BASCO, BATANES – Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) newest route from Clark to the northernmost island-province here was “a dream come true,” an airport executive said.
Wilfredo Cabitac, manager of the Basco airport expressed thanks to PAL for the additional Basco, Batanes service from Clark International Airport.
“This new route is very welcome development to us. We have been seeking partners in developing new routes for Batanes and this inaugural flight is reality of long cherished dream to have one,” said Cabitac.
In 2016, more than 42,000 passengers arrived in Basco according to the airport manager.
“With this new development, we expect to hit 50,000 passenger arrivals by the end of this year,” he added.
Cabitac furthered that additional navigational aids will be installed and terminal expansion will commence by the end of 2017.
Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines is rich in natural and cultural attractions. It is “everybody’s dream travel destination,” says Imelda Garduque, supervising tourism operations officer, Department of Tourism Regional Office 2 (DOT R2).
Nature had its own way of welcoming the passengers on board Philippine Airlines’ flight PR 2688 during the inaugural flight from Clark to this island-province on October 1.
A two-minute rain shower that seemed a natural water canon salute on touchdown here greeted the turboprop, with 52 passengers on board.
Of the 52 passengers, 36 were from a group of market vendors from Angeles City.
For Edmond Gaddi, chairman, fish section of the Angeles City Pampang Public Market Association, the Batanes trip was a “breath of fresh air.”
Gaddi said they immediately booked a flight after learning the opening of Clark to Batanes route by PAL.
“Yung mga kasamahan namin, mga kaibigan, co-officers sa palengke ay sumama lahat, kasi matagal na rin nilang pangarap na makapunta ng Batanes,” said Gaddi.
“Sobrang komportable ang biyahe namin kasi nga yung assistance ng crew ng Philippine Airlines napaka-friendly,” he added.
The trip to Basco, Batanes from Clark airport is approximately an hour and 45 minutes via plane.
“Rugged and picturesque Basco in Batanes is now a short flight away for leisure travelers from Central and Northern Luzon with the launch on October 1, 2017 of regular PAL flights from Clark International Airport,” PAL announced in a statement.
“The Clark-Basco route offers a convenient direct flight without the need for Central and Northern Luzon passengers to travel by land to Manila,” PAL said.
The four-times-a-week service from Clark complements PAL’s existing twice-a-day Manila-Basco flights.
The new flight, operated by PAL Express, departs Clark 11:45 AM every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. The return flight leaves Basco 2:00 PM on the same days.
PAL has started taking delivery of 12 new Q400 turboprops that are being used to open new inter-island routes.
The flag carrier is set to open 3 new domestic routes on November 1 from Davao to Zamboanga, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan de Oro. (Astrud Q. Aguinaldo)