STATEMENT OF SENATOR RICHARD J. GORDON ON NAIA EMERGENCY RUNWAY CLOSURE

“Yesterday, another nightmarish situation occurred for all airlines serving the NAIA. The CAAP issued a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) announcing the closure of the main runway. Emergency repairs had to be done on a critical portion of the runway so it had to be closed to air traffic. Recently, several flights had to be diverted to Clark due to poor visibility on account of bad weather. This time the runway had to be completely closed which meant diverting flights to Clark.

Clark airport in its present state, is not ready to handle such a big volume of traffic. Unfortunately, its ground handling facilities are inadequate and its passenger terminal building itself is not designed to handle the number of flights that had to be diverted today. Consider the heavy volume of air traffic that has grown through the years operating in and out of NAIA but so little has been done to fully develop alternate airports like Subic and Clark. The government needs to act quickly to restore Subic airport into a fully functioning international grade airport and to upgrade Clark airport.

Diverting flights from NAIA will become necessary from time to time and thus it becomes imperative to make full use of alternate airports. Both Clark and Subic airports can serve as main alternate airports and should in fact be used as fully functional airports. Imagine the great damage any runway closure does not only to our reputation to operate an international airport but also to the airline business itself, not to mention the severe inconveniences forced upon air passengers. Tourism is the first to suffer. Business is hurt. Subic airport unfortunately, has been practically “cannibalized” and cannot under its present state be used as a fully functioning airport. Clark needs to be upgraded and its ground handling capability enhanced. Upon the other hand, Subic airport must be rehabilitated to its former status when it used to handle FEDEX flights and regular air traffic.”

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