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03
Jan

PAL starts Incheon flights via Clark

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By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines launched flights to Incheon, South Korea out of Clark International Airport on Jan. 1, 2017, marking the start of overseas operations in the Pampanga air hub, a statement over the weekend showed.

This was in line with PAL’s plans to operate more flights in Clark, which struggles to lure passenger traffic given its distance from Metro Manila.

The move was also partly aimed at decongesting Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

In December last year, PAL started daily flights between Clark and Boracay Airport (Caticlan).

PAL said in its statement that South Korea operations from Clark was a daily service. Being used was the carrier’s 199-seater Airbus A321.

This would also allow passengers from Central and Northern Luzon to fly to Incheon without passing through Manila, PAL said.

“We will operate more flights outside of Manila not just to decongest Naia but mainly to offer convenience to passengers who need not travel to Manila for their desired flights,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said in a statement.

PAL likewise announced it would launch Clark to Davao flights early this year.

Also to be launched by the flag carrier within the first quarter of 2017 are international flights out of Kalibo, another gateway that also serves Boracay island and nearby areas.

Bautista previously said that the addition of a Clark route would help increase aircraft utilization, as well as revenues and overall profitability.

“This is our one way of contributing to the decongestion of Naia. Also, it’s our way of contributing to the reduction of [road] traffic here in Metro Manila,” Bautista had said.

PAL is operated by Tan-controlled PAL Holdings Inc., which is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

PAL Holdings saw earnings fall by more than half in the first nine months of 2016, as revenues came in weaker than expected due to lower cargo sales.

The company noted that net income from Jan. to Sept. last year hit P2.55 billion, down 57 percent from the same period in 2015.

Its revenues were slightly higher at P85.35 billion, up 3.5 percent.