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23
Nov

PAL to open new domestic, int’l flights from hubs

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By Emmie Abadilla | Manila Bulletin

Next month, starting December 6, Philippine Airlines (PAL ) will start operating a non-stop thrice weekly service on the Manila-Auckland, New Zealand route.

The flights will significantly bring down travel time from the current 13.6 hours to 10 hours.

PR 218 departs Manila every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 11:15 p.m. and arrives in Auckland at 2:05 p.m. local time the following day. PR 219 leaves Auckland every Friday, Saturday and Tuesday at 12:30 a.m. local time and touches down in Manila at 5:45 a.m.

The airline currently operates flights to New Zealand with a Cairns, Australia stop-over using the narrow-body Airbus A320. The new service will shift to the wide-body Airbus A340 aircraft more suitable for long-haul flights.

Already, 23,431 New Zealand residents visited the Philippines in 2016, reflecting a 14% increase from 2015 levels. In the first half of 2017, NZ visitors increased more than 30% from 2016 figures.

An estimated 23,000 Filipinos visited New Zealand in the year ending 2017 (showing a 103% growth over a three-year period.

By December 16, PAL will also be flying non-stop, thrice weekly from Manila to Toronto, Canada.

The non-stop service via the Boeing 777 will reduce travel time from 16 hours to 14.4 hours.

PR118 leaves Manila every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4:15 p.m. and arrives in Toronto at 5:55 p.m. local time on the s a.m.e day. Return flight PR119 departs Toronto every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:15 a.m. local time and touches down in Manila at 5:45 a.m. the following day.

PAL will accept delivery of two more Boeing 777-300s next month (December) and two Airbus A350-900s within the first half of 2018, allowing the flag carrier to add non-stop frequencies between Manila and the US West Coast and open a non-stop Manila-New York service.

Currently, the MNL-NYC service stops over in Vancouver.

In the meantime, PAL will be introducing into service the long-range version of the Airbus A321 NEOs, which will enable the flag carrier to open new non-stop routes such as Manila-Brisbane and Manila-New Delhi.

Furthermore, on December 1, PAL will open new routes out of Cebu which will further enhance the Visayan hub’s connectivity with Northern Mindanao and the Bicol Region.

PAL’s Bombardier Q400 Next Generation turboprops will service the new routes: Cebu-Siargao, Cebu-C a.m.iguin, Cebu-Oz a.m.iz and Cebu-Legaspi.

Also on the s a.m.e day (Dec1), flights from Clark to Legaspi, Masbate Calbayog and Catarman will be launched. PAL’s 86-seater dual class Bombardier Q400s will serve the new domestic connections.

By December 15, PAL will open more new routes: Clark-Bacolod and Clark-Tagbilaran.

Clark-Cagayan de Oro and Clark-Virac flights are slated to begin on December 16 and 10, respectively.

On January 15, 2018, the airline will open Clark-Naga and Clark-Legazpi flights.

The new domestic operations – which will help relieve NAIA congestion – will enable travelers from the country’s regions to reach Central Luzon without having to touch down in NAIA and travel by land from Manila.

The thrice weekly Cebu-Bangkok service is all set for December 2  a.m.idst public demand for direct non-stop flights from Asian destinations to Central Visayas.

PR578 departs Mactan, Cebu at 9:25 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrives in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 12:10 a.m. local time. PR579 leaves Bangkok at 1:30 a.m. local time every Wednesday/Friday/Sunday and touches down at 6:15 a.m..

Travelers from Thailand can now link directly to Cebu and fly to any of the following domestic destinations PAL flies to from Cebu, n a.m.ely: Bacolod, Busuanga, Butuan, Cagayan, Caticlan, Davao, C a.m.iguin, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Legaspi, Oz a.m.iz, Puerto Princesa, Siargao and Tacloban.

From Cebu, visitors may also take PAL flights to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Singapore, Chengdu and Beijing (Peking).

On December 1, PAL will link Cebu to more points in Mindanao – Siargao, C a.m.iguin and Oz a.m.iz. The new flights are part of the ongoing expansion of PAL Cebu, considered the flag carrier’s primary hub outside Manila.

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