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Solon stresses need for another airport outside Metro Manila

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Naia Dano

House Committee on Transportation chairman Cesar Sarmiento on Sunday stressed the need for an airport outside Metro Manila to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and ease the traffic flow going to and from there.

Sarmiento made the remark following the Xiamen plane mishap before midnight on Thursday that caused the temporary closure of the NAIA runway and inconvenienced airline passengers.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Sarmiento said there have been proposals disclosed in their committee meetings to increase the capacity of NAIA.

But even if NAIA's capacity is increased, Sarmiento believes the same problems will be encountered, this time in terms of traffic flow.

"So ang pinaka-practical na idea diyan is to move out. Create another airport para it would bring convenience and comfort and avoid traffic in Metro Manila," he said.

Sarmiento noted that in other countries like South Korea and Japan, airports are located at least an hour away from the main city.

"['Yung mga] airport sa ibang bansa ay napakalayo sa sentro. Halimbawa 'yung Incheon and even sa Japan, it will take you one hour, one and a half hours going to the city. Unlike in our place ay talagang nasa sentro ng siyudad," he said.

The existing Clark International Airport in Pampanga is already being considered as the "complementary" airport for NAIA, Sarmiento said.

"Existing na 'yan," he said of the Clark International Airport. "Sabi nila, single runway 'yan but napakalaki ng lugar and we can develop that and accommodate 'yung lumalaking capacity ng NAIA."

"Ang gagawin diyan ay twin airport na pwedeng i-complement, na hindi masyadong masikip ang NAIA. 'Yung iba naman ay doon na sa Clark," he added.

Sarmiento said passengers whose destinations are covered by the "north catchment"—areas from Bulacan and up to north Luzon—can be serviced by the Clark International Airport.

Meanwhile, those going to areas belonging to the "south catchment," meaning from Quezon City in Metro Manila to Bicol, can use the NAIA.

Sarmiento also stressed the need to conduct an investigation to look into the circumstances that led to the Xiamen plane incident and its effects to the passengers.

"Dapat magkakaroon ng imbestigasyon kung bakit nangyari 'yun but we have to look forward," he said.

"It's really an eye opener for airport authorities na sana ay hindi na mangyari ito dahil malaking abala at aberya ang ibinigay nito sa ating mga kababayan," he added.

The Xiamen plane, which was carrying Xiamen Air Flight MF8667, skidded off the runway of the NAIA before Thursday midnight due to the rains.

The plane was lifted from the runway around 2 a.m. on Saturday and transferred to the remote parking bay of Balabag Aviation Complex.

The NAIA runway was reopened shortly before noon on Saturday, almost 36 hours after the incident.

Around 150 flights have been canceled due the incident, while others were diverted to the Clark International Airport.



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Bullet train connecting NAIA to Clark with China to pay for it..problem solved..

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well they should have a new one 10 years ago

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