AS AN Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) before in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for three years, I observed that Filipino workers who are leaving for vacation to the Philippines abhor flying via Saudia Airlines because they do not serve alcoholic drinks aboard and sanitize the alleged excesses of the West in their newspapers and movies.
The apparent inflight restrictions compelled me like other OFWs to fly via Singapore Airlines which are sparkling clean and of course they serve alcoholic drinks. I remember a flight from Jeddah to Singapore where I consumed Black Label like a freeman would do. Remember, I’d been to the Kingdom and each time that I go home was like a parole from maximum prison.
It was no surprise that when the aircraft arrived in Changi International Airport, I was already inebriated, again like a freeman. Another airline of choice for OFWs then is Emirates because some Filipinos would prefer to go to Dubai first before taking their Emirates flights back home.
Last week, OFWs expressed joy when they read in the newspapers in the Middle East that Emirates will launch the daily Dubai-Clark-Dubai flights starting on October 1 this year. Wow, that mean they will either use the Boeing 747s or the 777-300ERs in the Dubai-Clark flights. Believe me, other airlines will follow suit and Clark International Airport will be in for a big “happy” problem on how to expand the airport.
There are other passenger segments that Emirates will bring in when they start their flights – the Europeans and the Arabs. As we can see, most of the visitors here are Korean nationals and they even created the Korea Town along the famous Friendship Highway once dominated by the Americans. I remember the macramé makers along this road catering to US servicemen now only Korean restaurants are dotting the roadside.
“Clark now would be connected to 132 destinations in six continents when Emirates will start flying by third quarter of this year,” said Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano who travelled all the way to Dubai recently to meet with senior officials of Emirates and finalize the agreement to fly to Clark.
Luciano said: “The selection of Clark as a destination by Emirates is a giant leap forward for Clark considering that hundreds of cities all over the world had been inviting Emirates to fly to their airports.” “Clark will endeavor to attract more Europeans and Arabs to visit the Philippines. The impact to tourism and two-way trade will be very positive for the country.”
Emirates will utilize a two-class Boeing 777-300ER for their operations at Clark International Airport.
Emirates Airlines President Tim Clark further said: “There has always been a growing demand for Emirates’ services since we connected Manila with Dubai and our constantly expanding network on six continents. The launch of flights between Clark International Airport and Dubai will offer our passengers the flexibility of choosing from two destinations in the Philippines.”
The Emirates is the largest Middle Eastern airline operating over 2,500 flights per week from its hub in Terminal 3, flying to 132 cities in 74 countries across six continents. It has a fleet of 201 aircrafts made up of 191 passenger planes and 10 cargo planes. Among them are the Boeing 777-300ERs with a capacity of 442 passengers and the Airbus A380-800s with a capacity of 517 passengers. The airline ranks among the top 10 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue and passenger kilometres, and has become the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size, and passengers carried as of 2007.