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Sunlight Air kicks off hub transfer to Clark

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Inaugural Clark hub flight of Sunlight Air taxiing for departure. (Photo by BCDA)

Filipino boutique airline Sunlight Air officially moved its operations from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila to Clark International Airport on Monday, April 1.

The maiden flight from Clark, Sunlight Air flight 2R-601, departed for Busuanga at 2:10 PM. Upon taxi for departure, the ATR 72-500 aircraft received a ceremonial water cannon salute to mark the inaugural event.

In a short ceremony before the inaugural flight, Sunlight Air Chief Executive Officer Ryna Brito-Garcia justified its transfer to Clark, saying, “It’s a lot more spacious. They have [an] innovative approach in doing things also. They have the self-check-in kiosk. They have the baggage drop. And I think that’s everything our airline stands for. That’s the reason why we chose Clark Airport.”

Sunlight Air initially announced the switch to Clark in February this year. This has met with positive and negative reactions from passengers on social media, owing to the fact that travelers need to travel to Clark to board their flights initially booked with a departure from Manila.

However, with the state-of-the-art facilities in Clark, especially with the opening of its new passenger terminal building, Brito-Garcia believes that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages in terms of comfort and experience for passengers.

With the move to Clark, Brito-Garcia is convinced it will open up a broader market segment for Sunlight Air, as the airport serves as the main gateway to Central Luzon.

“A lot of people would be surprised, of course Central Luzon’s population is big. Our biggest population in Metro Manila is Quezon City, it is very congested. For now, a lot of people do not know about Clark yet but I think in time, we will get there,” she said.

Sunlight Air will now operate direct flights from Clark to Busuanga and San Vicente. Flights to San Vicente and Caticlan (Boracay) would also begin on April 4 and April 30, respectively.

Opening its new hub in Clark will pave the way for the regional airline to expand its route network in the next two to three years. This includes adding new regional jets, with the Airbus A320 and the Airbus A220 as the serious contenders.

Written by
Dirk Andrei Salcedo

An aviation enthusiast turned creator of the top aviation news portal in the Philippines, Dirk has a deep passion for everything that flies. When he's not keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry, he also volunteers with a major humanitarian organization, impacting people on the ground and in the sky.

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