PAL to fly Manila-Toronto direct by November
MANILA, Philippines - Local legacy carrier Philippine Airlines is preparing to mount direct flights from Manila to Toronto starting on November 30, airline executives said.
PAL president Ramon S. Ang said in a recent event that this new route will involve re-aligning its current flight entitlements, which are all currently focused on the Manila-Vancouver route.
“We will serve not only Vancouver but Toronto as well,” Ang told reporters.
PAL is currently the only local airline flying between the Philippines and Canada, which is host to tens of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
The legacy carrier, which has new owners and is expecting the staggered delivery of brand new planes, is dependent on the agreed number of flights, destinations, type of aircraft to be used that are set during bilateral air negotiations between the Philippine and Canadian governments.
3 for Toronto, 4 for Vancouver
Since PAL has been granted by the Philippine government all the 7 flights a week for the Manila-Vancouver route, PAL officer-in-charge for commercial group Rafael Rollan said they will allocate some of the entitlements to pursue its Manila-Toronto route plans.
Of the 7 allowed flights per week, Rollan said they are looking at using 3 for the new Manila-Toronto service and 4 will remain for its Manila-Vancouver operation.
“There will be 4 entitlements for our Manila-Vancouver and the other 3 will be used to fly Manila-Toronto non-stop. The realignment of flight frequencies will begin on November 30. As we speak, we are finalizing the pricing," said Rollan in an interview.
"Maybe by mid-September the pricing will be uploaded in our website already,” he added.
“We want to test Toronto. We will try to develop the market,” he added.
Since PAL's existing operations already used up all the commercial flight entitlements agreed by both countries, PAL is considering two options.
One is to seek for additional 7 flight entitlements on top of the existing one to pursue their plans for the Canada routes.
“Ideally, if we can secure another 7 or more that is what we want,” Rollan said.
Second option is to rent or code-share the flight entitlements assigned to its counterpart, legacy carrier Air Canada. Just like PAL, Air Canada is also allowed to mount 7 flights a week to Manila.
Since Air Canada is not mounting flights to Manila, Rollan said PAL wrote to Air Canada to ask if a code-sharing arrangement is possible.
“That is what we are trying. We wrote them a letter but they have not responded to us. They also have 7 but unutilized entitlements. Hopefully, they could lend us their frequencies through code-share because this arrangement was done before,” said Rollan.
PAL has similar code-sharing arrangements with Middle East airlines. Even if PAL is not mounting flights to Middle East destinations, it can technically sell and earn from its rights in Middle East routes through code-sharing with foreign airlines.
Rival Cebu Pacific has been keen on snapping these Middle East routes from PAL as the long-haul routes for the local carriers become another hotbed for competition among industry players.
Both Philippine carriers have been buying new aircraft for routes beyond 4-hours.
PAL's Ang has previously said that “in the near future, PAL will fly non-stop to Toronto, Paris, New York City and in the Middle East.”
PAL is currently controlled by the country's biggest conglomerate, San Miguel Corp., which has been pumping fresh equity in the previously financially challenged local airline. - Rappler.com