CLARK International Airport Corp. (CIAC) is optimistic that newly rebranded Tiger Airways Philippines can bring more cargo to the Northern Luzon hub, two hours from the Philippine capital Manila, as the airline targets better sales and cargo volume.
“Well, one is the fact that Tiger Air now is making available cargo space for Clark and will attract people from Central and Northern Luzon to be shipping their cargo in Clark instead of going to Manila,” CIAC president and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano told PortCalls on the sidelines of the launch of Tiger Air’s new logo last Wednesday at the Clark International Airport (CIA).
He said companies around the hub have been waiting for more cargo space on airlines.
“In Clark, there are 600 companies and many of them ship cargoes like electronics by air,” Luciano said.
He also said many companies that surround CIAC such as Phoenix Gold Energy Inc., Nanox Philippines Inc. and SMK Electronic (Philippines) Corp. ship their products to Manila because more cargo space is available there.
“If you are a manufacturer, upon production, you want to ship immediately. But if flights do not come on a regular basis, you have to look for other carriers with regular flights. You’d rather spend more money going to Manila,” Luciano said. But he added that with the introduction of Tiger Air, which offers cargo services on a regular basis, “things will change”.
Tiger Air said the company expects its air cargo business to contribute about 7% of the P5 billion forecast sales for this year. The airline said it will acquire, through jet leasing, at least three to four aircraft a year in the next three to five years to make a fleet of 25.
Tiger has signed an agreement with ECS Group of Singapore designating its local partner, RAF International Forwarding (Philippines), as its new general sales and services agent starting on July 1.
Meanwhile, Luciano said that with Dubai-based Emirates opening daily flights to Clark from October 1 and flag-carrier Qatar Airways starting its service on October 28, cargo volume at the Clark airport should build up.
He also said a dual-airport system “is very feasible” especially for a huge country like the Philippines with 50 million of the population in Luzon alone.
He said if 27 million of the 50 million go to Manila and 23 million to Clark, “you decongest Manila and you allow for growth on both.”
Luciano said the hub is eyeing 10,000 tons of cargo for 2013.
Last year, aircraft movement at Clark increased to 12,812 from 7,579 in 2011. International flights accounted for 9,313 of the total movement and domestic flights registered 3,501. – Text and photos by Roumina Pablo