PAL sets new flights to Middle East


By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is overhauling its operations in the Middle East, announcing it would operate all nonstop flights to seven destinations while adding more premium seats, including business class.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said the changes were in line with providing a “better product” for travelers, including Filipino workers overseas. It was closely linked to the carrier’s aspiration to become a five-star airline by 2020.

The nonstop flights will start by March 26 this year. These involve Manila-Dubai flights seven times a week; Manila-Doha and Manila-Kuwait, four times weekly each; Manila-Jeddah and Manila-Abu Dhabi, thrice weekly each; Manila-Dammam, five times a week, and Manila-Riyadh, seven times a week.

PAL has also been reconfiguring previously all-economy Airbus A330s to include a business class and a premium economy section, where seats cost about 60 percent more than regular economy. The aircraft’s total capacity will be reduced, but PAL seeks to tap higher yields with the sale of more premium seating.

It said the shift to the “bi-class” A330, with full-flat beds on business class, will take place on June 15 for Dubai, July 15 for Abu Dhabi and Doha, Aug. 15 for Riyadh and Sept. 15 for Kuwait and Jeddah.

“The shift to bi-class service across all mid-east routes gives our passengers the flexibility to choose between regular economy, premium economy and business class service. Regardless of which class of service you choose, PAL will deliver its distinct brand of Filipino service,” Bautista said.

Added features will include wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE) via the myPAL Player app for free in order to stream a wide selection of movies, TV shows and music from their personal laptop, tablets or smartphones.