Clark Terminal 1 Opens

From Billions to Millions

June 27, 2010

San Fernando – President Gloria Arroyo, in what could be her swan song before she steps down from office, finally inaugurated the controversial and much delayed P308.8 million Phase 1 expansion of The Clark Airport Development Project which consist in the construction of modular passenger terminal at the airport named in honor of her late father, ex-President Diosdado Macapagal.

Terminal 1 has a project price tag of only 130 million pesos in 2007. By 2009, the terminal project cost ballooned 100% more costing the taxpayer 300 million pesos. At the time of completion, it cost the government 8 million more to finish a project riddled with inside dealings.

The new Terminal will have a 2.5 million capacity as it added floor spaces equivalent to 500,000 more passengers annually on top of two million it presently processes every year.

"The new terminal is expected to boost the operations of the airport as well as to attract more foreign and local airlines to relocate" says President Arroyo during the inaugural speech.

President Arroyo has designated DMIA as the next premier international gateway of the country. But major airlines shy away to operate from the airport because of logistics and connectivity problems.

Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano said they already remedied some of the airport deficiencies that were the concerns of other airlines as Terminal-1 now hosts two passenger boarding bridges; a wider lounges; flight information display system; closed circuit television; public television; background music public address system; x-ray machines; elevators and escalators.

Luciano added that with the bridge facility, airline passengers will now walk door to door without using the stairs to the convenience of the passengers particularly during hot and rainy weather.

Phase 1 of the terminal upgrading project was supposed to have been started in 2005 to be completed in 2008 pursuant to the $1.7 billion US dollars master development plan, but foreign lenders in Japan and Korea refused to fund the project saying that it was overly ambitious with very poor Rate of Returns (ROI).

A clause was later demanded requiring all Low Cost Airlines (LCC) operating out of NAIA to relocate to Clark to make it more viable, but angered LCC airlines threatening to sue CIAC all the way to the Supreme Court should the deal proceed. It was eventually dropped when an American company offered to fund the airport project which turned out to be financially incapable.

Another company from Kuwait offered to develop the airport complex but requires all LCC calling Manila to operate at Clark and demanding at the same time the closing of Subic airport for good. All deals apparently carry a sovereign guarantee in the payment of debts which was declared illegal and unlawful by the Philippine Supreme Court in the PIATCO case.

CIAC formally rejected the offer of Kuwait’s Al- Mal-Pride Consortium to develop DMIA $1.2 billion airport development project at the Clark Civil Aviation Complex.

With no takers, CIAC funded the project in 2009 with a P300 million price tag and was completed on March 31 by its contractor A.G. Araja Construction and Development Corp. Additional 3 months cost the government 4 million pesos more in taxpayers money citing problems with sub-contractors reportedly delaying the project.

In 2008, the original DMIA terminal, which was constructed by the Americans during their stay at the former US Air Force Base, was expanded to increase its passenger capacity from 500,000 to two million yearly. The expansion covered spaces for additional immigration counters, airline offices, concessionaires’ area, and five airline ticketing offices and baggage conveyors among others facilities.

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. in a meeting with Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) and Clark Development Corp. (CDC) officials reminded them last week that expansion and upgrading of the facilities of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here should be transparent, efficient and free from any form of graft and corruption to progress from where they are now.

DMIA hosts Tiger Airways of Singapore, Air Asia of Malaysia, Asiana Airlines of South Korea, and locals Cebu Pacific Air, Spirit of Manila Airlines and South East Asian Airlines (Seair). Other airlines calling at Clark are Jin Air of Korea and Pacific Flier of Palau.

1 comment:

  1. ...reason why MIAA/NIAA diverted flights to DMIA? to introduce DMIA that is capable to handle such air traffic and modern infrastructure.

    Who knows? maybe in the future DMIA will be the next most busy airports. I would like to see the extension of MRT toward Clark in the future.