Philippine Airlines is to invest between $30 and $50 million in putting up strategic facilities at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport at Clark Field, Pampanga.The investment is in preparation for the extension of PAL’s Manila operations to Clark and the start of direct PAL service from Clark to foreign destinations.
“We are definitely operating at Clark. Our chairman - Dr. Lucio Tan - is excited at our plan to join the development of Clark. We are just trying to align our specific requirements with the master plan of Clark,” said PAL President Jaime J. Bautista.
The Clark investment will entail the lease of 30 to 50 hectares of property, over a period of 25 years, where PAL will construct its catering, ground handling and aircraft maintenance facilities.
The investment, which is expected to create at least two thousand local jobs, may be sourced from internally generated funds, foreign and domestic loans or equity from partners.
According to Mr. Bautista, PAL has to put these facilities at Clark to support its eventual operations at Clark. “PAL will be expanding its operations in Manila by constructing parallel facilities at Clark in anticipation of increased aviation activities in the former US military base.”
This will dovetail with the planned direct service from Clark to international points - initially to Korea, Japan and China - utilizing PAL’s new Airbus A320/A319 and the recently-ordered Boeing B777-300ER due for delivery starting 2009.
The extent and timing of PAL’s operations at Clark hinges on the results of ongoing negotiations with the Clark Development Corporation.
“The full operating capacity of the facilities we intend to build will depend on the terms of agreement that we are finalizing with Clark,” Mr. Bautista said.
When fully operational, PAL intends to offer its catering, ground handling and aircraft maintenance services to other airlines operating at Clark.
While the current airport handles approximately one million passengers a year, the Clark airport’s master plan envisions two terminals capable of handling 20 to 30 million passengers annually.
PAL is considering such growth factors at Clark, as well as the development of basic infrastructure (high-speed railway system) and tourism facilities (hotels), in finalizing its own plans for Clark.