“We are happy with the outcome of the air talks. This is good news for the overseas Filipino workers in Malaysia as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport [DMIA] was granted the equivalent of seven additional flights per day,” said Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) CEO Victor Jose Luciano.
He added that passenger use of the DMIA is expected to grow next year with the entry of more international and local flights that will contribute to the development of the Clark airport.
Under the agreement, Clark also gets a minimum of 700 tons per week of cargo. In contrast, Manila gets 250 tons of cargo per week from points in Malaysia, while other points in the Philippines, except for Clark and Manila, have been given 450 tons per week.
The agreement also granted 2,300 seat entitlements to Manila from any point in Malaysia, except for Kuala Lumpur, and 2,000 seat entitlements to any point in Malaysia, except for Manila and Clark.
The agreement was signed by the air panels at the Mimosa Leisure Estate. The last memorandum of understanding between the countries was signed in 1995.
Transportation Undersecretary Doroteo Reyes II, chairman of the Philippine panel, said the negotiations were very smooth since both panels “were able to concur at a common point from which our civil aviation will really develop and grow.”
Reyes said the Philippine focus in the air negotiations is for Clark to be developed as the next premier international airport as envisioned by President Arroyo. “We can no longer accommodate more flights in Manila as it has reached its capacity and we must consider the safety and security of our passengers. Clark is the next premier international gateway of the Philippines.”
Luciano commended the Philippine Air Panel, chaired by Reyes, for successfully securing entitlements for Clark at the two-day bilateral air talks. Luciano, along with CIAC executive vice president and chief operating officer Alexander Cauguiran, are members of the RP air panel.
Malaysian Ministry of Transport deputy secretary-general for planning Dato Long See Wool headed the Malaysian panel, assisted by Assistant Secretary for Air Transport Rosida Ismail, Hanniza Borhan and En Mustaffa Kamal of Malaysian Airlines, Senthil Balan Danapalan of Air Asia X, Transmile Airline business planning head Patricia Oh Yin Bee and Embassy Second Secretary Intan Zurina Dollah.
Budget carrier Air Asia is the only Malaysian airline that operates at the DMIA at present with two international flights daily to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
The DMIA also hosts air carriers Tiger Airways of Singapore, Asiana Airlines of Korea, and local carriers Southeast Asian Airlines (Seair) and Cebu Pacific Air.
Cebu Pacific will start four new flights from Clark on November 8 so that it would then be flying daily to Singapore and Hong Kong, and four times a week to Macau and Bangkok.
Local carriers Seair, Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit) and Air Philippines are scheduled to start international flights at the airport before the year-end.