Clark airport expansion gets Neda-ICC approval
The National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (Neda-ICC) last week approved the proposal of state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to expand the annual capacity of the Clark International Airport to eight million passengers.
In an interview last Friday, Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan noted that the Neda Board during the term of former President Aquino gave its go-ahead to a scaled-down airport capacity of five million passengers.
But Tungpalan pointed out that the Neda-ICC in 2015 recommended an annual capacity of eight million.
“This time around, because of increased flights in Clark, both domestic and international, they (BCDA) have requested the ICC to allow them to go back to the eight million passengers” a year capacity, Tungpalan said.
“The numbers have improved in terms of the traffic and therefore it merits getting [the capacity] up to eight million, which was previously approved by the ICC,” Tungpalan added.
The BCDA and Clark International Airport Corp. committed to finance the P12.5-billion project, likely through borrowings and equity, so that funding would not have to be sourced from the national budget, according to Tungpalan.
The Neda official said the ICC’s Cabinet committee would support the BCDA’s proposal and include it in the agenda of the Neda Board meeting to be chaired by the President tentatively scheduled on June 13.
Last week, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) called for a holistic solution to greater Manila area’s clamor for a more modern, spacious and efficient aviation system, backing the redevelopment of both the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and the Clark International Airport.
“The rapid increase in the volume of visitors to the Philippines, most of whom pass through the Naia, calls for immediate action and the harnessing of all available resources to promptly provide the needed infrastructure and management support for the growing number of air passengers,” MAP said in a position paper.
“Upgrading the existing Naia facilities now will provide early and welcome relief to the present problem of severe passenger and aircraft traffic congestion at a time well within the term of the current administration. Pending completion of the upgrades, one quick way of mitigating the congestion in Naia is to make Clark attractive as an alternate departure and arrival airport through appropriate inducements,” MAP said.