Flag carrier Philippine Airlines may soon start flights to Doha, Qatar as it expands its network in the Middle East, which is host to millions of overseas Filipino workers.
Documents from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed PAL applying for the remaining unused flight entitlement from Manila to Qatar. The country was given eight entitlements for flights between Manila and Doha per week and another 14 for flights per week between Cebu and Doha. Of these, only one Manila-Doha entitlement remains unused.
This will pave the way for the revival of PAL’s PR 654 and PR 655 service, or flights to and from Doha, respectively.
“PAL has filed an application for the reallocation of unutilized entitlement of at least one frequency to Doha, Qatar,” the CAB said in a notice published this week.
The airline’s application will be the subject of a hearing on April 18.
The flag carrier’s application follows a recent announcement of its return to the Middle East market, starting with flights to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in October.
PAL also announced recently new flights to Brisbane, Darwin and Perth in Australia.
The introduction of new flights is being done as the company takes delivery of brand new aircraft from Europe’s EADS, maker of Airbus planes. Apart from new services to Australia, PAL will also introduce direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May and to Guangzhou, China in June.
This year, eight Airbus A330s and another eight Airbus A320s, which were ordered last year, will be added to PAL’s fleet. The new planes, together with the integration of PAL’s operations with that of sister firm Air Philippines, now operating as PAL Express, are expected to help PAL post a profit by 2014.
PAL is now controlled by diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp., which bought its controlling stake in the country’s oldest airline from the Lucio Tan group in 2012.