MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is returning to all Chinese cities that it used to serve prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling the resurgence of a market that was once shut to the world.
PAL is resuming all its scheduled services from Manila to China starting next month, providing the airline a major lift toward achieving its goal of staying profitable in 2023.
PAL currently operates 42 weekly flights from Manila to Hong Kong and Taipei, two destinations that used to attract Filipinos traveling for either work or leisure.
The airline owned by taipan Lucio Tan is raising the flight volume to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Jinjiang and Xiamen in April.
It is also increasing its weekly trips to Beijing to six in May, confident that travel demand to the Chinese capital would go up in the coming months.
China had imposed a zero tolerance policy for any and all COVID infections nationwide keeping itself shut to the world at a time when border restrictions were being lifted in 2021 and 2022.
For the aviation industry, China’s insistence to remain closed to the world held back its recovery, as the country served as an important source of tourists before the global health crisis.
PAL used to operate around 34 weekly flights to mainland China prior to the crisis, accommodating the flight demand for Beijing, Guangzhou, Jinjiang, Shanghai and Xiamen.
It was only in January that PAL was able to reactivate its flight network to the mainland, starting with the resumption of scheduled services to Xiamen and Guangzhou.
Apart from its China market, PAL is also introducing direct and non-stop flights to new routes in Australia and East Asia.
The flag carrier is flying to Perth starting March 27. PAL president and chief operating officer Stanley Ng will be the pilot during the inaugural flight.
It is also launching non-stop flights between Kalibo and Incheon in April. The route seeks to transport Koreans headed to Boracay and Visayas flying to Seoul without having to pass by Manila.
Likewise, it is also reinstating its inter-island linkages from Clark to Busuanga and to Caticlan on optimism that local tourism will extend its upward trend this year.
The 82-year old airline is shooting for another profitable year this year after going through restructuring in 2021 by reactivating its full fleet of 75 aircraft.2023-03-18T16:40:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd