PAL's Clark Dilemma

2 October 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) plan to make hub at Clark International Airport was put in limbo after desires to connect Clark passengers to Manila was shot down by authorities even before it flew.

The culprit, slot allocations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

PAL proposed to transfer between five to ten daily domestic and international flights to Clark beginning this month but it has since been moved to November since its strategy requires connecting traffic to Manila, which is addressed only by two daily flights between Manila and Clark to ferry passengers.

The airline cancelled 29 local flights operating out of Manila effective Sept. 1, 2016 when Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) found it operating without approved slots. Those cancelled flights covered routes from Manila to Caticlan, Cebu, Calbayog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legaspi, Tablas, and Tuguegarao.

PAL would have wanted them served at Clark hub but its application with Air Coordination Australia (ACA Philippines), a third party slot coordinator at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was rejected three weeks ago due to unavailability of desired slots at NAIA. They were supposedly ferry flights.

“One way of developing the market is for us to operate between Clark and Manila. We filed for slots for Manila-Clark but were denied,” says Jaime Bautista, PAL President and Chief Executive Officer.

“If you really want to develop the market, there should be a flight between the two airports. It’s not too far. It’s a very short flight, but I’m sure there are passengers who are willing to take a shorter travel time and pay a little more as compared to road travel of three to four hours,” Bautista added.

Bautista said the 20-minute ferry flight from Manila to Clark is key in increasing the traffic in Clark.

The airline plans to refile the application with ACA and is optimistic to get slots for two flights a day, one in the morning and another in the evening.

“We’ll find another timing,” added Bautista saying its necessity to its operation.

In the meantime, they are preparing bus shuttle services from Clark to Manila as it signed contract with NLEX e-toll collector Easytrip Service Corp.

PAL hopes to operate international flight services to Seoul initially together with Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and some other cancelled destinations.

1 comment:

  1. PAL President Jaime Bautista announced that starting December 16, 2016, PAL will officially commence the Clark-Caticlan route daily flights at Clark Airport (CIA) with Bombardier Q400 planes, with thrice weekly Busuanga flight following in January 2016.

    PAL said it will also add daily flights to Cebu, Davao(4x) and Cagayan de Oro (3x) beginning January 2017 using A320 aircraft and introduce Seoul as its first international destination. It is expected to add Bacolod, Iloilo and Tacloban by summer of next year.

    PAL will station 2 A320 and 1 Q400 aircraft to operate a total of 21 flights per week at ClA.