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Emirates to close Clark, Philippines route

Dubai: Emirates airline will no longer fly to Clark International Airport in the Philippines from May this year, the airline confirmed on Sunday, just months after launching the route.

“Emirates can confirm that it is suspending its daily, non-stop service between Clark International Airport and Dubai from May 1, 2014,” an Emirates spokesperson stated.

The airline decided to end the route “after a review of the airline’s operations to ensure the best utilisation of its aircraft fleet for its overall business objectives”.

Emirates executives were bullish on passenger and cargo traffic potential when it launched the daily flight to Clark in October 2013. Clark International is roughly 100 kilometres north of Manila.

The route added around 160 tonnes of cargo capacity each week to the existing Emirates Dubai-Philippines services and operated in addition of the three times daily Emirates Dubai-Manila services.

But the ill-fated route has suffered from overcapacity with flights between the two countries also operated by Philippine Airline, PAL Express and Cebu Pacific.

“Four new flights resulted in more capacity than the market can absorb,” said Brendan Sobie, chief analyst at CAPA — Centre for Aviation.

The Emirates spokesperson stated that its three daily non-stop flights between Manila and Dubai will continue to operate and that alternative flights will be arranged for passengers impacted by the closure of the Clark route.

Etihad Airways has so far refrained from flying into Clark and has maintained its twice daily Abu Dhabi-Manila service. But Sobie said that Qatar Airways, which flies to Manila and Clark, could come under pressure if Cebu Pacific enters Doha.