Regular travellers going between the Philippines and the Middle East will soon have one less flight option, with Philippine Airlines set to drop its flights between Manila and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia later this year.
The thrice-weekly flights PR662/PR663, which fly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, will be have their final flight on September 19.
Passengers with flights booked on the route beyond this date will have the option of rebooking, rerouting or refunding their tickets within 30 days of the original flight date without incurring any additional costs.
In a recent statement regarding the route’s cancellation, the airline said it will “maintain its presence in other parks of the Middle East”, which currently include daily flights to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia as well as daily flights to Dubai, a four-times-weekly service to Doha and thrice-weekly flights to Abu Dhabi.
That being said, it was around this time last year the airline made a similar decision to drop its service to Abu Dhabi, only for it to reverse its decision a little under a week after the route’s final flight. The service was eventually resurrected on October 31.
The airline’s use of the phrase “temporarily suspending” could, therefore, mean that this decision is indeed be another very temporary measure, though this does seem to be a distant possibility. It is also worth noting that airlines frequently describe route cancellations as temporary suspensions regardless of the likelihood of them being resumed.
Regardless, Philippine Airlines does have other network expansion plans scheduled for the last quarter of this year, notably with new direct flights to New Delhi and Mumbai in India and Sapporo in Japan.
The airline will also be cutting out the Vancouver stopover from its Manila-New York JFK service, turning it into a non-stop operation.
In the next few weeks, the airline also will be taking delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which it aims to deploy on long-haul routes to Europe and the North American East Coast.
That being said, at present its soon-to-be non-stop New York operation is still scheduled to be flown by its Boeing 777-300ER, the same aircraft it began flying to London last summer.
Meanwhile starting next week, the airline is set to begin flying its new A321neo aircraft (along with new cabins) on its Manila-Brisbane service.
Philippine Airlines will become the first airline to offer a narrowbody flight to Australia with fully flat seating in business class.