Philippine Airlines (PAL) resumed flights to the Middle East this week, with the launch of a new service between Manila and Abu Dhabi.
The national carrier welcomed a brand new Airbus A330-300 into its fleet in late-September, and used the 414-seat aircraft to commence the new route. Services will now operate five times a week, departing Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 1625. The return flights will depart Abu Dhabi at 1225 the following day.
“The return of PAL to the Middle East will not only offer Filipino workers the most direct link to the Philippines but also provide travellers convenient connections with PAL’s extensive international and domestic route network from our hub in Manila,” said the airline’s president, Ramon Ang.
The new A330 and route launch mark the latest stage in PAL’s expansion, following a major investment from San Miguel in March 2012. Since that time, PAL has taken delivery of 17 new aircraft, including Boeing 777s, A340s, A320 and A321s, taking the airline’s total fleet size to 44 jets, with further 60 expected to be added by 2019.
And this fleet expansion is driving a series of new route launches, including new services to Darwin, Brisbane, Perth and Guangzhou. The airline will also launch its first flights to Europe this November, flying direct between Manila and London.
But the Middle East is perhaps the most significant area of expansion for PAL, as it aims to take advantage of demand for flights by Filipino overseas workers in the region. Following the launch of flights to Abu Dhabi, PAL expects to add new routes to Doha, Riyadh and Dammam before the end of the year. The airline’s low-cost subsidiary, PAL Express, will also commence five weekly flights to Dubai next month, marking its first ever long-haul route.