Pampanga’s Clark International Airport proved its worth as an emerging budget airline hub as it posted healthy growth in 2012, driven mainly by demand for low-cost travel.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) said the airport overcame its distance from Metro Manila, reporting a 71-percent growth in the number of passengers using the facility, totaling 1.3 million for 2012, up from 767,000 passengers in 2011.
“Clark airport achieved unprecedented growth on the strength of budget travel that encouraged passengers coming from Northern and Central Luzon and as far as Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog to experience Clark,” CIAC president and CEO Victor Jose Luciano said in a report to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
In the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, Luciano said Clark was now home to eight budget airlines.
This was more than any other airport in the Philippines, he claimed.
Clark mainly serves the international market, with international passengers accounting for 1.01 million, 77 percent of total volume.
Clark’s domestic passengers also surged when Air Asia Inc., Airphil Express and Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAir)-Tiger commenced domestic flights from April 2012 to the country’s prime tourist destinations.
AirAsia Inc. is the local affiliate of budget airline giant AirAsia Berhad, Airphil Express is the sister firm of Philippine Airlines, and SEAir-Tiger is a partnership between local leisure carrier SEAir and Singapore’s Tiger Airways.
Luciano said the government’s “pocket open skies” policy, which promoted airports outside Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila, helped boost Clark’s appeal.