Korean Air, Delta mull mounting direct flights via Clark

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

April 19, 2024, 4:19 pm Updated on April 22, 2024, 3:55 pm

<p>Clark International Airport <em>(Photo courtesy of CRK)</em></p>

Clark International Airport (Photo courtesy of CRK)

MANILA – Korean Air (KE) and Delta Air Lines are looking at mounting direct flights to Clark International Airport (CRK).

"Yes, (that) is factual and on spot - we're always monitoring demand to expand services and explore new markets to strengthen our Philippines network," KE's Global Communications Manager Kenneth Lee told the Philippine News Agency.

The two carriers have entered a transpacific joint venture since 2018, connecting people to destinations in America and Asia.

Lee said that with the Korean Air-Delta network, passengers flying from the Philippines would be able to enjoy seamless connections to the United States.

KE flies to 13 destinations in North America and Delta flies to four major hubs in the US.

From Seoul, passengers can connect to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C., Honolulu, Las Vegas, and Boston.

Korean Air also acknowledges the huge clamor of Filipinos to go to South Korea, but its Regional General Manager Byungkwon Lee said the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is already congested.

KE had increased its flights via Manila from twice to thrice daily since Oct. 29.

For 2023, KE's average load factor on the Seoul Incheon - NAIA route was above 85 percent, which they consider very high.

Meanwhile, data from CRK showed the airport had 167,366 arrivals from South Korea in the first quarter of 2024, or 2 percent higher than the 164,528 during the same period last year.

To date, only Jin Air, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, and Aero K fly from Clark to Korea.

Asked about CRK's edge from other international gateways in the country, Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corp. (LIPAD) president Noel Manankil said they have the latest technology for airport systems, and the flights are well-timed to avoid air traffic and runway congestion.

Aside from fast Immigration and Customs processing, Manankil said CRK also boasts of comfortable waiting areas and clean toilets.

He added that there is no traffic going to the CRK because of the various expressways.

Manankil said CRK's operator, LIPAD, targets to recover pre-pandemic passenger volume of 4 million a year.

"We will enhance customer experience to international standards by gaining certification from Airport Council International's Airport Service Quality standards," he said.

He said they would maintain the processing and queuing time of 30 minutes or less.

The surrounding land will also be developed, he said.

CRK was recently awarded by Routes Asia as winner in the Under 5 Million Passengers category. (PNA)