The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday welcomed the reopening of several local airlines’ direct flights from Clark International Airport to the country’s prime island tourist locations.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the newly reopened routes would boost the country’s domestic and international tourism, noting that the routes provide added connectivity to the country’s in-demand tourist destinations.
“After months of our continuous discussions with relevant aviation agencies and stakeholders such as the Department of Transportation, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines, we welcome these additional flights as it serves the Marcos administration’s efforts to vastly improve tourism connectivity and spread economic opportunity nationwide,” she said in a news release issued Tuesday.
Cebu Pacific earlier confirmed boosting of the Clark hub with the combined 13 domestic and international routes. Three of its aircraft will also be based in Clark.
The newly established flights will service Caticlan, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro starting April this year, while the Puerto Princesa route will commence in June.
The international routes include Clark to Hongkong, Bangkok and Singapore.
Philippine Airlines also announced flights from Clark to Caticlan would begin on April 1 and Clark to Busuanga flights on April 2, both on a scheduled basis.
In 2022, the industry generated over PHP214 billion in estimated revenues and created 5.2 million tourism-related jobs, Frasco said.
She noted that the reopening dates are timely in order to meet market demand for flights to key tourism destinations during the long Holy Week holidays.
The DOT, together with the Civil Aeronautics Board, airline executives, and other concerned agencies, discussed last Jan. 25 ways to increase flights into Clark and establish it as a viable alternate airport and help in the decongestion of the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Currently, the airport is only at 12 percent utilization, receiving only around 80,000 passengers a month despite its eight million annual passenger capacity.
“With the additional flights we meet a number of objectives: the decongestion of NAIA and minimizing crowding in other airports, as well as develop the region further and attract more tourism activities and businesses in the area,” Frasco said. (PNA)