OpinYon Subic-Clark


Nov 21, 2023, 12:36 AM
Eric Panganiban

Eric Panganiban


Clark International Airport in Pampanga—known by its initials CRK in the aviation industry—has been named among the world’s most beautiful airports. Both the DOT and DOTr are ecstatic, and for good reason.

What do LaGuardia, LA International, India’s Kempegowda, Louis Armstrong New Orleans and Beijing Daxing International and Clark International Airport in Pampanga, Philippines have in common?

They all made it in the list of the World’s Most Beautiful Airports. Clark, known as CRK in the aviation industry, is the only airport in the Philippines that received this recognition.

For which Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco is very much grateful and proud.

According to / , the World’s Most Beautiful Achievements recognition, granted by the Prix Versailles, “highlights the primary role of the Laureates in beautifying and improving the living environment.” The awardees each year are those that have shown the world exceptional architecture and design.

There are 24 airports listed as the planet’s most beautiful this year.

Other airports that are part of the 9th edition list are Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Chile, Beijing Daxing International Airport in China, Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Germany, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport in China, Eagle County Regional Airport in the United States, Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Greece, General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport in Mexico;

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Finland, Kempegowda International Airport in India, LaGuardia Airport in the United States, Los Angeles International Airport in the United States, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in the United States, Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom, Mohammed V International Airport in Morocco, New Plymouth Airport in New Zealand, Newark Liberty International Airport in the United States;

Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport in China, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the United States, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in China, Split Airport in Croatia, Thessaloniki Macedonia International Airport in Greece, Turkistan International Airport in Turkistan, and Van Don International Airport in Vietnam.

The Clark sub-region

The Clark area now boasts of the Freeport zone, the Clark Global City, New Clark City, and the Clark International Airport (CRK). This sub-region of the Central Luzon region is easily one of the busiest and vibrant among the trade and economic hubs of Region 3.

It is not surprising that Clark International Airport, which is operated and managed by the Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) is the heart of this business hub called Clark.

LIPAD runs the CRK, and is doing a fine job at it, servicing top airlines like Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, Jetstar, Qatar Airways, Scoot, Emirates and others. Just last month, Hong Kong’s budget airline Royal Air resumed its daily flight coming from CRK. Royal Air operates from the modern and spacious facility at the terminal building, and continues to provide top notch service to its loyal travelers.

The airport site is inside the Clark Freeport Zone's Civil Aviation Complex which occupies 2,367 hectares and directly linked to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) which is connected to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) providing the a direct link to Metro Manila. CRK is 98 kilometers from Manila in the south and 163 kilometers from Baguio City to the north. The airport lies between two mountains — Pinatubo and Arayat.

The airport has an 82,600 square meter 4-level passenger terminal building which replaced the original terminal in 2022. Designed by Populous and Casas+Architects and constructed by Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure, the terminal has a total floor area of 110,000 sq meters and a design capacity of 12 million passengers per year.

Secretary Frasco is ecstatic

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of Clark International Airport (CRK) as one of the world’s most beautiful airports this year, earning the prestigious Prix Versailles, the World Architecture and Design Award of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“This accolade not only reflects the aesthetic grandeur of the Clark International Airport but also showcases the Philippines as a destination that values both function and beauty in its infrastructure. We are excited to continue welcoming travelers from around the world to experience the beauty of CRK and the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco remarked in response to the prestigious award received by CRK.

“The DOT is committed to continue our dedication to push for the improvement of our transport infrastructures in collaboration with other government agencies with the comfort and convenience of the traveling public, on top of our mind. Our vision reflects that of our President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr’s intention to position tourism as a pillar of economic growth for the country based on competitiveness that highlights Filipino uniqueness and ingenuity,” added the Secretary.

As a gateway, Clark can serve as much as eight million passengers annually.

Currently, CRK services flights to the country’s major tourist destinations like Caticlan (Boracay), Puerto Princesa and Busuanga, (Palawan), Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos, and Cagayan de Oro, while servicing international routes including Clark to Hongkong, Bangkok, and Singapore.

No stranger to awards

The Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) got a high rating in the performance scorecard by the Governance Commission for Government Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG) last year, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

Based on the GCG 2022 Performance Scorecard, the CIAC obtained 95.17 rating in reference to the revenues and employment from locators generated by the CIAC, number of lease agreements, customer satisfaction, and the manner of implementation of airport infrastructure projects.

The CIAC exercises regulatory supervision and oversight of activities occurring within the civil aviation complex, including the privately-run Clark International Airport.

CIAC President Arrey Perez wrote to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista saying the performance scorecard also includes CIAC’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), budget utilization rate, the retention of its ISO Certification, the development of new normal initiatives, and the development of the CIAC Barcoding System.

“The CIAC continues to strengthen its commercial, engineering and corporate management teams to develop a globally-competitive service and logistics center at the aviation complex surrounding the Clark International Airport,” said Perez.

The GCG evaluates state-run firms through the Performance Evaluation System which provides the framework for setting the organizational targets of a GOCC which also serves as the basis for determining the grant of performance-based incentives for employees.

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