SOUTH Korean low-cost airline Fly Gangwon announced on Thursday that it resumed its operations at the Clark International Airport, indicating confidence in the market for air travel between the Philippines and South Korea.

Fly Gangwon’s operations at the Clark airport were temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, which restricted international travel, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“The airline only operates in Clark, making Clark Fly Gangwon’s first and only Philippine destination,” it added.

According to the company, travelers arriving in South Korea through Yangyang International Airport can visit Gangwon and Seoul City center for up to 15 days under the country’s visa waiver program, but they must be part of a group tour.

“Tourists should also be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and must also be booked through accredited travel agencies.”

In May, the Tourism department announced that South Korea’s largest low-cost airlines were added to the list of airlines operating direct flights from the Clark airport.

“Jeju Air will launch its Incheon-Clark-Incheon route every Thursday and Sunday, while Jin Air will offer the same route beginning on May 16, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday,” it said in a statement.

“Other foreign flights that will be utilizing the new passenger terminal include destinations to and from Singapore via Jetstar and Scoot; Doha via Qatar Airways; Air Asia; and Dubai via Emirates. Local air carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines will also have flights operating at the new passenger terminal,” it added.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the opening of the new passenger terminal of Clark airport is expected to boost the local travel industry’s recovery. The new 110,000-square meter passenger terminal building is a hybrid public-private partnership project under the government’s Build, Build, Build program.

“Clark is one of the destinations included in the recently concluded World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit. More than just a freeport zone, clearly, this place is an emerging tourism hub that has great potential to bring huge gains for the tourism industry,” she added. — Arjay L. Balinbin