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New Clark terminal gets OK

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New Clark terminal gets OK

/ 10:54 PM March 29, 2012

CLARK FREEPORT—President Benigno Aquino is endorsing a plan to build a P12-billion terminal to be used by budget air carriers operating through the Clark International Airport (CIA), according to Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas II.

Reading a message from the President during the launch of the domestic flights of AirAsia Philippines on Wednesday, Roxas said Malacañang “will support plans to set up a P12-billion budget terminal and other infrastructure projects due to the growth of passengers as well as the entry of new low-cost carriers at Clark airport.”

The new terminal is designed to serve 10 million passengers annually, five times the capacity of the present terminal, according to Victor Jose Luciano, president and chief executive officer of CIA Corp. (Ciac).

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“We need to have another terminal because AirAsia Philippines alone will carry more than five million passengers within the next five to seven years and AirAsia has made the Clark airport as its hub of operations in Southeast Asia,” Luciano said in a statement on Thursday.

AirAsia Philippines, chaired by Mr. Aquino’s cousin, Antonio Cojuangco, started serving the Clark-Kalibo and Clark-Davao routes twice daily on March 28.

These and the thrice-weekly flights of Airphil Express to Kalibo, Aklan, and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan are expected to increase the volume of passengers at CIA to one million before 2012 ends, Luciano said.

Airphil Express flies from Clark to Cebu and Kalibo four times weekly.

As Ciac works to generate funding for the new terminal, it has begun the bid for the expansion of the current terminal, which will cost P360 million obtained from a P1-billion credit from the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Luciano clarified that the budget terminal is different from the proposed Terminal 2, which was designed for big-bodied commercial aircraft.

The Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the national government to develop the road networks around Clark to complement the growth of the Clark airport.

Plans have been shelved to transfer the country’s main airports—Ninoy Aquino International Airport—from its current location in Pasay City to Clark.

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Plans to build a railway network connecting Clark to the Naia terminals have also been put on hold after a contract with a Chinese company that was supposed to build the railway has been subjected to review by the Aquino administration.

In a recent radio interview, Roxas said the project would likely be handled by a different contractor because the Chinese firm that won the existing contract had no experience in building railways. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Air Transport, AirAsia Philippines, Clark International Airport
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