Jetstar Asia, the Singapore-based low-cost carrier, opened a new route, Clark in Pampanga to Changi Airport in Singapore, on November 28, 2017. The event was marked by a simple ceremony led by executives from the airline, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), and its ground handler in Clark, Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions (PAGSS).
With the airline operating flights three times weekly (Tuesdays-Thursdays-Saturdays) in the interim, Jetstar Asia’s foray into the Clark-Singapore market ends the duopoly long held by Scoot and Cebu Pacific. It hopes to serve those residing in Metro Manila, as well as those who live in North and Central Luzon, who need not travel all the way to Manila. The airline’s entry also allows for it to add capacity on the Manila-Singapore route without exacerbating the air traffic congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the Philippine capital.
JOINING THE INAUGURAL FLIGHT
On the day of the inaugural, I arrived at Clark International Airport (IATA: CRK) plenty early for my 7:00 AM flight, so I’d be able to cover the festivities. I joined a long line at check-in—a good sign for Jetstar Asia on their first Clark to Singapore flight.
As I was done checking in, I chanced upon Jetstar Asia CEO Bara Pasupathi and Head of Commerical Francis Loi exchanging pleasantries with CIAC President Alex Caguiran. Before long, however, the flight from Singapore to Clark was already due to land, so I had to clear immigration quickly and proceed to the departure hall.
As if by design, Jetstar Asia flight 3K777 from Singapore to Manila landed dramatically at the crack of dawn with Mount Arayat as the backdrop. And as customary for inaugural flights, the aircraft was met with a water cannon salute.
The officials welcomed passengers coming into Clark, while the other passengers and I were treated to a sumptuous buffet by a local caterer. It was actually the first time that I attended an inaugural flight with a buffet open for all passengers. There was a photo booth too!
The flight crew later went out of the aircraft to join in on the festivities. As it turned out, the cabin crew included Filipinos. And as the aircraft had been prepared, the ribbon was cut, as led by Mr. Pasupathi and Mr. Caguiran, to mark the first Clark to Singapore flight of Jetstar Asia.
We were called to board, and flight 3K778 departed as scheduled at 7:00 AM with 178 passengers onboard.
In the air, the celebration continued. The friendly crew held a game, giving branded lotion as prizes, and I actually won one.
The rest of the flight was uneventful, and we landed in Singapore on time. But apparently, a surprise was awaiting us at the gate—our friends from Jetstar Asia handed out goodie bags containing souvenirs from the airline and Changi Airport.
In all, it was a happy celebration. Welcome to Clark, Jetstar Asia!