PAL set to restore full China flight schedule by April
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is beefing up its flights to mainland China by restarting old routes halted during the pandemic and increasing capacities to existing destinations as it banks on the rebound of air travel and tourism.
In a statement on Wednesday, the flag carrier announced it was set to reopen direct flights to Shanghai and Beijing this month after nearly three years of suspension because of border restrictions.
Flights to Jinjiang and Macau are also scheduled to return next month.
“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 Ng said. Its existing Manila-Xiamen flights will increase from once a week to thrice weekly by Feb. 25.
Manila-Guangzhou routes will be offered twice a week by Feb. 16 and will be available daily beginning March 26.
“For our mainland China network, we will be back to 100 percent of our prepandemic flight frequencies by the third week of April,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told the Inquirer.The flag carrier assured its passengers they were working with Chinese and Philippine health and aviation authorities to ensure health and safety standards are followed.
Competitors Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Philippines have also restarted their China flights following the latter’s economic reopening.
International aircraft leasing company Avolon earlier said global aviation traffic was expected to keep its momentum, with Asia driving the growth for air travel demand.
Avolon is also seeing passenger movement recovering to prepandemic levels by June as mobility picks up.
PAL recently took delivery of an Airbus A330, a widebody aircraft offering 18 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats and 267 economy seats.
It will service routes to Hawaii, Australia and several destinations in Asia.
“With the pandemic receding and air travel recovering, PAL plans to further expand the fleet in the coming months,” the Lucio Tan-led airline had said.
As of Sep. 30, the flag carrier operates an 80-aircraft fleet, based on its latest financial report.