Increase in Clark flights proves viability of Dual Airport Policy

 6 

The continued increase in flight operations of major airlines at the Clark International Airport confirms the viability of the government’s dual airport policy.

Alexander Cauguiran, CIAC OIC Acting President said the number of CRK’s weekly flights reached 282 ever since President Rodrigo Duterte called for greater utilization of Clark airport. Duterte urged the operations of both CRK and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

“Compared to previous years, more airlines are now appreciating CRK’s marketability and its increasing number of local destinations,” according to Cauguiran. He said domestic connectivity to major islands in the country further increased flights and passenger traffic.

Cauguiran said CRK has already recorded 1.1 million passengers from January to October 31, 2017 and passenger traffic is projected to reach 1.4 million by the end of the year.

“Clark can never be the main airport of Manila and we do not compete with NAIA operations since Clark caters to passengers from Northern and Central Luzon while NAIA targets Metro Manila and the southern population,” Cauguiran said.
“Right now we are tapping a goldmine by servicing our catchment population of 21.4 million potential passengers and airlines are appreciating this,” Cauguiran added.

Cauguiran was referring to CRK’s ready market population from Region 1 to 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region which prompted airlines to mount flights at Clark.

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines Country Manager to the Philippines Kazuhiro Ishida said his management team was impressed with the potential of Clark. Ishida said he will propose the mounting of Clark-Narita flights at the JAL’s Tokyo Headquarters.

The announcement comes at the heels of a dialogue on Thursday between JAL executives and CIAC officials for possible servicing of Clark-Narita flights via Jestar Japan, a subsidiary of JAL which currently flies daily to Narita, Osaka and Nagoya in NAIA.

“There is a huge demand of passengers especially OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and will propose an initial Clark-Narita route,” Ishida added.

With Ishida during the meeting were JAL executives Koji Yamazaki, Herr Obusan, Erwin Dela Cruz, and Kazunobu Akutsu, Defense Attache of the Embassy of Japan, who is incidentally coordinating with CIAC Officials on the forthcoming arrival of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the country for the ASEAN Summit.
“We welcome JAL’s proposl as it will now be able to lure business travelers to CRK’s connectivity to tourist destinations like Palawan, Davao and Boracay and Clark Freeport’s world class hotels and recreation facilities,” Cauguiran said.

Cauguiran said the influx of Japanese tourists will boost the local hotel industry and business communities in the region.

The construction of CRK’s new terminal building can take in an additional 8 million passengers annually.

The Clark airport project is spearheaded byTransportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon who also led the bidding last August 22 for the Engineering, Procurement and Contruction (EPC) Contract of the new passenger terminal project.

According to Cauguiran, other negotiations for Direct flights from Clark to the US, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Taiwan, and Thailand are ongoing. CRK serves a growing network of nine domestic and eight international destinations and is connected to various global destinations via the networks of Emirates, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, and China Eastern.