The pandemic has presented immense challenges in the aviation industry and changed the core of transportation as a whole. As a result, the growing demand for safer, convenient, and innovative ways to get from one place to another has never been more prominent than ever.
Join me as we explore and unravel the next premier world-class aviation hub located in Clark, Pampanga, that could potentially help completely redefine the future of air travel with transit-oriented development.
A month ago, I decided it was about time to take my son Geof for a vacation in Boracay after finally getting vaccinated. It’s something we wanted to do for a long while but never had the chance to, not until I made sure that both of us will be safe enough to travel.
After a long process of getting our travel documents done, the trip to Boracay was pretty smooth. Upon arriving at NAIA, the airport made its efforts to implement health protocols and made their maximum effort to ensure minimized contact between passengers and airline staff. There is also notably an increased use of online and digital processes for check-in and boarding, and intensified disinfection was carried out in all public areas.
Although, as much as these health protocols manage to help passengers get to and from their destinations as safely as possible, there’s still one problem:
NAIA is just too congested.
Due to this, I still felt a significant amount of unease as any other parent would when traveling with their child.
You see, even with the significant decrease of foot traffic in the airport due to the pandemic, NAIA is still considered the busiest airport in the country as it is the primary gateway for International and Domestic travel.
However, all of that is about to change.
Despite the pandemic challenges, Megawide and GMR Infrastructure have completed the Clark International Airport’s new passenger terminal at Pampanga gateway, located about 100 kilometres north of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
This new airport terminal has a capacity of eight million passengers a year and will undoubtedly help in decongesting NAIA.
CRK: Clark International Airport
The Clark International Airport is the country’s first hybrid public-private partnership, with construction done by MEGAWIDE GMR and operations under the LIPAD Consortium.
The new terminal is a four-story building owning 18 aerobridges and covers 110,000 square meters.
It boasts state-of-the-art technology and contactless solutions vital for smooth and safe operations such as contactless baggage handling and passenger check-ins.
The terminal building is also explicitly designed to be a safe, convenient, and comfortable space, with travellers’ peace of mind high in its priority. In this time of a global health crisis, these features could not have been more essential.
As for the building architecture, it celebrates our local heritage as it reflects the beauty of Mount Arayat and the Zambales Mountain Ranges. Its roof structure is made out of glue-laminated timber, a highly resilient, sustainable engineering material used for the roof structure of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
The design was made possible by Megawide GMR’s partnership with Integrated Design Associates (IDA) Hong Kong, along with local architects and engineers, to deliver a world-class terminal.
This wasn’t the first time that Megawide has gotten recognition for its world-class designs.
In 2019 – Megawide’s Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 won a prestigious award at the World Architecture Festival. The terminal won first place in the Completed Buildings–Transport category against Singapore Jewel Changi Airport, Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, Sydney Australia’s Barangaroo Ferry Wharf, and several other structures.
Aside from its unique design and classy engineering, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airports Corp. (GMCAC) is also doing an excellent job operating and keeping the facility very responsive during the pandemic.
The COVID-testing facility inside the airport should add a layer of safety and comfort for travellers using the country’s second-largest gateway.
In these instances, Megawide has shown that it can facilitate ease of air travel in the country, either as a contractor limited to construction in the CIA or as a developer and operator similar to the MCIA.
Either way, economic activity is created, which is expected to translate to increased spending, more robust trade, commerce, and revitalised tourism.
Economic Benefits and What the Future Holds
Construction of the much-anticipated passenger terminal building was completed in September 2020 and is set to be opened to the public this 2021. The terminal was recently inaugurated, with Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade leading the inspection.
Similar to the development of MCIA, the same inclusive economic benefits have been opened in Central Luzon to unlock new tourism and business opportunities—and ultimately help in restarting the economy.
The new terminal is forecasted to create 150,000 new jobs, which is about 0.4% of the workforce in the country.
All I can say is, there is a lot to look forward to with Clark International Airport’s new terminal. It sets itself up as one of the premier aviation hubs built in the Philippines.
Personally, coming from a mom and a seasoned traveller like me, the best kind of travel experience is one that is safe, comfortable, and hassle-free. So it’s all the more essential now to have an airport that we can rely on and trust the safety of our children with.
This new airport makes me feel confident and hopeful that I can do more adventures with Geof and keep creating beautiful memories during these difficult times.
Clark International Airport is proof that world-class airport developments can still be achieved and accomplished for safer, convenient, and comfortable air travel, even amidst the pandemic.