Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano along with Emirates' Mohammed Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice President for Airport Services, Gigie Baroa, Country Manager & Ravishankar Mirle, Vice President of Cargo Commercial are all smiles during a photo opportunity at a press conference in Holiday Inn in Clark, Pampanga. -- Photo: Emirates Airlines handout
CLARK, Pampanga - Clark International Airport expects to get a boost from new flights of Emirates Airlines, which started on October 1.
Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Victor Jose Luciano said the entry of Emirates is the "biggest" in Clark's history.
"The coming of Emirates to Clark is very historic to Clark. The biggest in Clark history as so far aviation is concerned. Because of the flights now, Clark is now becoming a viable second international gateway...In the words of the director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Atty. Carmelo Arcilla, the coming of Emirates to Clark is a game-changer because it not only changed the skyline of Clark. It also changed the skyline of aviation in the Philippines. People are seeing that there is something like a Clark," he said during a press conference held at the Holiday Inn in Clark.
The inaugural flight of Emirates Airline from Dubai arrived at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga on Tuesday. The flight was met by the Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya, Embassy of the UAE Second Secretary and Consul Mohammed Abdel Rahim Mohamed Askar Alnaqbi and Emirates Philippines country manager Gigie Baroa.
With Emirates, Luciano said he sees an increase in the number of passengers, as well as in their revenues, in 2014.
"We are expecting a jump in revenues and passengers. Most probably for 2013, baka magmatch lang kami with 2012 pero sa 2014, magbabago na," he said.
The airport accommodated 1.3 million passengers last year, according to the official.
To prepare for the influx of passengers brought about by the entry of Emirates, Luciano said that the renovations for the airport will be done 6 months ahead of schedule.
"It was contracted to be done by June 2014. It will finish by December 31, 2013," said Luciano.
Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President for Airport Service Mohammed Mattar said that he is "very pleased" with the various developments and improvements being done on the Clark airport.
"He (Luciano) is looking at the future. Today Emirates, tomorrow another airline," Mattar said.
Emirates country Manager Baroa hopes that the new daily flight will attract more passengers from Northern and Center Luzon.
"The objective really is for more passengers from Northern and Central Luzon to make use of Clark. But passengers from Quezon City, Novaliches and Caloocan now also have the option of travelling from Clark so that they wouldn't have to go through the traffic in EDSA," said Baroa.
She said the new flights will not only serve tourists from the Middle East, but would also benefit the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
"We have around 2.5 million OFWs living in the Middle East...and 75% of our OFWs come from Northern and Central Luzon, with the biggest coming from San Fernando City," said Baroa.
But Baroa admitted that their dream to have a 100% load factor for every flight is a very tall order.
"We know that as a start-up station, we will definitely have to do a lot of market development especially for the far northern provinces like Baguio, Ilocos and Nueva Ecija," said Baroa.
The Clark to Dubai flights will be using the airline's Boeing 777-ER aircraft, with introductory fares for the direct flight starting at P30,691 (AED 2,605).