Philippine Airlines eyes Paris and Rome in major expansion

Philippine Airlines' new A350s will replace its old A340s (photo by Digital Media Pro)
Philippine Airlines’ new Airbus A350s will replace its old A340s (photo by Digital Media Pro)

Philippine Airlines is planning to expand its European network in the coming years, including the launch of direct flights to Paris and Rome.

The national carrier recently placed an order for six new Airbus A350 aircraft to fuel its long-haul expansion strategy. And its president & chief operating officer, Jaime J. Bautista, has now revealed that several major European cities could be added the PAL’s route map once the new aircraft are delivered.

“We are studying Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Rome. When the new long-range A350-900s arrive, we will be capable to mount more non-stop flights to Europe,” Bautista.

PAL resumed flights to Europe in 2013, after the Philippines was removed from the EU’s aviation blacklist. It now operates direct flights between Manila and London, and the frequency of this route will be increased to six weekly flights from 4 June and then to a daily service from 28 June.

The airline will also continue to expand its US network, with three weekly direct flights between Cebu City and Los Angeles having already commenced this month, and a new direct service to New York expected to launch once the first A350s are delivered. PAL’s Manila-New York JFK route currently operates via Vancouver.

“Choosing the A350 is anchored on our operational requirements for our new routes. This will definitely strengthen our long-range fleet. Once delivery begins in 2018, the aircraft can be deployed on our North American destinations: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York in the US, and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. The acquisition will enable us to mount additional non-stop service on our premium long-haul services,” Bautista added.

In the Middle East, the airline will launch five weekly flights from Manila to Doha on 28 March, complementing its existing services to Riyadh, Dubai, Dammam, Jeddah, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.

PAL is scheduled to take delivery of two more Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this year. The A350s will then be delivered from late 2018, replacing the airline’s existing fleet of A340s.

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