Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is upgrading its services to Brisbane, Australia, to nonstop flights while temporarily halting its Manila to Darwin route.
PAL said in a statement Friday that nonstop flights between Manila and Brisbane would start on March 27, 2018. With the upgrade, flying time will be cut to around seven hours—shorter than the current nine hours and 20 minutes—since there is a stopover in Darwin.
“The nonstop service is expected to boost travel and tourism on the increasingly popular route that links the Philippines with the commercial center of Queensland and gateway to the spectacular beaches, theme parks and lush rainforests of the Gold Coast,” PAL said in its statement.
It said Queensland was also home to a growing number of migrant Filipinos.
“Flying direct to Manila will help encourage Queensland-based Australians to consider holiday trips to the Philippines,” PAL added.
The Manila-Brisbane route will operate four times weekly, using PAL’s 254-seat Airbus A340.
By the first half of 2018, PAL will deploy its newer Airbus A321 NEOs, a longer-range version of its A321s.
In deciding to fly nonstop to Brisbane, PAL said it would suspend its flights to Darwin for the time being, noting that business was weak in this route.
“The airline will revisit this decision in the near future as market conditions improve,” PAL said.
PAL has been converting more of its international operations to nonstop services.
Last year, it launched nonstop flights to Toronto (Canada), Auckland (New Zealand), Doha (Qatar), Kuwait City (Kuwait) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) by eliminating the en route stopovers in Vancouver, Cairns, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.
PAL said it planned to continue expansion to other key Australia destinations as it assigns more of the new A321 NEOs and the new-cabin Airbus A330s to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
By the middle of this year, PAL expects delivery of the initial batch of A350-900s it ordered from Airbus.
The new aircraft will allow it to mount nonstop flights from Manila to New York by the second half of 2018.
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