Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) flew early this week its nonstop Manila-Toronto flight, the first ever crossing of the polar region by a Filipino air carrier.
The Polar route refers to the flight over Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China.
“The carrier used to operate flights between the two points [Manila and Toronto] with a stopover in Vancouver, a longer routing that resulted in a combined flying and ground time of 21 hours,” PAL said. “This new route cuts traveling time by 4.5 hours, a saving that translates to greater convenience for passengers.”
PAL flight PR-119 took off from Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada at around 12:53 a.m., Dec. 17, local time, and arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at 6:10 a.m. last Tuesday, after a 16.16-hour journey that crossed the Arctic Circle. The historic flight was led by PAL vice president for flight operations Capt. Florendo Jose “Chuck” Aquino III, together with fellow pilot Capt. Raymond “XP” Casambre, first officer Paul “Boom” Domingo and second officer Jhonathanne “Jo” Hizon.
In a statement, PAL said its state-of-the-art 370-seat Boeing 777-300ER, with registry number RP-C7779, flew 7,200 nautical miles or 13,300 km, traveling over northern Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. The flight was conducted at cruising altitudes ranging from 29,000 to 37,000 ft.
PAL said it would be operating the route four times a week. Departures from Manila are every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and departures from Toronto every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
“This was the first nonstop direct flight from Toronto to Manila over the polar region (north pole). Kudos to the PAL team which made this flight a reality,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said.
At present, the long-range B777 is the fleet for the polar route. PAL’s Airbus A350s, which will be delivered starting 2018, will also serve the route.
PAL said the new nonstop Toronto service was the latest time-saving routing enhancement employed by the flag carrier.
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