MANILA–Philippine Airlines will fly to London starting November 4, 2013, fulfilling the flag carrier’s promise to return to Europe four months after the lifting of the European Union ban.
The announcement was made Tuesday by PAL president and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang, together with visiting British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint, during a press briefing at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.
“We’re very happy that London is PAL’s first Europe destination since flights to that continent were discontinued in 1998,” said Ang.
Lord Green responded, saying: “I’m delighted to celebrate a very concrete example of the growing ties between our two countries, that being the reestablishment by Philippine Airlines of direct flights between Manila and London for the first time in over a decade. I am confident that these flights will greatly enhance the relationship between the UK and the Philippines.”
PAL will fly five times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), departing Manila in the morning and arriving at Terminal 4 of Heathrow airport in London, the premier gateway to the United Kingdom and the world’s busiest international airport.
“That we have been given permission to fly to Heathrow makes our return much more meaningful … We take this as a strong vote of confidence by UK authorities in PAL’s ability to bring in the passenger traffic volume worthy of the world’s top airlines,” Mr. Ang added.
PAL will operate direct, non-stop flights, providing the fastest travel to London (average 13 hours) as well as convenient connections from the UK capital to top Philippine tourist spots and other destinations in Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and Australia. British business travelers can also make Manila a gateway to PAL’s extensive international network.
“With the new direct air links, our country is looking at a potential windfall in tourism, trade and investment from Europe,” said PAL’s chief operating officer.
In 2012, one third of the estimated 349,000 European visitors to the Philippines came from Britain. In the first half of 2013, arrivals from UK reached 60,234. “With PAL’s new non-stop flights, we are sure these numbers will rise even further,” said Ang.
PAL also aims at providing the more than 664,000 Filipinos in Europe with the most convenient travel to return home “via the airline that knows them best. We are proud to serve these modern-day Filipino heroes,” he added.
The PAL President also said, “Throughout our 72-year-history, PAL has always been a catalyst to our country’s growth and development. This is part of our mandate as the national flag carrier.”