Lucio Tan at Clark

A wise move indeed.

Macroasia, an aviation industry service firm owned by Lucio Tan and therefore a sister-company of PAL, is investing $100 million at Clark.

Clark is where the country first experimented the “open skies” regime to lure more foreign air carriers to the country. The policy is being opposed by PAL and its backers in the Save our Skies coalition. SOS raises the bogey that the entry of more foreign airlines would kill local air carriers.

Unfortunately for SOS, since the open skies was adopted in Clark, local air carriers such as PAL and Cebu Pacific are posting record passengers and profits. PAL for instance reported another record of 5 percent growth last month compared to last year in spite of the recent airport downgrade by the US Federal Aviation Authority. Local airlines continue to prosper instead of folding up as feared by SOS.

This shows clearly that the “open skies” perked up travel rather than kill the local airline companies.

Now, no less than Lucio Tan’s Macroasia is cashing in on the brisk aviation business at Clark to provide such services as aircraft maintenance, catering, ground handling, cargo, etc. to PAL and other carriers.

That is the way to go in this era of a liberalized air industry. Local companies must diversify and be creative instead of relying on government protection.

(6:55 a.m.)

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