Firm Behind New Airport Plan Told: Clark Int’l Airport Waiting


2014430134639CLARK FREEPORT—Pampanga Rep. Joseller Guiao said San Miguel Corp. (SMC) should invest in the development of Clark International Airport (CRK) here instead of spending $10 billion to build an entirely new gateway on an area to be reclaimed from the coast of Cavite province.

The new gateway project intends to replace the decrepit Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Pasay City.

Guiao described  the Clark facility as the country’s future leading gateway because its 2,500-hectare span is at par with other airports in Asia. Clark also has two 3.2-kilometer runways.

A former facility of the US Air Force, the Clark airport was rehabilitated during the administrations of President Corazon Aquino and President Fidel Ramos.

“It is cheaper  for both the public and private sectors to develop CRK because the basic facilities are already in place. No reclamation is needed because a whole lot of contiguous land is reserved for expansion,” Guiao told the Inquirer on Friday.

15 years too long

Focusing the development on CRK would provide an immediate backup or alternate to Naia, he added.

According to Guiao, the 15-year period it would reportedly take SMC to reclaim 900 hectares in Cavite could be too long and could be outpaced by economic activities.

SMC offered the unsolicited Cavite airport proposal to help solve congestion at Naia where airlines have reported losing P7 billion in wasted fuel as aircraft await landing and parking.

Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, chief executive officer of World Wide Fund for Nature  Philippines, described the airport plan in Cavite as “crazy” because, he said, the proposed site is on the coast, which is vulnerable to storm surges the likes of which had devastated the airport in Tacloban City last year.

“Clark is waiting,” Tan told Pampanga businessmen attending a talk on climate change on  Thursday. He said all CRK needed were new terminals, equipment, all-weather roads and a modern railway.

French study

Aéroports de Paris is doing a feasibility study for CRK’s low-cost carrier terminal worth P7.2 billion to be funded by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

More than 10 airlines operate domestic and international flights to and from CRK, while three companies do maintenance work on planes.

Guiao said it made “good business sense for SMC” to locate in Clark because it has already connected the Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions through the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx).

The 88-km TPLEx is linked to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway  and the North Luzon Expressway  that were built by the national government and which are managed and operated by private corporations.

Almost half of the stretch of TPLEx has been opened, reducing travel time to and from northern Luzon.

Source: Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Iraq War Opens Door for $3-B Clark Project





CLARK FREEPORT—Although the Iraq war has brought nothing but devastation to that country since 2003, the conflict has opened the door for the development of a $3-billion project in this economic zone in Pampanga province.

Dennis Lloyd Wright is president and chief executive officer of Peregrine Development International Corp., the American company that is developing the 177-hectare Sabah Al-Ahmad Global Gateway Logistics City (GGLC) here.

A former senior officer of the multinational energy firm Halliburton KBR, he was sent to Kuwait when the Iraq war broke out.

During that period, Wright said he worked with many companies, among them the Kuwait and Gulf Link (KGL). He said Ed Birkins, a fellow senior corporate officer, was a close friend of the KGL’s managing director at that time.

In 2004, Wright decided to venture out on his own and formed Peregrine with some friends and business associates. After two years, his company was able to convince KGL, through its investment arm KGL Investment Co. (KGLI), to fund the development of the GGLC.

The GGLC was renamed Sabah Al Ahmad GGLC in honor of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, who made a state visit to the Philippines in March 2012.

“It was a combination of Ed’s personal relationship and our company’s reputation that convinced KGLI to look into GGLC, as well as another opportunity we developed in the domestic shipping market. This also led to KGL making investments in Negros Navigation,” Wright said. “The Philippines was a real sweet spot for us. But remember, this was in 2006-2008 when no one believed in the country or even thought about investing in the Philippines. So it was our personal relationships, knowledge of the country and our professional reputation that made it happen.”

KGLI initially infused $30 million into the GGLC project and is set to pour in more to complete the $3-billion investment until 2019.

Wright said Peregrine also convinced KGLI to invest in maritime shipping.

“In addition to GGLC, we also developed the strategy and opportunity to invest in Philippine maritime shipping. We were successful in attracting the same group of Kuwaiti investors to also invest in Negros Navigation,” he said. “This was highly successful strategy and proved to be the right decision as Negros has since gone on, with some additional investment dollars, to acquire Aboitiz Transport. It is now one of the biggest and most successful domestic shipping companies in the country.”

Wright is a firm believer in the potential of Clark Freeport and its environs to become “the second most recognized name in the Philippines.”

He said Clark is the natural alternative gateway to the Philippines after Manila with perhaps the best infrastructure and the largest and best international airport in the country.