PLANS are underway for a new PHP12-billion (US$282 million) budget terminal at Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), also known as Clark International Airport.
According to DMIA general manager, Jose Victor Luciano, the new terminal, which will be located adjacent to the existing one, is being built to capitalise on strong growth in the budget travel segment.
"Flight growth is coming from these (low-cost) carriers. We (at Clark) and the government have to prepare the proper infrastructure,” he said.
In addition, the PHP 360 million-expansion of Clark's existing terminal, scheduled for completion by 2013, will allow it to accommodate up to 2.5 million passengers annually, up from the current one million.
Clark’s expansion could not come sooner, given the entry of AirAsia Philippines and Airphil Express flights next month.
AirAsia Philippines will be launching its maiden route (Clark-Davao) on March 15, and is also working to secure flight permits to Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 8, 2012).
AirPhil Express will be starting four new routes from March 29: Davao (six-weekly), Cebu (six-weekly), Kalibo (sixteen per week) and Puerto Princesa (twelve per week).
Two other low-cost carriers, Cebu Pacific and SEAir, are already operating at Clark.
Luciano revealed that Clark was looking to build an additional facility, which “will be able to accommodate about thirty planes at any one time…and we are looking at models in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur”. The project may take up to 2015 to be completed, he added.
Meanwhile, travel consultants are waiting to hear about developments on a fast rail/intermodal transport system connecting Clark to Manila, which could potentially reduce the two-hour journey to thirty minutes. This would enhance Clark's viability as the country's main airport once government plans to shift operations out of Manila are finalised.