Officials hope to reopen Clark International Airport by Wednesday

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Clark, Pampanga (CNN Philippines, April 23) — The Clark International Airport in Pampanga will remain closed on Tuesday despite efforts for a partial opening after a strong quake hit Luzon.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade on Tuesday said the airport will open on Wednesday at the earliest or Thursday at the latest. 

Over 100 flights have been cancelled and 100,000 passengers were left stranded in the Clark airport due to the damage caused by the earthquake. 

Airport officials earlier said they are hoping to partially resume operations by Tuesday afternoon, but the damage in the departure area was too significant to reopen the airport right away. Seven persons suffered minor injuries when a part of the ceiling at the check-in lobby collapsed. The area affected by the quake covers over 1,000 square meters of the old terminal building. Aside from the collapsed ceiling, the fire alarm has also been affected, causing water leakage from the collapsed building. Tugade said it will cost P30 to 50 million to repair the damage.

Despite this, Clark International Airport President Jaime Melo said the Air Traffic Control Tower, runway, and taxiways have been declared safe. He added they are preparing to repair the airport damage once they receive an order to start.

"We are currently assessing the damage to the buildings. On hand na ang mga construction crews to repair so we're just waiting for the go-ahead and the plan ano ang uunahin, ang parts na bubuksan, kung ano ang aayusin namin if only to provide a temporary opening of the airpirt within the day. Pero as of now po, the 24 hour closure still stands... "All the flights have been canceled so wala pang resumption of flights. Wala ring rescue flights. Wala pang flights out of Clark," he told CNN Philippines.

The new terminal building, which is undergoing construction, was spared from the 6.1. magnitude quake that struck Zambales and jolted parts of Luzon on Monday.