Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, one of the world’s largest airlines, may start flying
out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.
Clark Development Corp. president and CEO Felipe Remollo said officials from the
Chinese airline were in town earlier this week to discuss the possibility of daily
flights from Clark.
“They are considering direct flights to Hong Kong and other cities in China. They
want daily flights,” he said in an interview Thursday.
If plans push through, Cathay Pacific would be the largest airline to fly out of
Clark, which is being groomed as the next premiere international gateway to replace
the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in MetroManila.
DMIA is currently used mainly by local and international budget carriers.
Cebu Pacific of the Gokongwei group has named Clark as one of its three major hubs
in the country, the other two being Manila and Cebu.
Malaysian giant Air Asia, through its newly formed subsidiary Air Asia Philippines,
and Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAir), have also chosen Clark for their own hubs.
Several foreign airlines also call Clark their home in the Philippines.
These include Korea’s Aseana Airlines. Remollo said the increase in flights to Clark
would help decongest NAIA, which is struggling with aging facilities and rapidly
increasing passenger traffic.
He said Clark is also a more convenient facility for people living in northern parts
of Metro Manila all the way to provinces like Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Ilocos Sur
“If you look at that catchment area, it accounts for about 25 million people. If
someone living there needs to take a flight out of the country, it will be better
to get to Clark than to go all the way to Pasay,” he said.
Cathay Pacific will be taking advantage of the government’s adoption of an “open
skies” policy, which is part of the administration’s strategy to increase tourist arrivals to
The “open skies” policy, outlined by President Aquino in Executive Order 29, which
was signed earlier this year, liberalizes the granting of international air rights
for all points outside of Manila.
The government now expects to attract 10 million tourists annually to the Philippines
This was a revision from the previous target of six million. Last year, just over
three million foreigners visited the Philippines.
CATHAY MAY SOON FLY OUT OF CLARK By: Paolo G. Montecillo Philippine Daily Inquirer