Emirates' entry in Clark seen to attract more airlines

by Joey Pavia, BusinessMirror

Posted at Feb 25 2013 09:41 AM | Updated as of Feb 25 2013 05:41 PM

CLARK FREEPORT—The entry of Emirates Airlines in Clark is seen to convince more airlines to operate at the Clark International Airport (CIA) as its officials prepare to host at least 2 million passengers in 2013.

Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President and CEO Victor Jose Luciano said that “where Emirates goes, everyone goes.” Emirates, one of the top airlines in the world, will launch daily flights to Dubai from the CIA starting October 1.

“Airlines make thorough study before deciding to invest and start operations in an airport. But when Emirates suddenly enters, they skip their studies and just join the Dubai-based airline in its new endeavor,” said Luciano, who was interviewed at the recent 18th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Luciano said Emirates Airlines reaches at least 132 destinations in six continents and 74 countries. He added that the largest Middle Eastern airline operates over 2,500 flights per week.

“That means Clark will be open to all the other destinations of Emirates around the world, especially in Europe and the Middle East,” said Luciano.

The CIAC executive added that his office plans to increase the immigration lanes within the airport from 10 to 36 in preparation for the expected hike in passengers and flights this year.

There are at least 300 flights currently operating each week at CIA and it served some 1.4 million passengers in 2012.

“Clark will endeavor to attract more Europeans and [Middle Eastern nationals] to visit the Philippines. The impact to tourism and two-way trade will be very positive for the country,” said Luciano.

The CIAC chief also said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from central and northern Luzon will greatly benefit from the Emirates flights that will operate out of the Clark airport.

“Our OFWs can now take their flights to the Middle East [and Europe] via Clark airport, ” he added.

Emirates will utilize a two-class Boeing 777-300ER plans for the CIA services.

Emirates Airlines President Tim Clark said “there has always been a growing demand for Emirates’s services since we connected Manila with Dubai and our constantly expanding network on six continents. The launch of flights between Clark airport and Dubai will offer our passengers the flexibility of choosing from two destinations in the Philippines.”

Clark airport posted a 71-percent increase in passengers in 2012 compared to the previous year. It currently plays host to various budget and legacy carriers operating with routes to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Bangkok and Macau. Other destinations include Incheon and Pusan in South Korea and Taipei in Taiwan.