MANILA -- In a bid to become a certified four-star airline by 2018, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been building up its fleet and adding new routes, especially for its Clark hub.
In a statement on Friday, PAL said it just had its ninth Boeing 777-300ER delivered, to be used mainly for routes from Manila to North America.
PAL's 10th 777 is expected to follow in a few days, bringing the carrier's fleet count to 88.
On Thursday, PAL announced the opening of its four new destinations -- Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro, and Virac – out of the airline’s hub at Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga.
The airline said it is investing, by way of the new routes, in the development of the CIA as a major airline gateway.
PAL’s Clark hub now provides passengers from central and northern Luzon direct access to a total of 13 domestic points, as well as to Seoul, South Korea.
PAL’s build-up of operations at Clark, as well as in Cebu, Davao, and recently Tagbilaran aimed to significantly enhance travel convenience and connectivity for Philippine domestic travelers, while also serving to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
PAL said its new flights are expected to boost tourism and make it more attractive for foreign tourists to visit multiple destinations throughout the country.
On December 15, PAL opened a four-times-weekly service to Bacolod and daily flights to Tagbilaran in Bohol.
PR859 (Clark-Bacolod) leaves Clark International Airport at 7 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. PR860 (Bacolod-Clark) departs Bacolod at 8:45 a.m.
PR2871 (Clark-Tagbilaran) leaves Clark at 3 p.m. every day. The Tagbilaran-Clark is operated in the morning, departing Bohol at 6:40 a.m. and landing at Clark at 8 a.m.
On December 16, a three-times-weekly service to Cagayan de Oro (PR833) began, leaving Clark every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 6 a.m. The return flight (PR834) departs 8:20 a.m. from Laguindingan International Airport serving Cagayan de Oro.
PAL is using the 199-seater Airbus A321 on flights to Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro, and the 156-seater A320 to Tagbilaran.
On December 18, PAL will mount three-times-weekly flights to Virac, capital of the island province of Catanduanes, leaving Clark Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6 a.m.
The Bombardier Q400 will be used on the Clark-Virac-Clark route.
On top of the four new routes, PAL flies to nine domestic destinations out of Clark: Basco, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Caticlan, Cebu, Davao, Masbate and Puerto Princesa.
Early next year, Naga will be added to the list. The airline is evaluating the possibility of operating more new routes from Clark in due course, it said. (PNA)