CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – The completion of the new passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport is seen to help the country’s economy bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Saturday said the new passenger terminal building, once operational, will not only provide a modern air travel experience but will help the economy recover from the crisis and equip Northern and Central Luzon with transportation infrastructure for future development.
“Clark International Airport will clearly showcase the best of Northern and Central Luzon from the world-class service this new terminal will offer and to the thousands of job opportunities it will further open for many of our kababayans, it is no doubt that the Clark International Airport will cement its position as the next premier gateway of Asia. This will prove that the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build is not just a dream. It is real, it is true, and it is here,” Tugade said in his speech during the inspection of the newly-completed 110,000-square meter Clark International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Other officials who joined the inspection were Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer Vince Dizon, Luzon International Premiere Airport Development Corporation (LIPAD) chief executive officer Bi Yong Chungunco, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officials, and private sector partners.
The inspection included testing of check-in kiosks, bag drops, and other contactless features of the new terminal building.
Dizon said the modernization and expansion of Clark International Airport are needed more than ever as it will help the country “bounce back better” not just through the jobs it creates, but also through the supply chain it supports and the trade it facilitates.
Clark International Airport is expected to create 150,000 new jobs, equating to 0.4 percent of the total employed population in the Philippines.
Through production links, supporting industries such as tourism, food and beverage, services, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing are expected to benefit from the modernized and expanded Clark airport.
“Clearly, we will not reach eight million passengers right away, but we want to put the country in a strong position to respond to the demand for travel when it comes and to continue to contribute to the national and local economy through the jobs that we create and the supply chain that we support,” said Dizon, who also serves as Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects.
Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin, Jr. said the new passenger terminal will create more opportunities and further boost economic growth in North and Central Luzon.
“We commend this project for it will bring various jobs for our kababayans. Timely enough that it will also improve more traffic control at the Clark International Airport especially now that we are still in the face of a pandemic. Bigger terminal to accommodate more passengers yet ensuring their safety against Covid-19,” he said.
LIPAD, the operator and manager of the Clark International Airport, said the new terminal building was designed to be a space of safety, ease, and quiet, with peace of mind of travelers high in its priority, especially in this time of a global health crisis.
Chungunco said her group equipped the new terminal building with state-of-the-art technology and vital contactless solutions for smooth and safe operations.
“Intuitive and inclusive – this will be our mantra for the new Clark International Airport. LIPAD designed Clark International Airport to be the airport of choice for travelers flying in or out of the Philippines. Top priority is to fulfill the mission of giving passengers a world-class travel experience, through new technologies that support a seamless process and commercial offerings that constantly cater to passengers’ needs while still maintaining that signature Filipino, and of course, Pampango experience,” she said.
The new terminal building, which caters to domestic and international passengers, is located 1.5 kilometers from the existing Clark passenger terminal.
It has four-floor levels, 18 aerobridges, a floor area of 110,000 square meters, and has a design capacity of eight million passengers per year.
Chungunco said LIPAD will take all necessary steps to ensure that passengers, both inbound and outbound, go through strict safety measures.
“LIPAD remains flexible and adaptable to the needs of travel and assures the public that Clark International Airport is steadfast in prioritizing public health and is well-equipped for it,” she said.
LIPAD is composed of Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Philippine Airport Ground Support Services, Inc., and Changi Airports Philippines (I) Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Changi Airports International.
The Clark International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building is the first hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) project completed under the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration.
The construction of the structure was handled by a consortium of Megawide Construction Corporation and GMR Infrastructure Limited, while the fit-out, operations and maintenance were later auctioned off and awarded to LIPAD. (PNA)