The official Philippines Information Agency, an information branch of the Philippines government, announced that the government officially attributed a 25-year concession to Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) for the operations, maintenance and development of Clark International Airport, the alternative hub to Manila NAIA.
Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD), a consortium comprising Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Inc., Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc. and Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd., was awarded with a 25 year concession agreement for the O&M of CRK by Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in January 2019. On August 16,2019, the consortium was officially endorsed to the management of Clark International Airport. The company is in charge of the Operations and Maintenance of Clark International Airport (CRK) and its existing facilities.
Two important stakeholders will have a very strong influence over the airport’s future. Changi Airports Philippines is a subsidiary of Singapore Changi Airport company, which is running Southeast Asia most successful airport while JG Summit Holdings Inc. belongs to the powerful Gokongwei family, which also owns Cebu Pacific, Philippines largest low cost carrier and one of the five top low cost airlines in ASEAN.
“LIPAD Corporation is strongly committed to the goal of accelerating economic development and contribute to the rise and prosperity of a new Central Luzon by working towards positioning Clark as the premier international gateway. We envision CRK to be the country’s premier gateway by revolutionizing the way we travel and the way the world experiences the Philippines,” CEO Bi Yong Chungunco said.
To mark its take-over, the company unveiled a new logo for CRK which was inspired by the colors of the surrounding nature and the vibrancy of Clark Development Corporation’s logo which is the home of the airport.
The airport is still relatively small despite its ambitions of becoming a primary gateway to Manila. Clark posted a record 2.6 million passengers in 2018, doubling total passengers output in less than five years. The airport registered an average of 246 international flights and 488 domestic flights weekly in 2018. It currently welcomes 17 carriers including important international carriers such as Asiana from Korea, Cathay Dragon, Emirates and Qatar Airways.
The airport will probably pass the three-million passengers mark this year. Chungunco added that four new international airlines will soon launch routes from CRK in the coming months and six additional food and beverage outlets will open in the airport complex. Clark is currently building a brand new passengers’ terminal which will boost the operational capacity of the airport, and triple the current passenger capacity of 4.2 million to 12.2 million passengers annually. The future air terminal is currently finished to 75% and should open to the public next year. Three more terminals will be added in the future as the airport could in its final stage welcome over 100 million passengers a year.
Clark International is due to be connected to Philippine National Railways Clark Phase 2. The 53.1-kilometer passenger railway will connect Malolos City to CRK. It is probably the most important infrastructure to the development of the airport, turning into a major boost factor to the gateway. It will effectively help reducing travel time from Manila to Clark to less than one hour instead of the two-to-three-hour’s drive by car or by bus, due to traffic jam in town.
Originally planned to be completed around 2017, the rail link has been delayed many times due to disagreements on funding. Construction just started and it will probably take three to four years to see it completed. According to the department of transportation, the rail will partially operate from 2022 before being fully operational by 2023 between Manila and the airport. By 2025, Clark airport station will be fully linked to the North-South Commuter Railway, stretching over 165 km from Clark New City to Laguna to a total cost of US$6.14 billion (PHP314.26 billion).