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Upgraded Clark airport welcomes first carrier

The interior of the new terminal pays homage to the renowned Mt. Pinatubo and its crater lake, Mt. Arayat, and the Sacobia riverbed — three province’s well-loved travel destinations

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As part of the government’s airport modernization and development efforts, the Clark International Airport (CIA) has officially opened to the air-riding public.

A joint project by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the new CRK passenger terminal building is the first hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) project under the “Build, Build, Build” Program of the Duterte administration.

CIA has a design capacity of the 110,000-sqm new terminal building enabling the airport to serve eight million passengers every year.

The DoTr said the upgraded aviation hub not only helps decongest the air traffic at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but it will also open doors for job opportunities.

In January 2021, the DoTr and BCDA turned over the airport terminal to its operations and maintenance partner, the Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) Corporation.

CEB first to land at CIA

Cebu Pacific (CEB) said it is the first local carrier to land at the newly built CIA Terminal 2 on Monday, 2 May, with passengers on flight 5J 156 from Cebu as the first fliers to use the new passenger terminal.

Flight 5J 156 took off from Mactan Cebu International Airport at 5 a.m. and landed at CIA at 6:33 a.m. A water cannon salute greeted the CEB aircraft upon arrival.

“We are happy to be the first domestic flight to operate in the newly-opened terminal, another first for us since we conducted a simulation flight for the Clark-Cebu route in December 2021.

The new terminal will further enhance customer journeys with its state-of-the-art contactless solutions, aligned with CEB’s mission to provide safe and convenient travel for all,” said Michael Ivan Shau, chief corporate affairs officer at CEB.

CEB started operating the Clark-Cebu route in 2006. Pre-pandemic, CEB was serving direct flights from Clark to six other domestic destinations apart from Cebu, namely Bacolod, Bohol, Boracay, Davao, Iloilo and Puerto Princesa.

It also flew to four international destinations then, namely Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Tokyo (Narita).

More flights coming

The Department of Tourism revealed that more international flights are given the go signal to operate in the upgraded airport.

They include the infamous Jeju Air, which will kick-off its INCHEON-CRK-INCHEON route every Thursday and Sunday.

Another Korean airline, Jin Air, will offer the same route beginning 16 May, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Other foreign flights that will utilize the new passenger terminal include destinations to and from Singapore via Jetstar and Scoot; Doha via Qatar Airways; Air Asia; and Dubai via Emirates.

Local air carriers CEB and Philippine Airlines will also have flights operating there.

According to Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, the province of Pampanga, where Clark is situated, will be the first to benefit with the increase of flights due to the influx of tourist arrivals.

She said the entire province alone offers a variety of tourism activities — from culinary, culture and heritage, to adventure — thus, she said, the opening of the new passenger terminal is a boost to the recovery of the pandemic hit sector.

“Clark is one of the destinations included in the recently concluded World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit. More than just a freeport zone, clearly, this place is an emerging tourism hub that has great potential to bring huge gains for the tourism industry,” she said.

Hailed as a new world-class gateway, CIA’s new passenger terminal building will serve both domestic and international flights.

The 110,000 square meters airport is being operated by LIPAD, accessible for commuting passengers from Manila via point-to-point (P2P) bus services, available from Trinoma and Parañaque City.

The interior of the new terminal pays homage to the renowned Mt. Pinatubo and its crater lake, Mt. Arayat, and the Sacobia riverbed — three province’s well-loved travel destinations.

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