Clark International Airport – All You Need to Know in 2023
Clark International Airport, located in the heart of Central Luzon in the Philippines, has been experiencing steady growth in recent years. The newly updated airport is outpacing other airports in the region, giving locals and international tourists a more laid-back alternative to traveling through the busy and hectic capitol city of Manila.
The airport is increasingly becoming a popular alternative gateway for Central Luzon tourists and business travelers alike. It’s an attractive substitute for those looking to avoid the traffic and congestion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. International tourists will enjoy the ease of navigating, entering, and exiting Clark International Airport.
Make Clark Freeport Your Base of Operations
A bonus to landing or departing from Clark is all the things there are to do in the Freeport with the availability of fabulous resorts, hotels, theme parks, casinos, golf courses and Clark restaurants travelers can enjoy on arrival or prior to departure. You’ll want to plan an extended stay when you learn just how much fun and relaxation Clark is. Clark makes for a highly viable alternative for travelers and an incredible opportunity to use Clark as a base to your sightseeing, eco-tourism, family adventure or business operations. Who wouldn’t rather enjoy a theme park, play a round of golf, try your luck or dine at 5-start restaurants and buffets in a relaxed, green environment rather than struggling with the hectic big city of Manila. For international travelers wanting to tour Manila, the trip is only an hour and a half trip south. Clark is also well positioned for heading north to Baguio, only two and a half hours away, or adventures even more remote like the incredible Banaue Rice terrace at six and a half hours to the north. The convenient aspects of making Clark your base of operations makes a lot of since, especially when you consider the strategic location, and the avoidance of the traffic headaches and air quality issues in Manila.
History of Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
The history of the Clark Airport is no less fascinating than the entire Clark U.S Military complex history. The airport was originally built by the U.S. military in 1902 for the United States Cavalry as Fort Stotsenberg. As aircraft took to the skis and became a part of military operations, it was renamed Clark Airfield in 1919. Through the decades Clark became an important overseas asset for U.S. flight operations in southeast Asia.
Clark was later taken over and expanded by the Philippine government in the 1990s and into the 21st century for civilian use. The Clark International Airport first began doing commercial business on June 16, 1996, after the U.S. Military abandoned the facility in November 1991. This was only 5 months after the Mt Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 that devastated the base’s infrastructure, leaving it substantially unusable and in need of massive repairs.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003, renamed the Clark Airport to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA). This was done in honor of her father and the ninth President of the Philippines, Diosdado Macapagal.
She then ordered the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) in February 2007 to fund a $1.7 billion expansion of DMIA and its runways. To accommodate more than 2 million passengers yearly, the first stage of Clark Airport’s expansion program, a $130 million terminal extension, was finished in January 2008.
In 2011, CIAC was transferred from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and became an affiliated agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
In February 2012, the airport’s name was changed back to Clark International Airport, but the original passenger terminal was preserved with Macapagal’s name.
On February 28, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte reinstated CIAC as a Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) subsidiary while keeping the Department of Transportation in charge of oversight and operations.
Today, the airport’s new four-level artistically designed passenger terminal building replaces the original old terminal which was decommissioned. The unique design of the new terminal was inspired by and follows the mountainous contours of Pampanga Provinces Mount Arayat. As of this writing in 2023, the new terminal has a capacity of twelve million passengers annually and a total floor area of 110,000-square-meters or 1,200,000 square feet.
Future Growth of Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
Clark International Airport is expected to continue growing in the coming years, with plans to expand Terminal 2 and build a third terminal. In addition, the airport is set to become a major hub for international flights, with plans to increase its capacity to 80 million passengers per year by 2032. Even bigger plans are on the drawing board for eventual expansion of an 800-hectare master planned project collectively referred to as the Clark Aerotropolis. This relatively new term signifies business and growth centered around a major airport project as the hub and driving force of the economy. This ambitious project is in joint development under the LIPAD corporation which includes Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Inc., Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc. and Changi Airports Philippines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Changi Airports international. Changi has many decades of worldwide airport development experience starting in Singapore, developing international airports in China, India, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, CIS, Middle East, Africa, South America, and North America.
Technology at Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
Clark International Airport is a modern and convenient gateway to the Philippines, with state-of-the-art facilities, touch-less, automated check-in, boarding pass acquisition and baggage drop-off technology.
Car Rental, Buses, Taxies and Directions to Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
Clark International Airport is conveniently located near major highways and is accessible by taxi, car, or bus. The airport also offers shuttle services to and from select hotels in the area. Car rental companies Grab, Avis and Blue Taxi have facilities at Clark Airport for an easy transportation solution. Genesis Transport Service Inc. provides hourly point-to-point bus service from Clark Airport to Manila NAIA Airport and Trinoma/North EDSA areas at reasonable rates. Check Genesis’s website for updated schedules and prices. The Clarkton Hotel offers shuttle service to and from its facility and Clark Airport. Taxis are readily available most hours for ground transportation services.
Directions by car from Manila: Clark International Airport is approximately one and a half hours in good traffic conditions, and depending on what part of Manila you are traveling from can be considerably longer. Use the toll roads, generally, head north NLEX-E1/R-8 to Prince Balagtas Ave in Clark Freeport, Mabalacat. Take exit 91-Clark from N Luzon W Expy/SCTEx/Subic – Clark – Tarlac Expy/R-8. Use Google Maps on your phone/device for detailed instructions to navigate properly.
Directions by car from Northern Luzon Baguio: Clark International Airport is approximately two and a half hours to Baguio in good traffic conditions, and depending on what part of Baguio you are traveling from can be significantly longer. Use the toll roads, generally, head south on NLEX-R-8 to Prince Balagtas Ave in Clark Freeport, Mabalacat. Take exit 92 from N Luzon W Expy/R-8. Use Google Maps on your phone/device for detailed instructions to navigate properly.
Airlines Serving Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
As of this writing, Clark International Airport is currently served by several major airlines, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Asiana Airlines, AirAsia, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Cathay Dragon, Eva Air, AirSWIFT, JEJUAIR, JINAIR, Jetstar, Royalair, Philippines, Scoot, T’way Air, China Eastern, and Xiamenair. These airlines offer both domestic and international flights to destinations across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and beyond.
Services and Amenities at Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
In addition to the new, artistically styled modern terminal, Clark International Airport offers a wide range of facilities and services expected of a world-class airport of this caliber. These include duty-free shops, restaurants, cafes, lounges, ATMs, currency exchanges, and car rental services (see above). The airport also offers several added features to ensure passengers have a comfortable and hassle-free travel experience. These include mobile charging, Globe and Smart kiosks that sell Philippine SIM cards and information desks staffed by knowledgeable airport personnel. There are also facilities for passengers with special needs, including wheelchair assistance and accessible restrooms. Whether you’re in need of a quick snack or drink, a more substantial meal, or a comfortable place to relax before your flight, Clark International Airport has you covered. Read on about the Lounges, Duty Free stores, coffee shops and restaurants at the airport.
Lounges at Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
The travel lounges at Clark are both free and paid depending on your situation. These provide a more comfortable and quiet place to rest, eat, study, and even take a shower for travel weary tourists. Some of the lounges even offer alcoholic beverages. Check the specific lounge website for additional information on the lounge and to learn how to enter the lounge using only an economy class ticket.
OFW Lounge (Free) – Exclusively for Overseas Filipino Workers. The access to this lounge is free.
Plaza Premium Lounge (Paid) – Airside, 3rd Floor. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door • Lounge membership programs. You will even find showers at Plaza Premium Lounge.
Duty Free at Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
Duty-free shopping is available at the Clark airport, offering a range of products including electronics, perfumes, cosmetics, alcohol, and tobacco products. Passengers can take advantage of the tax-free prices on offer and stock up on gifts and souvenirs for their loved ones or themselves.
Passengers in the arrival area may take advantage of duty-free shopping privileges at Duty Free Philippines’ 46 sq m store. Also known as DTP, the shop offers a considerable mix of confectionery, liquors/wines & spirits, cigarettes and fragrances from familiar brand names.
Duty Free Philippines also has a 30 sq m outlet at the Pre-Departure area of the airport. Passengers can make purchases prior to their departure from a selection of confectionery, liquors, cigarettes, fashion, fragrances, and beauty products such as hair dryers, curling irons, clippers, and electric shavers from renowned brands. Customs regulations apply.
Restaurants at Clark International Airport in Pampanga Philippines
For those in need of a bite to eat, the Clark Airport has a variety of dining options available. Coffee shops and restaurant facilities offer a range of light snacks, pastries, and coffee drinks along with more robust menu options at full-featured restaurants. In the Clark Air Mall area of the old terminal area, you’ll find Mister Donut, Flying Bowl Pizza & Burger, Wendy’s Hamburgers, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and Gerry’s Grill. At the new terminal complex you’ll find Tom N Tom’s Coffee with some great espressos, lates, salads, sandwiches, desserts and other delights. Also in the new terminal is the TGM Root98 full-menu restaurant featuring soups, sandwiches, garden salads, Greek salads, Caesar salads, Japanese, Korean and other Asian food, There are also bars and lounges available for those looking to relax with a drink before their flight in the new terminal, specifically, Barcino Wine and Resto Bar along with the DFW Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge for those with rest lounge access.
This webpage is provided solely for informational purposes to help you plan your trip and learn something about the history of the airport. Rates and hours, as well as any other information, are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Based on data gathered and/or acquired from airports, lounges, hotels, transit companies, and their websites, the information in this airport guide is not guaranteed to be accurate. We are not authorized to speak on behalf of any of the service providers listed above. To report any mistakes or to add or amend any of the information in the guide send us a message at this link.