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Clark readied as int’l hub alongside NAIA, Sangley Point

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – The Clark International Airport (CIA) is being prepared as an international hub to complement the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Sangley Point in Cavite, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said yesterday.

As part of the government’s long-term “airport strategy,” the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) are pouring investments into the Clark airfield development.

NAIA general manager Angel Honrado separately told a forum that they are planning to set up a complementary runway at Sangley.

He said the two new runways would be constructed in 2,000 hectares of reclaimed area.

Honrado said runways in Sangley are being considered due to its proximity to Manila and in compliance with the international standard of 45 minutes travel to the capital.

“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 told a forum here yesterday.

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“The airport’s passenger terminal building was expanded last May, providing new and modernized facilities to better serve the public and boosting annual passenger capacity to around 4 million from the previous 2.5 million,” he said.

The P417-million improvement project increased the size of the passenger terminal from 11,439 square meters to 19,799 square meters, and increased 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 CIA to expand its airport operations by accommodating more international flights from Qatar Airways and Emirates, Abaya said.

Clark airport’s expanded operations began last May after the completion of its Passenger Terminal Expansion Project (Phase II).

For the airport’s longer-term development, Abaya said the DOTC and CIAC earlier this year commissioned Aeroports de Paris (ADP) – which owns and operates the French capital’s airports – to prepare a master plan and feasibility study for the construction of a new P7.2-billion low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal to enhance the airport’s increasing popularity as a regional hub. – With Perseus Echeminada

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