Monday, 2 July 2007

Flight frequencies growing at Clark airport

By Marianne V. Go
Monday, July 2, 2007
Original article at The Philippine Star
http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Business&p=49&type=2&sec=27&aid=2007070163

The development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) is beginning to speed up with more and more airlines increasing their flight frequencies and the country’s flag carriers formally expressing their interest in eventually operating out of the former US airbase.

According to Victor Luciano, president of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), Asiana Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Thai Airlines are increasing their flight frequencies to the DMIA, while Cebu Pacific has decided to make Clark a hub for its regional flights to Korea, Taipei and possibly even to Japan.

Even Philippine Airlines, Luciano said, is planning to make Clark its base for its regional flights to China where PAL is eyeing more destinations.

At the welcoming ceremonies for the DMIA’s one millionth passenger arrival Friday evening (June 29), Luciano announced that Asiana Airlines is increasing its current five times a week flights to daily flights starting in July.

Asiana, Luciano said, may also start using bigger aircraft from its current Boeing 767 and Airbus A321 to the Boeing 747 for its daily flights.

The Boeing 767 accommodates 230 passengers, while the A321 carries up to 180 passengers only.

The Boeing 747 carries up to 433 passengers.

Apart from increasing its passenger load, Luciano said, Asiana is also looking at more cargo business as well.

Asiana is investing $2 million in the Philippines alone for new equipment and has already spent $5 million in Korea for promotion and marketing of its flights to Clark, Luciano said.

Asiana, which currently arrives at night in the Philippines, will start daytime flights that will allow connections to its destinations in the United States and Europe, Luciano said.

Hong Kong Airlines is also increasing its current once a day flights to twice daily by September.

Cebu Pacific will also start flying in September to five regional cities out of Clark.

In October, Luciano said, Thai Airlines will start flying from Bangkok to Clark.

Construction for the expansion of the existing terminal is scheduled to start next week and work is projected to be completed by December this year.

Construction of a second terminal will commence by December and is expected to be completed by December 2008.

Expansion of the DMIA, Luciano said, would further convince PAL to start operating out of Clark to China.

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