan, 12 destinations in China, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York in the United States, and London and Frankfurt in Europe. All flights will stop over in Incheon, South Korea.

Luciano said some eight million Filipinos overseas, 60 percent of whom hail from Central and Northern Luzon, will benefit from these flights.

"Itís also now the task of Asiana to bring Korean tourists to Clark," he said, noting that Koreans have outnumbered the Taiwanese as the top inbound tourist market. In Pampanga, there are 2,000 Korean investors and students.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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