Delays face Clark airport terminal project as government studies options
CLARK FREEPORT — A project to build another passenger terminal at the Clark International Airport (CRK) could be delayed further as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) examines other options for developing this gateway, according to transportation officials.
The P2.89-billion budget allotted for the project’s first phase this year, which was included in the General Appropriation Acts (GAA) of 2015 and 2016, had not been used.
“The funds have not been released because another possible option, an unsolicited proposal, is being looked at,” said Cherie Mercado, DOTr spokesperson.
“If [the proposal] is undertaken, it would involve a shift from government pursuing the [terminal] project through GAA,” Mercado said.
“Please be assured that the possible shift will not delay the completion of the project [within the] desired time frame,” she added.
The new terminal, to be built in four phases, is scheduled to be finished before President Duterte ends his term of office in 2022.
Designed by the French company Aeroports de Paris within the 2,367-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex here, the terminal was scaled down by the Aquino administration.
The current design would enable the terminal to accommodate 3 million passengers, instead of 8 million as originally proposed.
Alexander Cauguiran, president and chief executive officer of the state-owned Clark International Airport Corp., said he was not privy to the “unsolicited proposal” mentioned by Mercado because “this was always addressed to the DOTr.”
Cauguiran said he asked the DOTr on Feb. 27 to release the P2.89 billion so his agency could begin constructing basic facilities for the airport’s growing number of passengers.
In 2016, 6,205 international and domestic flights to and from CRK served 950,732 passengers.
Air traffic in CRK has increased as more airlines have been using it because the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, continues to grapple with congestion.
According to Cauguiran, bidding for the contract to build the new terminal can be completed in the third quarter of this year once funds are given this month.
If the money is not spent before December, however, the funds would revert to the national treasury.
Airlines flying to and from CRK are AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Cathay Dragon and Tiger Air. International cargo firms, FedEx and UPS, fly 23 times weekly in and out of CRK. —TONETTE OREJAS
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