It was the first time not only for passengers to use the aero bridge instead of stairs landing on the tarmac, but also the new P320-million expanded portion of the DMIA’s passenger terminal.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) chairman Nestor Mangio and CIAC president and chief executive officer Victor Jose Luciano witnessed the event as part of continuing efforts to finally transform the DMIA into the country’s premiere gateway.
This, even as Luciano announced plans of SeaAir Tiger and Air Asia Philippines to establish hub at the DMIA.
“What I see in the next five years is a twin system in our aviation industry with the DMIA operating alongside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with the two eventually interconnecting,” he said.
The aero-bridge was one of the two to be installed at the terminal expansion that has increased DMIA’s capacity to process 2.5 million passengers per year, said Luciano.
The aero-bridge attached to the AirAsia Tiger’s Airbus 319 at about 3:10 p.m. Friday, and enabled 144 passengers from Singapore to use it towards the new expanded area of the terminal where stalls for food and souvenir items were still empty and all up for bidding.
Luciano said in an interview that the next target would be the construction of a much bigger passenger terminal amid prospects of increasing activity at the DMIA.
“Our expectation is that our passengers will increase at the rate of 500,000 per year,” he said.
This prospect is boosted by plans of SeaAir Tiger and Air Asia Philippines to make DMIA their hub. Luciano also noted that Tiger Airways changed its name after it bought 32 percent into SeaAir.
Luciano cited a recent study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on which areas in Luzon could provide an ideal alternative to the NAIA which is getting congested. The areas considered were available lands in Taguig City, Sangley Point, Angat, Norzagaray and Obando in Bulacan, and the DMIA in Clark.
“There were factors considered including topography and geography,” Luciano said.
But while Clark was the farthest from the NAIA, it was given a rating of 78 percent by JICA. The other areas failed as they were graded below 50 percent,” he noted.