Philippine Airlines (PAL) will mount non-stop flights to New York, India, and Sapporo (Japan) this year.
The airline said it would kick off its Manila-New York (John F. Kennedy Airport) non-stop flights on October 28 while its Manila-New Delhi and Manila-Mumbai service will be unveiled in the last quarter of this year.
A Manila-Sapporo service will commence also in the last quarter of 2018.
PAL is taking delivery of 15 new aircraft within the year, and another six planes in 2019, for its long-haul flights.
PAL said new routes and increased flight frequencies will be introduced, as the carrier is set to receive five additional next-generation Bombardier Q400s and six new Airbus A321neo starting May. In June it will receive four Airbus A350-900 trans-oceanic aircraft.
“Our new aircraft and our new hubs are a winning combination that will help expand our market reach both domestically and worldwide. This is imperative for a global airline, and we must sustain and build on our hard-won four-star rating,” PAL COO Jaime Bautista said.
He added that introducing new routes to India is the airline’s response to the call of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo for a direct link to the country – a potentially rich source of future tourists for the Philippines.
PAL is also planning to launch international routes directly from the Davao International Airport to Bangkok or a point in Japan.
The airline said comprehensive marketing and sales studies are ongoing for the introduction of new destinations in Europe and the US mainland, including Chicago and Seattle.
“We are aiming for 100 aircraft by 2020, which places us in the category of a major carrier. But we are not merely adding more planes, we are constantly upgrading the cabins, seats, amenities, inflight entertainment, and technology,” Bautista said.
Separately, PAL said it would add flights to other tourist destinations in the Philippines to compensate for the potential losses from the closure of Boracay island for six months after President Rodrigo Duterte described it as a “cesspool”.
“We will increase flights to different vacation destinations throughout the country. We expect Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan to benefit as we re-direct more flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Cebu and Puerto Princesa with some traffic flowing on to Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan.We are doing this to convince passengers to explore tourism destinations,” Bautista said.
PAL is also giving more priority to its new hubs – Davao City, Cebu and Clark.“We are no longer just a Manila-centric airline.”