GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 3 February) — The inaugural flight between General Santos and Clark airport in Pampanga kicked off Monday, this city’s first commercial air route to Luzon outside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the National Capital Region.
Leonard Flores, chief of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, said the new route is serviced by a 50-seater Fokker plane operated by Leading Edge Air Services Corp. and chartered by MAG Travel and Tours.
The opening of the GenSan-Clark route is expected to further boost the tourism and investment potentials not just of the city, touted as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” but also of Soccsksargen or Region 12.
“While we expect to see a lot of local and foreign visitors to Soccsksargen via Clark, we are likewise equally excited to explore the Greater Luzon Area of the Philippines and of course going outside the country thru the Clark exit,” he said.
The Clark international airport, which is located within the Clark Freeport Zone between Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga, is 83 kilometers north of the congested NAIA, the country’s main airport in Pasay City.
Flores lauded the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity project of the United States Agency for International Development for helping make the GenSan-Clark route a reality.
GenSan is the gateway to Soccsksargen , which straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and also the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
MAG Travel will service the new air route every Tuesday and Sunday, Flores said.
The introductory price for the route costs P3,500 one-way, inclusive of the 10-kilogram (kg) checked-in baggage allowance and 7-kg hand carried luggage.
Flores said that MAG Travel and Royal Air Philippines have been in talks for a partnership to serve the route with a larger aircraft.
A larger aircraft will eventually service the route if the number of passengers and volume of cargo will also increase, he added.
Royal Air was established in 2002 as an air charter service. With a new management in 2017, the charter service was intensified with the acquisition of three 97-seater British Aerospace (BAe) AVRO 146 RJ-100 series — a four-engine regional airliner also known as Whisperjet for its very quiet operation.
It began commercial operations in 2018 with flights from NAIA and Clark to various domestic and international destinations.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have been servicing the Manila-GenSan route over the years. The two airlines also service the flights from this city to Cebu and Iloilo and vice versa.