Philippine Airlines

PAL may restart direct Europe flights by 2025 but needs ‘help’ to keep prices competitive

Lance Spencer Yu

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PAL may restart direct Europe flights by 2025 but needs ‘help’ to keep prices competitive


The flag carrier is considering launching direct flights to France in 2025 once its new Airbus 350-1000s are delivered, PAL president Stanley Ng says

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) wants to return direct flights to Europe as early as 2025, but the flag carrier is seeking help from the government to make potential flight prices affordable.

“Maybe in a year’s time, you can see a PAL plane flying to France when we get the new Airbus A350. But we’re still looking into that. We had meetings for that. And we’re optimistic that it’s going to work,” PAL president and chief executive officer Stanley Ng said in an event staged at the Embassy of France in Manila.

In 2023, PAL placed an order for 9 Airbus A350-1000s, which are wide-body jets commonly used for long routes, such as from the Philippines to the North American east coast. Deliveries for these planes are expected to start in 2025.

Since finalizing the order, Ng has consistently told reporters that the airline is eyeing to return to Europe after the A350s arrive. However, the PAL president also explained this time that they need help from the government to keep their price competitive.

“But we also need the support of the French Embassy as well as the Philippine government. We will find ways to make it happen and make traveling to Europe more convenient for every Filipino, as well as bringing more tourists from Europe to the Philippines,” Ng said on Monday.

Ng clarified that the reason why PAL and other Philippine-based carriers don’t offer direct flights to Europe is “because of competition” from other airlines that can offer cheaper prices.

“If the fares that you’re gonna offer will not make sense, it’s hard also to justify. That’s why I mentioned earlier [that we need] some help from both sides of the government,” he said.

This support could come in the form of lower charges, such as parking fees. Ng said that with the reduced costs, PAL could offer more competitively-priced flights to Europe.

PAL’s sole route in Europe, Manila to London, stopped in 1998 but resumed again in 2013. From 2013 onwards, the service continued direct flights until 2022, when it was affected by the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption to global travel. But with new aircraft on the way and travel demand picking up again, the flag carrier could soon revive its footprint in Europe.

“At least one European destination would be exciting for everyone,” Ng said. “Because if you start the direct flight, it will stimulate both economies. It will stimulate travel. A lot of value will be added if you have a direct flight. So, we just have to quantify that and see how the both sides of the government can support,” Ng said, adding that the demand for travel “will be there.”

As of May 1, France was the country’s 12th largest source of visitor arrivals, with a total of 35,023 French travelers entering the Philippines from January to April 2024. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.