Philippine Airlines is cutting out the Darwin stopover from its Manila-Darwin-Brisbane service starting March 27, 2018 turning the service into a non-stop flight to and from the Queensland capital.
The removal of the Darwin stopover will see flights take just under seven hours, as opposed to the nine hours and 20 minutes of the current service.
Initially, flights will run three times per week as PR221/PR222, leaving Manila at 2330 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and arriving in Brisbane the following morning at 0920. The return flights will then depart Brisbane at 1100 on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays before arriving back in Manila at 1700.
An additional weekly flight is expected to take off on May 1, though the timing for this fourth-weekly flight differs from the other three. While the PR221/PR222 flight numbers will be retained, the departing flight from Manila will take off on Tuesdays at 1255 and arrive in Brisbane at 1045, and the flight from Brisbane will depart at 1200 and land back in Manila at 1800.
Unfortunately for travellers between Manila and Darwin, the airline will no longer operate these flights as of March 27, deeming such a stand-alone service “uneconomically sustainable”.
The airline’s 254-seat Airbus A340 aircraft will initially fly the route. These come with 36 seats in business class separated across two cabins (24 in the first, 12 in the second) in a 2-2-2 layout. Unfortunately these are not fully flat seats. Pitch is 54 inches and width is 21 inches.
Economy is laid out 2-4-2 with a total of 218 seats, each offering 33 inches of pitch and a tight 17 inches of width.
However, Philippine Airlines is set to switch over to its newer A321neo aircraft some time in the first half of 2018. These do feature fully flat business class seats, and the airline expects to deploy the aircraft – along with its new-cabin A330s – on its services to Sydney and Melbourne as well as Brisbane.
Philippine Airlines has been streamlining a number of its routes recently by cutting out existing stopovers. On December 3, 2017 the carrier began flying non-stop to Auckland, dropping its Cairns stopover, and on December 17 it began flying non-stop to Toronto by cutting out its Vancouver stopover.