Despite Covid-19, Indian company builds Philippines airport terminal in record time

The GMR Group is the only Indian airport developer to have developed and operated airports outside India

Despite Covid-19, Indian company builds Philippines airport terminal in record time
A view of the Clark International Airport. Image courtesy: Facebook/Clark International Airport

The GMR Group, which owns and operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports and has won the concession to develop and run Goa's greenfield airport at Mopa, has completed the construction of a new passenger terminal building (PTB) of the Clark International Airport in the Philippines and delivered it in a record time of two years notwithstanding the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the GMR Group, the terminal building of the airport, formerly known as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, is spread over an area of 1.1 lakh square metres and is one of the fastest completed projects in the Philippines and the first project of the Philippines government under the hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) framework.

The company handed over the project to Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on January 22. This is GMR’s second project in the Philippines after it developed the Mactan Cebu International Airport – the second largest airport in the Philippines.

The GMR Group is the only Indian airport developer to have developed and operated airports outside India. GMR Infrastructure in partnership with Megawide Construction Corporation of Philippines is operating and developing the Mactan Cebu International Airport. The group had forayed into the airport space in the early 2000s and is today one of the top five airport developers and operators in the world. It is the largest private airport company in India. 

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According to official sources, the terminal will be able to handle around eight million passengers per annum (MPPA) from the present four MPPA. The capacity of this terminal can be further expanded to handle 12-16 MPPA. The size of the present terminal building is around 40,000 square metre.

The parking area of Clark International Airport’s newly-constructed passenger terminal building can accommodate about 4,500 vehicles. The terminal has 18 passenger boarding bridges (PBB) and 48 check-in counters.

Officials said the new terminal building would give a rich feel of the Philippine culture through a mountain contour theme and skylights reflecting local lanterns, with a wood finish. The most recognisable element of the terminal is the dynamic elegance and lightness of the roof.

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The structure is composed of glulam timber, which not only depicts the local landscape characterised by the Pampanga mountain ranges but is also cost-effective as the ceiling is not required. It would be extending its potential as a carbon sink through the use of wood. With its proximity to the beach, mountain view resorts and hill stations nearby, the Clark airport has the potential to give a boost to tourism and the overall local economy.

Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman, Energy and International Airports, GMR Group, said, “We are delighted to have been able to complete the new passenger terminal building in a record time of 24 months and hand over to BCDA successfully. Adhering to GMR’s concept to showcase local culture at the airport, the new terminal will give a rich feel of the Philippine culture. It has been designed and constructed using the latest innovative technologies and as per international standards and environmental best practices.”

Clark International Airport is being positioned as an alternative to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. It has the potential to emerge as a future destination for direct flights to and from India.

The construction conglomerate was awarded the contract following international competitive bidding in December 2017. GMR-Megawide had outbid six others, including two Chinese consortia. It had entered the fray with the lowest bid and signed the agreement with BCDA, which is a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Office of the President of the Philippines, in January 2018.