LUZON International Premier Airport Development Corp. (LIPAD) on Friday formally took over the operations and management of the Clark International Airport.

“I tell you LIPAD, paliparin ninyo ang paliparan na ito [flourish this airport]. Make it go, grow, and glow,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said during the turnover ceremony held at the New Passenger Terminal Building of the Clark International Airport.

LIPAD is the special purpose vehicle company formed by the North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) composed of Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc., and Changi Airport Philippines (I) Pte. Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Changi Airports International.

Formerly known as the North Luzon Airport Consortium, LIPAD was awarded the 25-year O&M contract for the Clark airport terminals in January. It will also develop commercial assets, operate and maintain facilities and fit-out of the new terminal.

Bi Yong Chungunco, chief executive officer of LIPAD, said four international airlines will start their operations at the Clark airport in the next few months, in addition to the 17 airlines.

Moreover, six food and beverage outlets will also operate inside the terminal soon.

“We are also in talks with the airline operators for the possible integration of the terminal fee in the airfares as part of our goal to provide a very seamless travel experience,” she said.

“We will continue towards expanding this network, connecting Clark to more domestic and international points, cementing its position as the premier gateway for Central and Northern Luzon…. We look forward to a close collaboration with DoTr (Department of Transportation), and BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) for the next 25 years,” she added.

Clark International Airport increased its number of passenger by 63% to 2.1 million passengers in the first half of the year. The airport handles 734 weekly flights from 17 airlines. It currently being developed as the alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang