CLARK FIELD, PAMPANGA, NOVEMBER 10,  2003  (STAR) By Ding Cervantes — Clark officials have high hopes that the regular twice-a-week flights of Asiana Airlines launched the other week between South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here, will beckon other airlines to follow suit and even extend operations to Middle East countries.

Since the launch, Jose Victor Luciano, executive vice president of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC), said Asiana flights between the two destinations have been almost fully booked.

On its second flight back to Clark on Nov. 2, Asiana reported that all seats were booked by tourists and businessmen from Korea, Japan and the United States.

The Incheon-Clark flights use an Airbus A321 which has a capacity of 177 passengers.

"We are looking forward to Asiana increasing the flights to thrice a week, and it is not wishful thinking that other airlines, particularly those flying to Middle East countries where we have millions of overseas Filipino workers, would also implement plans to tap the Clark airport as a destination," said Emmanuel Angeles, CDC president and chief executive officer.

The Clark-Incheon flights leave at 1 a.m. on Mondays and at 6 a.m. on Fridays, while the return flights depart Incheon at 10:35 p.m. on Sundays and at 11:35 p.m. on Thursdays.

Luciano said the Clark special economic zone is now a booming destination of Korean tourists. He cited statistics showing that Koreans now comprise the third biggest number of tourist arrivals in the country, next to the Americans and the Japanese.

By yearend, he estimated that 250,000 Koreans would have visited the Philippines which, together with Thailand, seems to be among the top destinations of Koreans.

Luciano said the number of Korean tourists is expected to peak this December as they seek respite from their cold winter starting mid-November.

Korean golf enthusiasts enjoy their favorite pastime at the Mimosa Golf and Country Club and the Fontana Golf Club, both located at this economic zone; the Luisita Golf and Country Club in nearby Tarlac City, and in other golf courses in Baguio City and Metro Manila.

From Seoul, Asiana also flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Guam and Saipan in the United States, and London and Frankfurt in Europe, 14 cities in Japan, 12 cities in China, and several other destinations in Asia and Oceania.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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