CLARK FREEPORT -- The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) on Monday, July 13, 2020, said it will build a new Airport Control Tower and upgrade the airfield's ground lighting system at the emerging airport complex within the year.

"The new airport tower will be the tallest in the country, 18-stories in height or around 54 meters, much higher than the existing one built by the Americans when Clark was still a US military base," CIAC President Aaron Aquino said.

The control tower at Mactan-Cebu International Airport is at 30 meters high while the tower at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is measured at about 40 meters.

The CIAC chief added the government-run corporation has initiated the bidding process for the "design and build" project expected to commence with construction in the next few months.

The new Air Traffic Control Tower will amount to P375 million while the upgrading of the Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) System costs P500 million, both in conformity with the Master Plan of the Clark International Airport.

"The projects are expected to improve Clark's air traffic control system even as a new terminal building, with an annual capacity of eight million passengers, is slated to become fully functional by January 2021," Aquino said.

The projects are two major components of CIAC’s airport infrastructure expansion program whose funding was approved via the General Appropriations Act of 2020 under the account of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the CIAC's parent company.

While Clark airport is operated and maintained by a private company called Lipad Corp., CIAC has refocused its operations to further develop the 2,367-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex for commercial use in the next two to three years.