PAL flies to London
Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines launches a direct flight to London on Nov 4, marking its return to the UK capital after 15 years

Cutting the inaugural ribbon, from left, are: ourism undersecretary Daniel Corpuz, PAL President and COO Ramon Ang, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, Immigration Commissioner Siegfried Mison and NAIA Terminal 2 manager Andrew Balde

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)  Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) mounts a direct flight to London Monday, November 4, marking its return to the UK capital after 15 years.

PAL’s Manila-London, non-stop flights serve as direct link between the Philippines and Europe after KLM ceased flying from Manila to Amsterdam in 2012.

The carrier’s London service also comes nearly 4 months after the European Union lifted a safety ban imposed on the Philippines in 2010. (READ: EU allows PAL flights to Europe)

The Manila-London flights are mounted between Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (NAIA 2) and Terminal 4 of Heathrow Airport.

In a speech during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the inaugural flight, British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said: “Philippine Airlines is back in London after a gap of 15 years. Today, your flight was welcomed with the traditional water canon salute from Heathrow, the busiest international airport in the world.”

Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe and the third-busiest in the world, accommodating 69.4 million passengers in 2011, according to the latest report posted on the web site of the Airports Council International (ACI). The airport retained its rankings in 2012, with passenger count of over 70 million, recent reports citing ACI data stated.

“The real dividend of PAL’s first route to Europe is that Britain will be the most obvious place for a Filipino to visit. We speak your language. English. You can meet 250,000 Filipinos who have made the UK their home,” Ahmad noted.

Also present during the ribbon-cutting were Tourism undersecretary Daniel Corpuz, PAL president and COO Ramon Ang, Immigration Commissioner Siegfried Mison and NAIA 2 manager Andrew Balde.

PAL offered introductory fares for the London route, charging US$442, equivalent to about P19,385, for a one-way Manila-London economy flight. Business class seats were sold for an all-in price of $1,292, or about P56,655.  Cherrie Regalado,