Middle Eastern carrier Emirates will start direct flights to Clark Freeport in Pampanga in October, targeting millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from Northern and Central Luzon.
The Clark International Airport will be United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based carrier’s second destination in the Philippines, following the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). Emirates’ first flights to Clark will precede the launch of Cebu Pacific’s service between Manila and Dubai.
About 80 kilometers north of Metro Manila, Clark is strategically located to become a catchment area for the 17 million people living in the provinces of Ilocos, Pangasinan, Pampanga, and even the northern parts of Metro Manila, Emirates said.
“There has always been a growing demand for Emirates’ services since we connected Manila with Dubai,” Emirates president Tim Clark said.
“The launch of flights between Clark International Airport and Dubai will offer our passengers the flexibility of choosing from two destinations in the Philippines,” he said.
In negotiations last year, the Philippines and UAE governments agreed to double the number of flights between Manila and the UAE to 28 per week.
In a separate interview, Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) General Manager Jose Angel T. Honrado said Emirates was also expanding flights out of Naia. However, it has opted to take red-eye or late evening and early morning flights, when runways and passenger terminals are not as congested as during daytime peak hours.