Budget carrier chooses Clark for Philippines hub

Asian low-cost carrier AirAsia has chosen Clark as its hub in the Philippines, as the country's aviation links shift further from the country's capital Manila.

The Filipino affiliate of Malaysia-based AirAsia announced March 24 that Clark's Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, some 80 km from Manila, is to become its hub from late this year, likely to significantly boost the airport's already-soaring numbers.

Clark International Airport, which serves the city of Angeles in Pampanga province, is already the base for Philippines-based budget carrier Cebu Pacific and has seen passenger movements grow by about a hundred fold in less than a decade - from just under 8,000 passengers in 2003 to approximately 600,000 in 2009.

Under current ambitious expansion plans, it will handle a million passengers this year and is set to overtake Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the country's main hub - under the current development plan, it will be capable of processing 80 million passengers annually by 2025.

AirAsia, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, said that the choice of Clark as its 13th regional hub underlined its commitment to developing transportation and tourism hubs outside Manila, and that the airport would offer flights to popular destinations including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Korea and Japan.

The decision is likely to provide a boost to the tourism in the Clark Freeport Zone, once the US's largest overseas military installation but now a rapidly-growing destination.

The region is home to several theme parks, holiday resorts, golf courses and the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, which attracts over 100,000 tourists from 25 countries for the annual festival in February.

http://www.airasia.com
http://www.dmia.ph

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