CLARK FREEPORT – More Chinese tourists are expected to flock to this freeport with the twice weekly Clark-
Shanghai-Clark flights at the Clark International Airport (CIA) here mounted by Cebu Pacific starting Dec. 21.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President-CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano said one big factor in the Shanghai- Clark fl ights is Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino here which agreed to block 120 seats per flight out of the 160 seats of Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A319.
Luciano said Cebu Pacifi c’s Clark-Shanghai flight was inked initially for a year. But he said it might be extended if it works out well. He added that the new China route was a tripartite agreement between the CIAC, Fontana and Cebu Pacific.
Luciano said Fontana is also looking at Guangzhou and other cities in China to come to Clark. Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, is the third largest Chinese city. In the meantime, Luciano said CIAC is now negotiating with Tiger Airways to take over the fl ights of Philippines AirAsia which transferred its operations to
the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila last October including the Clark-Taiwan route.
But he added that Air China has also signified its interest to take over the Clark-Taipei route. Meanwhile, Luciano said Qatar Airways is doing well with an almost full capacity especially with its incoming flights. He said Qatar Airways started its Clark routes on October 28 with an Airbus A330 which has 260-passenger capacity.
But now they have upgraded to a Boeing 777 to accommodate more passengers, he said. Luciano said Emirates Airlines has already upgraded their aircraft from a Boeing 777-200 to a 777-300ER which means an additional of 170 to 180 passengers.
He expressed satisfaction with the timing of the Middle Eastern flights this Christmas Season as he noted an average of arriving passengers which hit 90 percent. Luciano said in 2012 some 1.3 million passengers
were recorded but it went down by about 30 percent with the Philippines Air Asia pullout in October.
But he said it’s beginning to pick up again. “We will not only survive but we will emerge even better. We are fighting,” Luciano said confidently.