Tulabut: More Clark flights

“Let us give it to him.”

THIS phrase I would always hear from college journalism professor and mentor (still) Bong Lacson. He would make this remark whenever he sees good work done by somebody, even if the person happens to be a not-so-friendly individual.

He has been saying (and writing) that in the case of Alex Cauguiran, president of Clark International Airport Corporation (airport code: CRK). But don’t get me wrong there, Cauguiran is definitely a darling of the press since his street parliamentarianism days. Or even since his student activism years.

When President Duterte appointed him almost two years ago now, there was only one regular domestic flight (Clark-Cebu by Cebu Pacific Air) and a very few other regional flights that have onward connections to US, Europe and other Asian cities. Asiana Airlines was one of them that succeeded since the time of Dr. Emmanuel Angeles and Chichos Luciano, who worked together in Clark to bring the Clark-Incheon flight – the most successful international service to date.

CRK has had its ups and downs. Towards the end of the Aquino Administration, a lot of airlines pulled out services in Clark. Even those that boldly announced they had made Clark as their “hub” at the start of their operations ceased and moved elsewhere (ex. Air Asia, Emirates, United Parcel Service).

The only birds left aside from Cebu Pacific and Asiana were literal birds that cluttered on CRK’s apron, tarmac and even the runway.

Comes now a complete turnaround of developments. In a span of less than 24 months, there are now 456 flights per week at CRK. A week, yes, that is right. Not per month basis.

Cauguiran has been widely credited for helping bring in more airlines to Clark that now fly to 160 international and 296 domestic routes, respectively.

He also announced the possibility of having more Clark flights to and from Thailand, China, Japan and Indonesia after meeting with 16 airline executives. This, after having attended Routes in Australia last week.

Routes is an annual gathering of airline executives and their representatives who meet up with airport operators and managers all over the globe.

That huge number – 456 – I bet is more than the number of buses that ply Clark-Metro Manila route. Yes, there are now P2P buses in Clark that go to NAIA, North Edsa and the recent addition of Subic and Dagupan routes.

I would not be surprised if the number of total weekly flights is more than the number of buses that service Clark.

While Mr. Cauguiran definitely was given a hand by bosses, peers and colleagues in DOTr, BCDA and CDC for bringing in more flights, his efforts will always be recognized by the stakeholders of Clark and the travel industry.

Loud as he might be to some, he has every (bragging) right to be especially when he accomplishes something that redound to greater benefits for the country.

Let us give it indeed to him for bringing in more and more flights at CRK.

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Part of Cauguiran’s efforts are flights to new domestic destinations like Busuanga, Tagbilaran, Cagayan De Oro and others.

On the regional front, Clark launched on March 27 the very first flight to Japan.

Clark’s newest international flight brings a lot of promise as the latest addition to its Asian destinations have been fully booked.

Jetstar Asia’s Clark-Osaka-Clark flight reached full passenger capacity for both inbound and outbound.

Bara Pasupathi, Jetstar Asia CEO, said that seats in the the maiden Clark flight to and from Osaka have been sold out.

“I have a problem with the flight. I don’t have a seat on the flight. The flight It is full. 180 seats sold (Clark) to Osaka and 180 seats from Osaka to Clark,” Pasupathi said.

What a good problem there for Mr Pasupathi and Jetstar Asia that he announced on the eve of the maiden flight that he was set to board using an Airbus A-320. He might have no choice but to sit next to the pilots in the cockpit if that is allowed.

“This tells you of great investments in Clark,” he added.

Pasupathi said that there are about about 41 Japanese companies in lark

Jetstar Asia has started its thrice weekly Osaka flights out of Clark International Airport. It services that route on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

It first mounted flights in Clark in September last year when it launched the Clark-Singapore route to its 44 services to Osaka, Nagoya, Narita, Singapore, Manila and Clark.
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