Philippine Airline (PAL) has reduced frequencies between Manila and Hongkong from five flights daily to four flights daily, a result of the botched hostage-rescue attempt in August in the Philippine capital.
The tragedy, which resulted in the death of eight Hongkong tourists and the hostage taker – an ex-policeman – prompted the Hongkong government to raise a Black Travel Alert warning against its neighbour. This is likely not to be lowered, officials have indicated, until the inquiry into the incident is over.
The suspended flight is PR312 that departs from Manila at 1935, spends the night in Hongkong and departs as PR313 the next day at 0825.
In a recent statement, PAL said it had suffered losses of PhP15 million (US$337,000) from some 1,100 cancelled bookings from Hongkong and southern China.
At press time, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Cebu Pacific, which also serve the busy Hongkong-Manila route, have not cut any flights.
Candice A Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice-president for sales and distribution, told Business Traveller: “We have seen a softening of forward bookings between Hongkong and Cebu and some Chinese cities and Manila, but we’ve still maintained our four times daily Hongkong-Manila – and we’re going five times daily in November – as well as our daily Hongkong-Cebu and daily Hongkong-Clark.”
Undeterred by the current chill in China-Philippine relations, the low-cost carrier, which has overtaken PAL in terms of domestic passenger loads, launched this week a thrice weekly Manila-Beijing service, its 16th international destination. Today until tomorrow (or until seats last), it is also running the P1,499 (HK$33.67) “Go Lite” seat promotion from Manila and Clark to Hongkong, and from Clark to Macau for travel between November 1 to December 15, 2010.
Margie T Logarta