By Ashley Manabat, March 29 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Philippine Daily Inquirer

CLARK FREEPORT—The ongoing construction of a new passenger terminal as part of Clark airport’s modernization program is expected to be completed  ahead of schedule by June next year, a delegation of government officials led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Wednesday.

“We are looking forward to this project’s completion ahead of schedule,” Dominguez said as he noted that the building is already 53 percent complete.

The new terminal will be operational by mid-2020. By then, passenger capacity will be tripled, adding another 8 million to the current capacity of 4.2 million.

During an onsite inspection of the terminal facility, Dominguez also cited the need to reap the benefits of the “Build, Build, Build,” (BBB) program “at the soonest possible time.”

“We should keep in mind that it should be PPPP. Public-private partnership for the people,” he said.

Full airport development, which spans four phases, will generate over 80 million passengers annually, making the Clark airport on a par with the biggest airports not only in the region but in the rest of the world.

The development of the airport is guided by the master plan and feasibility study by the ADPI of Paris completed in 2013,  and pursued through a grant by the French government.

Engr. Joshua Bingcang, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) senior vice president for business development and operations, said the number of domestic passengers for Clark has increased dramatically by 4,812 percent from only 51,625 passengers in 2016 to a projected 2.5 million by year-end.

On the other hand, international passengers are expected to reach over 1.5 million by 2019, representing a 72-percent increase from 899,000 passengers in 2016.

Domestic flights have increased exponentially by 8,866 percent, from only six flights in 2016 to 538 in 2019.  The number of international flights is expected to double by 2019 from 120 in 2016.

Upon full development, the Clark airport will be the nation’s next premier gateway helping to clear the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

Dominguez said the new terminal is the fastest infrastructure project to be implemented by the national government, setting the template for all other projects under the BBB program.

“The expansion of the airport has been on the government’s drawing board for 20 years. Under the Duterte administration, the means and methods were found to finally make things happen,” he said.

“This facility will anchor the rapid development of the other districts of Clark. It is not only a model for rapid implementation of projects but also a model for effective governance in the modern age,”

BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon noted that the new terminal is the first hybrid PPP project implemented under the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has announced that the second runway will be finished before the term of  President Duterte ends in 2022.

Tugade made the announcement during the inspection of the ongoing construction of the new terminal building also on Wednesday.

“We would like to announce that government will begin planning and will construct the second runway in accordance with the Aeroport de Paris Ingenierie (ADPI) master plan. We are eyeing completion of this runway before the end of the term of the President,” he assured.