PAL battles Emirates for daily Dubai route


The Philippine Star

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines will challenge its former code-share partner Emirates by slashing 50 percent off the introductory economy and business class fares for the busy Manila-Dubai route.

PAL will start daily bi-class flights to the financial capital of the United Arab Emirates on June 15, the first of the seven Middle Eastern routes the flag carrier is relaunching with direct flights with improved economy and lie-flat business class seats. A popular travel fare aggregator,, listed PAL’s lowest roundtrip fare at about $ 520, against Emirates’ $820, for a Manila-Dubai-Manila economy passage, leaving on June 15 and returning on July 15.

That represents a remarkable 57 percent price difference.

The variance is more stark in absolute amounts for the more profitable business class segment. Skyscanner was yesterday quoting four other web-based travel agencies each offering under $1,000 for the PAL business class passage, as against the nearly $2,100 being charged by Emirates for the same route during the same travel dates.

PAL is currently fielding three flights a week to Dubai, as against the two daily and four weekly flights, or a total of 18 frequencies a week, offered by Emirates, its code-share partner for the same route until 2014.

When it switches to the reconfigured Airbus A330s for the Middle East routes, PAL’s economy seat width will be increased to 17 inches while the pitch, the distance between the two rows that serves as an indication of the legroom, will be widened to 32 inches.

Those two incremental changes will shift PAL’s economy seats to the same class metrics of the award-winning Emirates.

And like Emirates, PAL’s economy class seats will have individual audio-video monitors, USB ports and power charges, in addition to the in-flight wifi service.

Besides PAL and Emirates, low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific also flies Manila to Dubai non-stop, offering one daily return service for the more budget-conscious market segment.

For the same travel dates, the Cebu Pacific website was yesterday quoting a P19,581.54 lowest return fare, with no check-in baggage, no-meal option for the nine-and-a-halfhour flight duration.

Money talks

• Retired PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno has been nominated to the board of Security Bank along with former tourism secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

• Former Philippine Stock Exchange president Jose Luis Yulo Jr. is apparently champing at the bit at the decades-reign of the so-called “three stooges” at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry that he is taking his group, the Spanish-era Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands, to a higher profile outside the PCCI umbrella.

Thanks to the generous support of the Global Peace Foundation, Yulo and CCPI are hosting up to today a four-day “economic and business forum” at the Marriott, similar to the annual Philippine Business Conference organized by the PCCI.

Heard through the grapevine

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. is in no hurry to return to Manila from Europe amid the smoking-gun documents that he had resorted to terminological inexactitudes when he claimed before the Commission on Appointments, and a number of times before the media, that he never renounced his Filipino citizenship in favor of an American passport.