An Airport Similar to Singapore’s Changi? The Philippines May Soon Have One in 2021
The quality of the Philippines' airports may soon improve as the North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) won the bid for the operations and maintenance of the Clark International Airport. The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) awarded the operations and maintenance contract last December to NLAC, which is composed of the Gotianuns’ Filinvest Development Corporation, the Gokongweis’ JG Summit Holdings Inc., and Changi Airport Philippines Pte. Ltd. (CAP).
The latter is a wholly owned subsidiary of global firm Changi Airports International, which is also the company behind Singapore’s main gateway Changi International Airport.
Aviation consultancy firm Skytrax has ranked the Singapore Changi Airport as the world’s best airport for six consecutive years. The United Kingdom-based firm gave the highest rating of five stars to all four of its terminals, which were evaluated based on its ground transportation, security screening, immigration service, wayfinding and signage, arrival, departure, transfer, terminal comfort, terminal facilities, shopping facilities, and food and beverage.
The North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) on Friday said it would provide passengers at the new Clark International Airport with “superior experience” drawing from the seasoned professionals of the Changi Airport Group.
The consortium of Filinvest Development Corp, JG Summit Holdings, Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc and Changi Airports International's subsidiary Changi Airport Philippines bagged the operations and maintenance contract of the new Clark International Airport in December.
The NLAC will not build the new terminal per se, since the contract only includes operation and maintenance of both the existing and new terminal. The Megawide-GMR consortium is responsible for the construction, which has a project cost of P9.36 billion. It is targeted to be operational by 2020, the Department of Transportation said.
What the NLAC will provide, however, is the development of the commercial assets of the terminal including the provision of necessary equipment, technology, furniture, decorations, and the like. It aims to complete the project in 2021, or a year after the Megawide-GMR consortium turns over the terminal.
“Building on the airport’s geographical position and catchment, we will grow the airport’s network and provide passengers with a superior airport experience including a brand new commercial area. In addition to global brands, the new airport terminal will also have a curated selection of retail and food and beverage outlets that showcases the best of what The Philippines has to offer,” Changi Airports International CEO Lim Liang Song said.
In a letter to the stock exchange, consortium member JG Summit said the group would spend about P6 billion to fit out the new terminal with a capacity of 8 million passengers annually.
“We believe in the potential of the Philippines and the Luzon region. Together with our partners and with the support of key stakeholders, we will develop Clark as the region’s premier gateway,” said Changi Airports International’s CEO Lim Liang Song.
"Building on the airport’s geographical position and catchment, we will grow the airport’s network and provide passengers with a superior airport experience including a brand new commercial area," Song added.
The project is expected to spur tourism, employment and economic growth in Central and Northern Luzon, the statement said. The Clark International Airport is seen as one of the feasible alternatives to NAIA as the country’s premier gateway hub. But it may not be enough to decongest and eventually replace NAIA just yet, considering its expected passenger capacity is only at 39.4 percent of NAIA’s current annual capacity of 31 million passengers. (In reality, NAIA handles at least 40 million passengers in a year).