Philippines AirAsia (Z2, Manila Ninoy Aquino Int'l) plans to strategically restore its hub at Clark International Airport, northwest of the capital Manila, in October 2021, pending the easing of travel restrictions and an increase in travel demand, says Chief Executive Officer Ricky Isla.

“Once travel restrictions ease and demand picks up soon, we are eyeing to strategically restore AirAsia’s Clark hub hopefully by Q4 of 2021,” he said in a statement, after joining Philippines President Rodrigo Roa-Duterte and other government and industry representatives in witnessing the inspection and dry-run of the airport’s new second passenger terminal (Terminal 2) building on July 19, 2021. Isla said the new terminal would boost the airline’s drive towards a stronger rebound post-COVID-19. Government representatives echoed his sentiment saying they hoped AirAsia Philippines would make a strong come-back in 4Q21.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, the AirAsia Group unit will restore flights from Clark on October 1, 2021, to the following domestic destinations:

AirAsia began its Philippines operations at Clark in March 2012, a move that helped push connectivity in northern and central parts of Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island that also includes Manila. Before the pandemic, AirAsia Philippines flew to 10 destinations from Clark, including the domestic points being restored, and internationally to Seoul Incheon (South Korea), Kaohsiung and Taipei Taoyuan (Taiwan).

Punted as Asia’s next premier gateway for North and Central Luzon, the new terminal is expected to relieve congestions at Manila Ninoy Aquino Int'l (NAIA), which has an annual capacity of eight million passengers. The new terminal will increase capacity at Clark to 12 million passengers annually and boost air transport capacity for the Greater Capital Region, including the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat within the Clark Freeport Zone in the province of Pampanga.

Operated by the Luzon International Premier Airport Development (LIPAD) Corporation, the second terminal has been constructed at a cost of PHP12.55 billion peso (USD243 million). It forms part of the so-called "Build, Build, Build (BBB)" programme of the Philippines government. Under the model, the infrastructure was built by the government using its own funds, while the operations and maintenance are handed over to the private sector.

Spread across 110,000 sqm, the new terminal features 18 passenger boarding bridges, 3,881 parking spaces, and 20 bus parking bays. It also facilitates an end-to-end contactless passenger experience from the bus ride, check-in, bag drop, and even when ordering meals.

Clark International Airport currently serves 27 destinations in 10 countries, involving six airlines, according to ch-aviation data. The airport has two runways (02R/20L and 02L/20R) both measuring 3,200 x 60 metres at an elevation of 148 metres MSL.