PAL to launch Clark flights this week
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is launching its Clark Airport operations this Friday, part of a broader plan to establish new hubs as congestion in Manila crimps growth and as the flag carrier anticipates a “challenging” 2017.
PAL Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement with state-run Clark International Airport Corp., which operates Clark Airport in Pampanga province.
The first flight out of Clark would be a daily route to Boracay Airport (Caticlan) on Dec. 16, 2016. This would be followed early next year with new Clark connections to Cebu, Davao and Incheon, South Korea.
PAL president Jaime Bautista said in a press conference Tuesday the overall objective was to assist in the government’s drive to cut congestion in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
CIAC president Alexander Cauguiran said in the same briefing that out of the almost 37 million passengers that used Naia in 2015, as much as 27 percent came from Northern and Central Luzon, which is Clark’s main market.
He said eventually moving this traffic to Clark, which is expected to serve just under a million passengers this year, would likewise lessen road congestion in Metro Manila.
“This is also a venue for Philippine Airlines to grow. If we will just depend on the available capacity of Naia, we cannot grow much anymore,” Bautista said.
PAL took delivery of seven aircraft this year, comprised of long-range Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A321s, bolstering its fleet to 81 planes. Bautista said the challenge was deploying these at a time when Naia was operating beyond its designed capacity.
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