MANILA, Philippines – The Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) is set to present to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) its proposed P7.2-billion low-cost carrier terminal in the international airport in Pampanga.
CIAC will present the master plan and feasibility study for the terminal prepared by Aeroports de Paris of France in August, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Monday, July 21.
The proposed terminal will further boost the capacity of the Clark International Airport to between 8 million and 16 million passengers per year from the current 4 million.
“We are hoping for a smooth process in order for the project to be completed within 2016,” Abaya said.
A premier gateway in the making
The government is pouring investments into Clark International Airport’s development in a bid to make it an alternative international hub to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Sangley Point for decades to come, Abaya said.
“We see Clark International Airport 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. This is the direction we are taking for presentation to the President, for his consideration,” Abaya explained.
The P417 million ($9.62 million) improvement of the existing passenger terminal building at the Clark airport was completed in May, raising the annual passenger capacity to 4 million from 2.5 million.
The project increased the size of the building to 19,799 square meters from 11,439 sqm.
Likewise, the number of check-in counters was also increased to 34 from 13, with the addition of 12 departure counters and 5 arrival counters to accommodate more passengers and ease queuing.
The modernized portion of the terminal itself has 8 entry points and 3 customs stations allowing the international airport to accommodate more international flights from Qatar Airways and Emirates.
Sangley as ‘new’ NAIA
Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recommended Sangley Point in Cavite as the site for a new international airport that will operate under an integrated airspace with the same air traffic control tower as NAIA until 2025.
“JICA’s recommendation means that, in effect, the new Sangley airport will be NAIA’s third runway until greater expansion can be made in the long term,” Abaya previously said.
Upgrading Sangley’s existing airport may be done faster and at a lower cost since initial reclamation would be needed for only one to two runways, instead of 3 to 4, Abaya said.
“This will significantly bring down JICA’s initial ballpark estimate of $10 billion to build a 4-runway airport in Sangley,” Abaya added.
The decision on whether or not NAIA should be closed down eventually would be made later on, based on the evolution of this common-airspace strategy, Abaya said.
He added the options for 2025 and beyond would be to close NAIA once Sangley is expanded into a 4-runway airport, or to retain the dual-airport system and possibly develop Sangley into a two- to 3-runway airport.
The government remains open though to the proposal of San Miguel Corporation to build a $10 billion airport in the south as the DOTC has yet to finalize its overall airport strategy to be presented to President Aquino, Abaya clarified. – Rappler.com
($1 = P43.35)