Philippine Airlines moving flights from Manila to Clark

Filipino Time - Philippine AIrlines move to Clark

Philippine Airlines transfers several flights from Manila’s NAIA-2 airport (MNL) to Clark in Pampanga province (CRK). The transfer will be effective as from September 1, 2016. 

It is known that Manila International Airport (MNL) is almost permanently congested. Many solutions had been discussed, but none had ever been implemented. Already earlier this year, Cebu Pacific Air (5J) moved all their ATR-72 flights from NAIA-3 to NAIA-4. This decongests NAIA terminal 3, but has no positive effect on usage of the runways. The congestion remains a big problem for airlines and passengers. PAL’s move has a more positive impact, but it is only a small drop of water on a very hot stone!

PAL moves 5 daily flights and 9 flights with lower frequency out of NAIA. This is nothing compared with the daily 650 flights from/to NAIA. PAL’s moved flights make about 1 percent. There must be other reasons. Let’s first have a look on the transferred flights.

This morning PAL (Philippine Airlines) published this announcement on Facebook – yes, Facebook.


Philippine Airlines · Sunday, August 28, 2016

Philippine Airlines will be implementing flight schedule changes effective September 1, 2016 and will soon operate flights out of Clark International Airport.  These moves are being carried out in support of the government’s thrust to decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).  The airline is seeking the kind understanding of its passengers as it implements this move geared towards decongesting the country’s main airport.  Affected passengers may rebook within 30 days from their original flight date or within the ticket validity period. They also have the option to reroute their flight to the nearest destination of their choice or to request for a full refund of the ticket within 30 days from their original flight date.  PAL is waiving rebooking, rerouting and refund fees / charges of these affected flights.

The following flights which have been given new schedules are as follows:
PR 2071/2072 MNL/CALBAYOG/MNL WED (EFF 14SEP 2016)

Philippine Airlines apologizes for any inconvenience as it continues to support the government’s drive to make air travel safe, secure, and seamless for all passengers.
For more flight information, passengers may call PAL hotline (02) 855-8888, visit or visit the nearest PAL ticketing office or travel agency which facilitated the issuance of your ticket.

How to get from MNL to CRK?

If for any reason you need to take one of these transferred flights, you have to get to Clark airport. The road distance is about 110 kilometres and travel time is 2 to 4 hours. Just a comparison: in New York the distance from Central Park to JFK airport is 29 kilometres and travel time is around 1 hour.

Philippine Airlines writes nothing about shuttle busses. So you seem to be on your own. We have calculated the taxi and bus fares with our new taxi calculator and bus calculator. An airport taxi costs a minimum of 1684.17 pesos during peak time this amount can go up to 3368.34 pesos. Busses are much cheaper – Aircon bus fare is from 207.00 to 280.00 pesos, but you have first to go to the bus terminal either in Pasay or Cubao. Count another 30 t0 60 minutes with a taxi.

This transferred flights seem only to be interesting for you, if you come from abroad and fly directly to Clark. See below …

What is the real reason for this move?

Earlier we wrote that the transferred PAL flights make only 1 percent of all the passenger flights from/to NAIA. If you count also the cargo and general aviation flights, the percentage drops even lower. In our opinion the praised decongestion cannot be the real reason. So, why do they move?

Currently only Emirates and Qatar offer long haul flights from and to Clark. Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air and Tigerair offer regional connections to Seoul, Singapore and Busan. Comparing these international destinations with PAL’s local destinations makes us think that these operation is a “Boracay pump“. 6 out of 14 flights link Clark with Boracay. If you add also the Kalibo flight, then you get half of the displaced flights going to Boracay. Koreans and Gulf emirates citizens love Boracay. Around former boat station #1 everything is in Korean hands. Higher up in the hills you find the luxurious properties of middle-east owners.

Any other possible reasons? Please use the comment space at the end of the page to share your thoughts.

We are curious?


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9 Responses

  1. Mario Basa says:

    Is it difficult to imagine that Filipinos leaving in Central Luzon would like also to go to Boracay? Not all Filipinos live in Metro Manila.

    • waebi says:

      Hi Mario,

      Of course not!
      How many “Central Luzon Filipinos” do you think fly every day to Boracay? 10, 100, 1000?
      But of course, it is a great advantage to have domestic and international flights just out of the door step.
      I wouldn’t say no to have these flights from our local airport.

      I just tried to understand PAL’s move. They surely didn’t do it to free capacity for NAIA, they want to make more money.
      One of the other theories I heard is, that PAL will free some of their slots in Manila for future long haul flights.
      The near future will explain …

      Cheers, waebi

  2. Mario Basa says:

    Well, the number will definitely be more than the Koreans or Arabs that will go to Boracay from Clark (btw, the arrivals from the Middle East to Clark are mostly OFWs which can now easily transfer to the Visayas).

    I really wish we can have numbers of how many passengers there are who have to bear EDSA just to go to NAIA from North Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Zambales, Pangasinan, etc.

    Anyway, PAL moving to Clark is good news and hopefully more airlines will follow, both domestic and international.

  3. Leandro Cruz says:

    There use to be daily flights Clark-Kalibo from Air Asia and a few days a week fromTiger Air. Very convenient for me and wife,since I’m from Pampanga and my wife is from Aklan. I hate the drive on EDSA to NAIA,I wish they will bring more international flights from LA to Clark,our home base to decongest metro Manila. Instead of single flight from Asiana that cost $200 more from MNL.

  4. Andrew Powell says:

    There were 24 flights per day from Clark 6 years ago. When Aquino stepped in and forced CRK to raise its’ landing fees to force the flights away from what he saw as Gloria’s airport, a number of international carriers refused to transfer to the now dangerous NAIA and stopped flying to the Philippines altogether, hurting tourism and Philippine commerce. It also hurt the thousands of Central and North Luzon based passengers who then had to endure a 4 – 6 hour ride very often, to NAIA instead of departing from the now hobbled CRK. Has anyone looked at the safety margin between landings & take-offs at NAIA. I landed there and 17 seconds after the wheels touched, I saw the next waiting plane accelerate down the runway… This is a major accident waiting to happen!!!! FAA Be Aware……

    • waebi says:

      Hi Andrew,
      Thank you for your comment.
      That NAIA is dangerous everybody knows. The daily delays are also well known and feared.
      The problem with the landing fees is a Philippine speciality. The fee not only depends on weight and size, but also on the distance flown between origin and destination. This is why KLM introduced a “technical” stop over in Taiwan. The fee is much lower when flying in from Taipei than from Amsterdam.
      I really hope that the PAL operation from CRK will be successful. For instance they only move their Q400/DHC8-400 flights with one or two exceptions.
      Cheers, waebi

  5. Clark Hotel says:

    Hi what is the update on this moving flights to Clark?

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