MANILA, Philippines — Clark International Airport (CRK) bagged an award at the Routes Asia 2024 held in Langkawi, Malaysia this week.

CRK won the Routes Asia Marketing Awards under the 5 million Passenger airport category. The airport was recognized after it handled nearly two million passengers in 2023, or a 160% increase from the previous year.

The award received by CRK recognizes excellence in route development marketing.

It competed against Cairns Airport, Australia; GMR Goa International Airport, India; Hat Yai International Airport, Thailand; and Sendai International Airport, Japan under the category.

Aside from the significant passenger growth, CRK also successfully onboarded five new airlines including four international carriers last year. It also expanded its network with 13 additional destinations in a bid to “enhance connectivity and foster positive trends in the broader aviation sector.”

To date, CRK caters to local routes including tourist destinations Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, among others.

Meanwhile, Noel Manankil, Chief Executive Officer and President of Luzon International Premiere Airport Development Corp. (LIPAD), the operator of CRK, said that they are honored to receive the award. He sees this recognition as a reminder to provide better airport service.

‘Collective efforts’

“We express our deepest gratitude to the committee behind Routes Asia 2024 for recognizing our efforts and contribution in the aviation and tourism industry. This is not just an achievement, but a testament to the collective efforts of an incredible team of individuals who have stayed true and committed to the company throughout this journey,” Manankil said.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to show how much CRK has grown and progressed, and for fostering an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and dedication. Receiving this award is not just a recognition of past achievements but a reminder of our responsibility to continue to strive and deliver the best airport service and experience that our passengers deserve,” he added.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, vice chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board likewise expressed gratitude for the Routes Asia award.

“We are grateful for the recognition bestowed upon Clark International Airport at the Routes Asia Marketing Awards. Winning in the Under 5 Million Passengers category underscores the Marcos Administration’s commitment to excellence in route development marketing. This achievement reflects the dedication of the travel and air transport team and the resilience of CRK, showcasing its remarkable growth and positive impact on the aviation and tourism industries,” Frasco said.

“Receiving the Routes Asia Marketing Award is not just a triumph for Clark International Airport, it is also a testament to the collaborative efforts of the travel and tourism industry team and the unwavering support from the aviation community. This award fuels our commitment to continue pushing for the enhancement of connectivity and delivering top-notch airport services to our passengers through the healthy collaboration of our government air transportation agencies and private sector partners,” she added.

When she took office, Frasco asked the Department of Tourism “to lobby for the full maximization of the country’s regional gateways, including Clark.”

She acknowledged that “unlike its ASEAN counterparts such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, which benefit from cross-border travel, connectivity remains the paramount challenge for the Philippines.”

Because of this, Frasco said the DOT backs the maximizing the use of other international airports outside Metro Manila, including Clark and Cebu gateways to expand direct flights to key and emerging destinations across the country.

The DOT is working with the transportation department and other concerned stakeholders to increase the country’s connectivity.

The tourism department eyes to register 7.7 million international visitors this year.