News

PAL plans to serve Heathrow from November

14 Sep 2013 by Alex McWhirter

Philippine Airlines is expected to return to Europe on November 4, ending an absence of 15 years.

Subject to regulatory approval, PAL will launch non-stop flights to London Heathrow using B777-300ERs, according to airlineroute.net.

Reservations have already opened on airline GDSs like Amadeus and Galileo but, at the time of writing, bookings were not possible on PAL’s own website.

Flights will operate five times a week. They are set to depart Manila just after 0800 to offer an early afternoon arrival into London the same day.

The return service is set to depart London in the late afternoon or early evening, to provide a lunchtime or mid-afternoon arrival back in Manila.

Small timing differences reflect the difficulty PAL has faced in obtaining Heathrow slots at the times it wishes to operate.

The departure times from Manila are at an unfashionably early hour for a flight of this length, but the departure times from London and the arrival times in both cities provide scope for arranging onward connections.

PAL configures its two-class B777-300ERs with 42 seats in business class and 328 seats in economy.

Business is disposed seven across 2-3-2, while economy adopts a ten-across 3-4-3 layout which some passengers might find rather tight on what will be a 14 hour flight. More details can be found on seatplans.com.

It is surprising that PAL has chosen Heathrow as its London gateway as airline experts had tipped Gatwick as favourite. Details of which Heathrow terminal will be used by PAL are unclear, but as PAL is a non-alligned carrier, one suspects it will be T4.

A bigger question is how has PAL managed to secure these much coveted slots at our busy main airport?

Also, it was expected that PAL would launch its London service with smaller A340-300s rather than the B777-300ER which is an overly large aircraft to launch a new route such as this.

As a destination, Manila is not well served from Europe – KLM remains the only European carrier with direct flights to the Philippines. It means that many Europeans access the Philippines via a hub in the Gulf or in Asia itself, such as Hong Kong.

It is expected that, as was the case when it last served Europe, PAL will make its best prices available through the travel trade.

Business Traveller will bring you further information when it becomes available.

philippineairlines.com

Alex McWhirter

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