Philippine Airlines to resume Abu Dhabi flights on Oct. 31


BusinessWorld Online

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL) is resuming its flights to Abu Dhabi starting end October due to increased demand for flights on the route.

This comes just a few days after the Lucio C. Tan-led carrier suspended its Manila-Abu Dhabi operations last July 8 to “allow PAL to undertake route assessment.”

“Effective Oct. 31, Philippine Airlines shall resume its nonstop thrice weekly service between Manila and Abu Dhabi after experiencing increased demand for flights on the route,” PAL said in a statement.

The airline said it will continue to operate PR 656 -- every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays -- departing Manila at 11:45 a.m. and arriving in Abu Dhabi at 5:45 p.m. PR 657 operates on the same days, leaving Abu Dhabi at 7:30 p.m. local time and touching down in Manila at 8:50 a.m. the following day.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista earlier said the flag carrier will provide a bi-class (business and economy) service across all its Middle East routes citing intense competition in the region and the need to provide better services.

A bi-class service will give passengers the flexibility to choose between regular economy, premium economy and business class service and provide board amenities, free baggage allowance, comfort, convenience and inflight entertainment.

The Philippine carrier operates 30 flights per week to the Middle East. PAL also operates other Middle East destinations daily for Dubai and Riyadh as well as five times weekly flights to Dammam, thrice weekly to Jeddah and four times a week flights to Kuwait.

Ahead of the air talks between the Philippines and Qatar in June, PAL had said there is no need for additional flights to the Middle East, citing “overcapacity” in the present routes.

Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific also said it will suspend its long-haul service from Manila to three Middle Eastern cities -- Riyadh, Kuwait and Doha -- citing “oversupply” amid intense competition from Gulf carriers.

The Manila to Middle East route is also currently served by Emirates, Etihad Airways. Other airlines linking the Philippines directly with the Middle East are Saudi Arabian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Gulf Air.

PAL serves at least 43 international destinations, including 20 regionally within East Asia, 10 in Australasia and the Pacific, and seven in the Middle East, among others. -- ICCD


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