New Clark Terminal

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By Noel G. Tulabut

My Palm Notes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


THERE is a pressing need for it.

A new, bigger and better passenger terminal at Clark International Airport must be erected.

The current terminal has become so cramped both for departing and arriving passengers. It is not because of lack of foresight on the part of government planners, but rather, it is because of a huge upsurge in airline traffic.

Needless to say too that the growth is due to business decisions being made by more and more airline executives that come to Clark. Needless to state here, hence, is the fact that the DMIA has become so viable to ignore.

The latest addition in Emirates, which will start by October its Clark-Dubai-Clark flights, is another testament to Clark's viability.

I can foresee a busier airport when Emirates commences its flights, which will have onward connections to other parts of Middle East, Europe and even to the US.

I can only liken this venture to the bold moves made by Asiana in 2004 when it started its Incheon-Clark-Incheon flights. This particular business decision made by Asiana executives has become so beneficial not only to the airlines itself but also to passengers, especially to those with onward connections to the US.

I need not mention here how Fil-Ams and other nationals conveniently make use of this route in going to many parts of Continental US. I should know as I have taken many flights to Los Angeles and New York in the last few years.

Good thing that the Clark International Airport Corp is preparing the construction of the P360-million terminal expansion.

--oo0oo--

DMIA has steadily become an airport of choice for millions of travelers in the past 10 years or so.

The arrival of more and more passengers could be attributed to the efforts of CIAC President Chichos Luciano who himself was a former airline executive.

He just knows all too well how to sell Clark to his colleagues in the airline industry. Not only in the Southeast Asian region but elsewhere.

I could remember that prior to Asiana flights, the 2,500-hectare aviation complex was filled with literal birds, with only fixed with and rotor-powered aircraft of the Philippine Air Force dotting Clark skies.

The result? It's just not the influx of airlines and passengers but revving up the economy of Clark and its environs. With Clark's viability tremendously and unstoppably rising in recent years, that had brought more jobs and livelihood for one too many more families.

Former President Arroyo's decision to appoint Luciano in Clark proved to be a sound one. It is even a lot better for the Aquino Administration now is for our Cabalen from Magalang to stick around and run the Clark airport with utmost professionalism. Good leaders and good men just know no bounds and administrations. They are made to stay and serve regardless who is in Malacanang.

Even newly-elected Third District Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, (PNoy's most trusted man in Pampanga) has only kind remarks for Luciano, thus, recommending him to continue his leadership in Clark.

--oo0oo--

The proposed expanded terminal will have one aerobridge will be replaced with two-finger tube that will accommodate two aircraft at the same time.

The existing terminal can only accommodate two million passengers annually, while the new passenger terminal expansion will further boosts its capacity to four to five million passengers annually.

The expansion project would be rushed in time for Emirates' flights by October 2013.

Clark Airport posted 1.3 million passengers in 2012 making it as one of the fastest growing airport in the country today.

CIAC is also proposing the Budget Passenger Terminal to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) estimated to cost around P12 billion. The new terminal will serve at least 10 million passengers annually similar to the Kuala Lumpur Budget Passenger Terminal in Malaysia.

Clark airport also plays host to various budget and legacy air carriers operating out of Clark. Among them are Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia, Air Asia Philippines, PAL Express, Seair-Tiger, Cebu Pacific Air, Jin Air, Asiana Airlines and Dragonair.

--oo0oo--

There's a new VIP lounge on the second floor of the passenger terminal. It's convenient, comfortable and the ticket price is reasonable.

Once at the lounge, one can relax on comfy couch, take a sip of coffee or be refreshed with juices. Of course, the food is great with choices of sandwiches, noodles, fruits, cereals and more. The lounge also has a smoking section.

This is the same lounge where US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas was hosted en route to his recent trip to Bangkok not too long ago.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 15, 2013.

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