CLARK, Pampanga – Arrivals of world leaders attending the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits at the Clark International Airport were “generally smooth”, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President and Chief Executive Officer Alexander Cauguiran said.
Cauguiran told reporters that there were no problems encountered in Clark airport during the arrival of 11 world leaders this weekend, despite some aircrafts carrying the ASEAN Summit visitors, landed the tarmac only a few minutes apart.
On Saturday afternoon, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi arrived at Clark airport.
Nine leaders landed at the Clark International Airport on Sunday including Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in the morning.
The tarmac went busy starting from the arrival of the aircraft carrying Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at 12:45 p.m., followed by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who arrived minutes past 1 p.m.
Lee has yet to disembark from the plane when the gray Royal New Zealand Air Force landed at the Clark International Airport. It was carrying the youngest New Zealand Prime Minister since 1856, Jacinda Ardern, who sworn into office last October 26.
Shortly, the CC-150 Polaris carrying Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at the airport. Trudeau was the only leader who arrived at the Clark International Airport and went out of his way to greet the crowd on the tarmac.
While the Canadian Prime Minister was preparing to disembark from the plane, an aircraft bearing Japan’s flag on its tail landed the airport. It was the support aircraft of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe arrived in the country via Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at around 1:35 p.m. Around 2:18 p.m., the Royal Thai Air Force aircraft carrying Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha landed.
The runway has rested from arriving world leaders for a few hours before the planes carrying Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc touched down the tarmac between 4 p.m. and 4:20 p.m.
“We stand ready to accommodate them if they want to fly back to their countries via Clark International Airport,” Cauguiran said in Filipino. He added that commercial flights taking off and land at Clark International Airport had normal operations.
“None of our commercial flights were canceled because of the arrival of leaders. We just give them (leaders) priority for the runway,” the CIAC chief said. – PNA