Resumption of Clark-GenSan flights seen to boost trade, tourism
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, South Cotabato, Philippines — Officials see the revival of the air route between this city and Clark Freeport in Pampanga next month as a big boost to trade and tourism potentials of General Santos, considered the country’s tuna capital, and neighboring areas in South Cotabato, Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani.
“(The opening of air) routes is a proven strategy to sustain trade, investment and tourism promotion interventions,” Leonard Flores, head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, said of Cebu Pacific’s Clark-GenSan-Clark route.
Cebu Pacific, on its website, said it would start operating the Clark-GenSan-Clark link on April 26. It will serve the route every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, leaving Clark at 5:05 a.m. and arriving here at 7:25 a.m., and returning at 7:55 a.m.
Flores said the new air route would benefit not only the local economies of Clark and General Santos but also the wider regions of the two areas, considered significant hubs for trade, tourism, and agriculture. This is also seen to increase business opportunities and promote economic integration, Flores added.
In February 2020, a Fokker-50 aircraft operated by Leading Edge Air Services Corp. started serving the GenSan-Clark-GenSan route twice a week but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the operator to stop the flights.
Without an air link, trips between Clark and General Santos involved multiple transfers and lengthy travel time. Travelers had to go through Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila or Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Visayas before they could reach Clark in Pampanga.
With three flights per week available in April, travel time between Clark and General Santos will be reduced to just over an hour, making it much easier for business travelers, tourists, and locals to get from one city to the other.