FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced on Wednesday that it will be reopening direct flights to two more cities in mainland China, the second-largest source of tourists for the Philippines.
“We are forging ahead with the restoration of PAL’s Greater China flight network, an investment that will strengthen our connections to the economic hubs in the mainland and help boost bilateral relations between the Filipino and Chinese people,” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Stanley K. Ng said in a press release.
“We hope that our relaunch of flights to Beijing and Shanghai will help fuel a rebound in tourist and business travel. Our goal is to once again operate the largest network of flights on multiple routes between mainland China and the Philippines,” he added.
Starting Feb. 14, the flagship airline will be reopening its direct flights to Shanghai, while it will be relaunching its Beijing route a week after or on Feb. 21.
PAL’s Manila-Shanghai-Manila service will initially have three flights a week and will increase to daily by March 26, while the Manila-Beijing-Manila service will initially have two flights per week that will increase to four times a week beginning March 26.
The airline said that mainland China was one of the country’s top sources of tourists before the pandemic with 1.74 million residents visiting the Philippines.
With the additional flights to Shanghai and Beijing, the carrier will now fly to four mainland China destinations together with Xiamen and Guangzhou (Canton).
The company said that it is also looking to resume flights to Quanzhou (Jinjiang) and Macau by March this year.
It is targeting to open two flights to Jinjiang on March 19, 22 and 24, which will increase to daily starting March 26, while it will restore its twice weekly flights to Macau beginning March 26.
Meanwhile, PAL is also increasing the frequencies of its existing routes to Xiamen and Guangzhou.
The airline will be increasing its flights to Xiamen to twice a week starting Feb. 14 and to thrice a week starting Feb. 25, while flights to Guangzhou will increase to twice weekly on Feb. 16 and to daily by March 26.
“PAL is working closely with Chinese and Philippine health and aviation authorities to ensure the highest level of health safety protections for travelers,” the airline said.
Before the pandemic, the flagship carrier served the mainland Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen for a total of 34 weekly flights. — Justine Irish D. Tabile