Clark airport makeover into ‘aerotropolis’ in full swing

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The government is pouring investment into Clark International Airport (CRK) to develop it into an aerotropolis, or an airport city as part of a long-term plan to turn it into an international hub, alongside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila and Sangley Point in Cavite.

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The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the airport’s passenger terminal building (PTB) was expanded in May at a cost of P417 million to better serve the public and boost annual passenger capacity to about 4 million from the previous 2.5 million.

A new P7.2-billion low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal is also planned and the proposal will be presented to the National Economic Development Authority–Investment Coordination Committee in August, the DOTC said.

“We see Clark International Airport (CRK) as a premier gateway alongside NAIA and Sangley, especially in view of its rapid growth over the past few years, as well as government’s development plans for the entire economic zone and the rest of the region,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.

The new passenger wing increased the size of the passenger terminal building from 11,439 square meters to 19,799 square meters and nearly tripled its check-in counters from 13 to 34. In order to accommodate more passengers and ease queuing, 12 departure counters and five arrival counters have also been added.

The modernized portion of the terminal itself has eight entry points and three customs stations. This allows CRK to expand its airport operations by accommodating more international flights from Qatar Airways and Emirates.

CRK’s expanded operations began in May upon the completion of its Passenger Terminal Expansion Project (Phase II).

New LCC Terminal
For the airport’s longer-term development, the DOTC and Clark International Airport Corp (CIAC) earlier this year commissioned Aeroports de Paris (ADP)—which owns and operates the French capital’s airports—to prepare a master plan for the aerotropolis and a feasibility study for the construction of a new P7.2-billion LCC terminal to enhance the airport’s increasing popularity as a regional hub.

“ADP presented its concept design for a new LCC terminal to DOTC and CIAC officials last month, and CIAC is now scheduled to present this proposal to the [NEDA]–Investment Coordination Committee in August,” Abaya said.

“The proposed new budget terminal will boost CRK’s capacity further to between 8 and 16 million passengers per year. We are hoping for a smooth process in order for the project to be completed within 2016,” Abaya added.

“These exciting new developments signal even greater economic progress for Clark and the entire region in the coming years. We at the DOTC are encouraging its growth by equipping the airport with modern facilities to meet passenger demands today and in the future, and we hope that CRK will indeed become the low-cost carrier hub of choice for the region,” the transport chief said.

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