The Department of Transportation and Communications said it was ready to present a proposal to build a budget carrier-only terminal at Pampanga province’s Clark International Airport to the National Economic Development Authority, a statement on Monday showed.
The DOTC said the new budget terminal would cost about P7.2 billion and would increase Clark airport’s current maximum capacity of four million passengers per year to about eight million, and then 16 million passengers.
The move was aimed at transforming the air gateway—which has struggled to draw major carriers because of its distance from Metro Manila —into a regional hub, the DOTC added.
Clark handles about 1.3 million passengers annually, Clark International Airport Corp. CEO Victor Luciano said in a previous interview.
Nevertheless, DOTC said it was ready to take the project forward as part of a broader goal to address congestion issues in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Philippines’s busiest air gateway, and a potential plan to develop an international airport in Sangley Point, Cavite.
DOTC said in its statement Monday that Aéroports de Paris (ADP)—which owns and operates the French capital’s airports and was commissioned to conduct a feasibility study for Clark—presented its concept design in June.
“CIAC is now scheduled to present this proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee in August,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said in the statement.
“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 [Clark International Airport] will indeed become the low-cost carrier hub of choice for the region,” the transportation chief remarked.
DOTC said Clark airport’s passenger terminal building (PTB) was expanded last May, providing new and modernized facilities and boosting annual passenger capacity to around four million from the previous 2.5 million.
The P417-million improvement project increased the PTB’s size from 11,439 square meters to 19,799 square meters, and increased its check-in counters from 13 to 34.
“We see Clark International Airport as a premier gateway alongside Naia and Sangley Point, 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. This is the direction we are taking for presentation to the President, for his consideration,” Abaya said.
In order to accommodate more passengers and ease queueing, 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 Clark airport to expand its operations by accommodating more international flights from Qatar Airways. Emirates, which started operations in October last year, temporarily halted the service in May citing poor volume and policies on the taxation of fuel.
Written by: Miguel R. Camus