BAGUIO CITY – AirAsia officials expressed their gratitude to the government for granting the company the needed concessions that allowed it to go back to Clark International Airport starting next year and to use it as its base pursuant to the present administration’s bid to decongest Metro Manila and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Capt. Dexter Comendador said that Transportation and Railways Secretary Art Tugade is really supportive in expanding the airport operations to Clark as he set the example by setting up his office in the area, aside from pursuing the inter-connection of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) which is one of the priority projects of the administration.
“We suggested various impact interventions that should be done by government to help convince airline companies to expand their operations in Clark and we are happy that all our proposals are being implemented or about to be implemented by concerned government agencies. On our part, we have to reciprocate the positive actions of government by fulfilling our commitment to them to expand in Clark starting next year,” Comendador stressed.
He said that he will no longer wait for the proposed rail project from Manila to Clark to be implemented because he knows that the government is sincere in its commitment to pursue the ambitious project to help decongest the already-overcrowded Metropolis and bring development to the outskirts where there will be greater opportunities of spurring economic growth and bringing the tourists closer to their desired destinations up north.
The AirAsia executive also disclosed that government granted the company its proposal for free landing, navigation, and parking fees, among other fees being collected for aviation purposes for a certain period of time because the discounts that they were able to get are passed on to the passengers in terms of much cheaper rates that will attract domestic tourists to fly to the country’s destinations and contribute to the increase in their passengers for international flights in the coming months.
According to him, the current problem of low cost carriers is the number of passengers who fly out from their base operations because the number of tourists that fly in, especially from their foreign destinations, are already guaranteed due to the country’s aggressive tourism promotions and availability of cheaper flights for them to be able to visit scenic tourist spots around the country.
Comendador explained one of the concessions that they have requested is for the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to abolish the P1,620 terminal fee being collected from outgoing passengers as it will really help spur movements around the country once the said fee will be removed.
Based on a study that AirAsia conducted regarding the collection of the terminal fee from passengers, the government stands to lose at least P4 billion in directed income in the next 5 years but stands to earn at least P200 billion in direct and indirect income once there will be double or triple increase in the frequency of people moving around using the airports.
He is optimistic that TIEZA will grant the proposed abolition of the terminal fee because the agency officials were appraised on the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining the collection of the said fee in all airports around the country. By HENT