Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight QR930 touched down at the Clark International Airport (CIA) at 9:40 a.m. Monday, bringing with it 112 passengers.
The arrival of the Qatar flight signals the launching of its non-stop daily flights to Clark-Doha and vice versa, which is more convenient for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) mostly from Central and Northern Luzon.
In an interview, Reynaldo Lucas, an OFW from Bataan who was one of Qatar Airways passengers, said it is more convenient arriving at CIA.
“The proximity of Clark to Bataan is really a great factor as we don’t have to hurdle the congested traffic in Manila,” Lucas said.
Another passenger from a connecting flight from Italy, who is from North Luzon, said the opening of Qatar Airways flight in Clark lessens expenses of OFWs from Central and North Luzon.
CIA president and chief executive officer Victor Jose Luciano, for his part, said Clark is “blessed” as Qatar Airways, the world’s five-star airline, has selected this freeport to be their second destination in the Philippines.
Qatar Airways senior vice president for commercial operations-network Woo Yew Seong, who was joined by Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Qatar Cresente Relacion, said Qatar Airways has reached yet another key milestone in the Philippines, with the launch of additional daily flights to this fast-growing country.
"With our new offering, business and leisure travelers to the Luzon area have great connections via Doha from many popular destinations including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Dammam, Riyadh, Montreal, New York, London and Paris,” Seong said.
The ClA route is operated with an Airbus A330 in a two-class configuration of up to 248 seats in economy and up to 36 business class. The aircraft features seatback TV screens providing all passengers in both cabins with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system and a choice of more than 900 audio and video on demand options.
CIA is located about 96 kilometers from Manila, and a complimentary bus service will be available to take passengers to and from Trinoma Mall and Resorts World Manila.
As an inaugural offer, passengers are also entitled to exceptional baggage allowance of up to 40 kilograms valid for travel until January 31, 2014.
Members of Qatar Airways’ frequent flyer program privilege club can earn up to 7,000 bonus miles in economy class and 14,000 bonus in business class for travel on a return trip between October 27 to December 31,2013.
Clark Airport, which is poised to become a new tourism and commercial hub, becomes Qatar Airways’ newest gateway to the Philippines after Manila, further reinforcing the carrier’s commitment to the country.
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said that the new Clark Airport flights offer more daily flights option for passengers and would meet the strong demand for business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives travel between Qatar and the Philippines.
“Qatar Airways is now well-positioned to offer travelers from the Middle East, Europe, and USA the convenience of an additional daily flight to the Philippines via the airline’s Doha hub,” Al Baker said in a statement.
The destination becomes Qatar Airways’ 12th gateway in Southeast Asia after Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi mim Phnom Pehn, Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Manila, Yangon and Phuket and the carrier’s 133rd destination worldwide.
Qatar Airways started operations in Manila in 1995 and is currently flying two daily flights to the capital city.
Along with Clark, the airline is now offering a convenient option of three-daily-flights to the Philippines. (PNA)FFC/zst/MDDR/ps