Philippine Airlines is set to launch new non-stop flights to New York, New Delhi, Mumbai and Sapporo this year as the airline prepares to take delivery of 15 new aircraft in 2018.
Beginning October 28, the airline will be cutting out the Vancouver stopover on its New York JFK service turning it into a four-times-weekly, non-stop operation. This will be followed by direct routes to both New Delhi and Mumbai in India, and Sapporo in Japan by the last quarter of 2018.
The change to a non-stop route will shave off about two hours from the Manila-New York flight when flying out of Manila, enabling the airline to depart 1.5 hours later than the current schedule and still arrive 30 minutes earlier. The return leg, meanwhile, departs New York two hours and 40 minutes later than the current one-stop flight, but arrives that much earlier, cutting off over five hours of travel time.
|PR126||Manila (MNL)||New York (JFK)||1830||2200||Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat|
|PR127||New York (JFK)||Manila (MNL)||0300||0610+1||Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun|
Philippine Airlines will fly its two-class Boeing 777-300ER between Manila and New York, which it outfits with 42 business class seats in a 2-3-2 layout, and 328 economy class seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. Last summer, the airline began flying the B777-300ER to London.
Schedules for the New Delhi, Mumbai and Sapporo non-stop flights have yet to be announced.
According to the airline, the new routes to India are a response to calls by Wanda Corazon Teo, the Department of Tourism Secretary, for a direct link between the Philippines and India.
The carrier is also weighing up the possibility of launching new routes from Davao International Airport to Bangkok or a destination in Japan in future, and is currently engaged in marketing and sales studies to assess the possibility of new routes to destinations in Europe and the US, namely Chicago and Seattle.
Along with these new routes, the airline has been upping frequency on a number of its domestic and regional flights, most notably its Cebu-Bangkok route that last month jumped from three times a week to once a day.
The expansion of Philippine Airlines’ network comes as the airline prepares to take delivery of five Bombardier Q400 and six Airbus A321neo aircraft starting next month, along with four A350-900 aircraft beginning this June. Overall, the airline is set to receive 15 new aircraft this year and six in 2019, with further fleet expansion expected to continue through to 2024.
“Our current fleet of 85 aircraft is already the largest in the Philippines,” said Jaime J Bautista, president of Philippine Airlines. “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, in-flight entertainment and technology. We aspire to ultimately become a five-star global airline, to be a source of pride for all Filipinos.”
Among these upgrades was the retrofitting of the airline’s A330-300s into a three-class configuration last June, changing from an all-economy 414-seat aircraft to a 309-seat plane with business and premium economy cabins.
Unlike the B777-300ER, the reconfigured A330-300s provide direct aisle access for all passengers in business class, which features the Thompson Vantage XL business class seat.