Preparing the renovated Clark International Airport to welcome the world


Nestled in the northern Philippines, the brand new passenger terminal at Clark International Airport (CRK) is destined to be a premier gateway connecting the Philippines and the world. Once opened, the upgraded CRK will accelerate business growth and promote tourism activities in central and northern Luzon, an important economic region in the Philippines.

Changi Airports International (CAI) and its partners developed CRK through its operating company, Luzon International Premier Airport Development (LIPAD) Corporation. In December 2018, the consortium won a 25-year concession to operate CRK. The goal is clear: to raise the CRK to world-class standards so that it is an airport of which all Filipinos are proud.

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The new CRK terminal is one of the first in the Philippines to deploy a full suite of contactless passenger solutions, from 24/7 self-service check-in kiosks and automated bag drops to a system state-of-the-art baggage handling and integrated security screening. A new airport operations control center will be set up to improve communication and coordination between the airport’s multiple stakeholders, enabling rapid response to breakdowns, disruptions and other incidents.

Andrew Tan, Director and Chief Operating Officer at CAI, was recently at Clark with the rest of the Changi team to oversee Airport Operational Readiness and Transfer Testing (ORAT) to prepare the new terminal for opening. to the public. Grace Cheung of Changi Journeys spoke to Andrew about the challenges of conducting these readiness trials in the time of Covid-19.

Andrew Tan (top row, far right) with Cebu Pacific stakeholders and ground manager
PAGSS after successfully completing the first domestic departure test flight

Tell us about your experience with ORAT trials at CRK.

At CAI, we use the People, Process and Technology (PPT) framework for operational planning. For ORAT trials at CRK, we have added another ‘P’, which is ‘Location’ – referring to facility readiness as well as our ‘presence’ as consultants.

Earlier in the year, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, we held several successful online workshops to introduce the various facilities and processes to the airport community. With a physical presence now, we can conduct critical ground exercises that address stakeholder concerns and familiarize airlines and ground service providers with the new on-site check-in facilities and processes.

Subsequently, the airport successfully held live domestic test flights with two major airlines, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, in December 2021 to further test systems and processes.

The first passengers to arrive at the new CRK terminal received festive Noche Buena mini baskets on a new baggage handling system

Were there any particular challenges the team had to overcome given the Covid-19 restrictions?

The new CRK terminal is nearing completion, so we had to get creative in adapting a typical ORAT test plan to the challenges posed by Covid-19. In a non-Covid-19 environment, we will only carry out trials after the systems have been thoroughly tested and commissioned.

With Covid-19 affecting the fit-out, testing and commissioning of various facilities, we have adapted by conducting proof-of-concept (PoC) trials for various facilities as they become available. This modular approach involved repeating some trials during final testing and commissioning. But it also allowed us to make the most of the time and gave us more opportunities to familiarize and train everyone on the new facilities. This helps us identify potential issues early on and resolve them quickly so that all airport users can enjoy a truly world-class experience when the airport opens.

Live trials of the automated baggage drop system at CRK’s new passenger terminal

What do you enjoy most about your work at CRK?

We are grateful for the support of various stakeholders, including government agencies and the KRC airport community. On December 14 and 15, 2021, we conducted live national PoC trials. It was such a great feeling to see and hear the delight of passengers when they discovered the new airport. Having worked and been involved in projects in the Philippines for a long time, I dreamed of seeing its airports grow and improve in terms of infrastructure and service levels. Certainly, with the work we are doing with LIPAD, our partner, this is becoming a reality.

Before having actual tests with real passengers and aircraft, a whole series of simulated integrated tests involving check-in, baggage, aircraft management and more were carried out repeatedly

What are your main lessons after working on so many projects around the world as an airport consultant?

People are the key to success. When you sit down to talk, you have to find a way to let everyone know that we’re all on the same side of the table. Everyone wants a better airport, better passenger service, more efficient operations. What has helped us at CAI is that we place great importance on cultural awareness and adapting to different environments. It helped us get started, listen to our customers and develop holistic solutions for airports.

Changi, LIPAD, Philippine Airlines and MacroAsia ground handling teams

This article was originally published here.


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