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China Eastern Airlines flies to Shanghai via Clark starting October

MANILA, Philippine – China Eastern Airlines, China’s second largest carrier, will start flying out of Clark airport in Pampanga on October 18, the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC)  announced on Friday July 7.

CIAC said in a statement that the new Clark to Pudong, Shanghai route comes on the heels of a deal between CIAC and China Eastern to augment the airline's flight network and use Clark airport as one of its global hubs.

“The great news is that travelers from North and Central Luzon may now fly China Eastern from Clark to Shanghai and easily connect to the US and other major destinations in Europe and Asia and other international routes,” CIAC president and CEO Alexander Cauguiran said.

China Eastern Airlines is a legacy carrier with a strong presence on routes in Asia, North America, and Australia.

The announcement also comes amid increasing Chinese tourist arrivals to the country.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) counts China as the 3rd largest market for Philippine tourism.  In May, China accounted for 73,649 visitors – a growth of 57.29% compared to the 46,825 visitors from the regional giant who visited the Philippines in the same month last year.

The DOT expects the number of Chinese tourists arrivals to double this year, in view of warmer ties between the Philippines and China under the Duterte administration.

The CIAC also reported that Clark airport has seen increasing passenger traffic –  632,713 passengers and 4,603 domestic and international flights in the first 5 months of the year compared to 950,732 passengers for local and foreign routes for the whole of 2016.

The airport handles 130 international flights and 114 domestic flights weekly. Passenger traffic is projected to reach 1.5 million in 2017.

Cauguiran said that negotiations for direct flights from Clark to the US, Japan, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Taiwan and Thailand are ongoing.

The airport is also set for an upgrade with the construction of the airport's new terminal building, which would allow it to handle 8 million passengers annually. It's  scheduled or completion by the first quarter of 2020.– Rappler.com