Clark International Airport
Rising from the leftover infrastructure of a United States Airforce base—abandoned due to a volcanic eruption—the Clark International Airport (CIA) is fast becoming a premier and preferred transportation hub—and even more! Serving both domestic and international flights, this central Luzon facility has grown and continues to expand exponentially, right alongside the entire Clark Economic Zone and expanded region.
New Terminal 2
The construction of the new Terminal 2 improves the airport’s passenger capacity from only 4.2 million to 12 million passengers per year. This new expansive and modern terminal will add 82,600 square meters of additional space and will usher in a new era of transportation for the Clark Freeport Zone and the province of Pampanga.
While the completion of the terminal has been delayed due to Covid-19, the terminal 2 structure has been completed in October 2020, ahead of schedule. With interior designs finishes and furnishings still being completed leading up to the grand opening. The Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corp (LIPAD) said it has chosen international firm Populous as the lead interior designer for the new terminal building. The new terminal is set to do dry runs of domestic flights by the second quarter of 2021. Shortly after, the full operation and the addition of international flights are expected by the third quarter of 2021.
The new terminal will greatly help reduce the congestion at the Manila’s airport, 90 kilometers south of Clark, and traffic within the city itself should see some improvements. Back in 2007, when the consideration of Terminal 2 was first proposed, passenger capacity for Clark International Airport (CIA) was only 2-million passengers a year. Growth of the Clark International Airport is a governmental strategic plan of many years of planning and spanning several administrations.
Operation and management of the airport is on the shoulders of the Luzon International Premier Airport Development (LIPAD) Corporation. This corporation is a consortium of Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings, Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd and the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions (PAGSS) Inc.
Past Terminal Growth
The original terminal was expanded to accommodate 1 million passengers annually in 2008 under the Arroyo Administration. This expansion helped to facilitate the growth in passenger volume fueled by increased foreign and local budget carriers utilizing the airport.
Phase I expansion started in 2010 that included a second story to the original terminal and included the addition of arrival and departure lounges and two aerobridges. This desperately needed expansion at the time boosted Clark International Airport’s capacity to 2.5 million passengers annually.
Phase II expansion in 2013 increased the capacity of the passenger terminal from 2.5 million to 4.2 million passengers per year. The size of the passenger terminal building went from 11,439 square meters to 19,799 square meters. The Phase II expansion added a significant number of additions including 21 new check-in counters, increasing the total number of counters from 13 to 34. In addition to the check-in counters, 5 arrival and 12 departures counters were included in the new terminal. The expanded terminal currently has three customs stations with a total of eight entry points. This more up-to-date terminal began operations in May of 2013.
Runways at Clark International
Clark Airport previously maintained two 3,200-meter runways that ran parallel with each other. Since the runways are closely spaced, the secondary runway (02L/20R) was closed. The primary runway (Runway 02R/20L) holds a Category 1 rating for precision approach and maintains the 3,200-meter length with a width of 60 meters. It has numerous new advanced navigational aids and lighting facilities.
Past Navigational and Radar Equipment Growth
Back in 2007, a decision to invest over 9 million dollars was made for a Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) system that help to cement the future of air travel at Clark. Radar of this caliber can track aircraft in a radius pattern from 60 to 220 nautical miles out. With this system in place, the equipment elevated Clark International Airport (CIA) to a class on-par with other major airports in Asia and the rest of the world. The system added significant safety advantages, sped-up arrivals and departures and generally ensured a greater level of airline pilot confidence. This advanced Radar system opened the door to additional worldwide air-carriers stepping-in to establish service at Clark Airport.
In addition to the TRACON system, state-of-the-art electronic communication, radar, navigation, approach-lighting, and fire/safety systems have been implemented at the Clark Airport. Facilities such as, Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), Doppler Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range Radar, VHF/UHF Transmitters, MET Garden Communications, modern meteorological Equipment, Precision Approach Path Indicator Airfield Ground Lighting System and advanced, Category 9 Crash, Fire and Rescue Equipment enhanced by annual safety practice scenarios practiced.
Building a Historic and Modern International Airport
The 2,500-hectare Clark International Airport is well on its way to becoming the Philippine’s premier airport. Leaders in the civil aviation industry recognize many contributing factors and are willing to make available millions of dollars on facilities to keep pace with growth and worldwide airport standards. New Clark City, Clark Global City, Philippine National Clark Railway, and the development of a master planned Aerotropolis at Clark International Airport, are all signs of a historic, groundswell approaching. These are groundbreaking growth projects that will eventually lead to a world-class and futuristic transportation hub unrivaled in all Southeast Asia.
Descriptions of the projects mentioned in the paragraph above:
New Clark City (NCC) – A master planned, technologically-advanced, modern, disaster resilient city being developed in the northern expansion area of the Clark Special Economic Zone. NCC is in the towns of Capas and Bamban of the province of Tarlac. will encompass 9,450 hectares and be home to 1.2 million people. New Clark City, formerly dubbed Clark Green City had its groundbreaking in 2016. It has since witnessed the completion of a world-class sports complex where the 2019 Southeast Asian Games were held. The National Government Administrative Center is in the NCC with plans for many governmental offices soon. BCDA and the Department of Agriculture are planning an Agro-Industrial Hub in NCC as a support facility for farming communities, and to help strengthen food security on the Island of Luzon. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the government is looking at building the Philippines a premier research institute of virology in the year 2021.
Clark Global City (CGC) – A master-planned professional, medical, business district with over 7 million square meters of planned floor space close to the runways of CIA and the major roadways of NLEX and SCTEX. Forty-seven hectares of the 177 hectares of CGC has been development as of this writing in January 2012. The entire business development masterplan encompassing the remaining land area is due to be completed by the year 2030
Philippine National Clark Railway (NSCR) – North South Commuter Railway– This project encompasses a superspeed and advanced railway link from Clark International Airport to Manila. The link between Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan started in 2019 and is due to go operational in 2022 as the designated 38-kilometer, North Phase 1 portion of the project. The next step is the North Phase 2 running from Melolos to the Clark International Airport. When these links are completed, the railway will have the Philippines first airport express train service, which is supposed to reduce travel time between Clark Airport to Makati City from more than two hours by car, to under one hour by the railway system. The NSCR will eventually stretch all the way south to Laguna in the southern phase projected for completion several years later. The NSCR Railway will eventually connect three Luzon regions, have 37 stations, and run through 26 local government units.
Aerotropolis – The definition of this rather unusual word is: “a comprehensively developed area where the economy is entirely centered on an airport.” Part of LIPAD’s 25-year governmental contract/agreement includes a provision for the company to development and management 800 hectares of project land surrounding and adjacent to the Clark Airfield. LIPAD envisions transforming this ambitious project into a premier mixed-use destination North of Manila. The vision and plans are to develop a fully integrated facility to include transportation and logistics, general aviation, tourism, work, lifestyle, and leisure, with the Clark International Airport at the center of this full-scale development. Development of the project is planned to start once the master plan has been approved by government agencies sometime in 2021.
Clark Pampanga Growth on Track with an International Airport at its Center
The Clark Freeport Zone has witnessed phenomenal growth over the last 10 to 15 years. World class resorts, high-rise condominium towers, championship golf courses, 5-star hotels, fine-dining restaurants and major theme and amusement parks have risen in Clark over this period. The surrounding projects discussed above are significantly in construction as of January 2021. These include the building of a mega sports complex and government offices in NCC and large hospital/medical and logistics facilities completed in CGC. These are testaments to the advancing and exponential forward momentum of the region. These facilities are designed and built to international standards with world-class, quality infrastructure.
The Clark region, anchored in the Clark International Airport, is set to become one of the most significant new economic, entertainment, vacation, and transportation hubs in all Southeast Asia. The Philippines is on a path to become the world’s 16th largest economy by the year 2050. The infrastructure builds in Central Luzon’s Pampanga and Tarlac’s provinces moves the Philippines in the direction of growth witnessed in China and rest of the modern world. Clark International Airport is the crown jewel allowing for connection with the rest of the developing planet.