Manila-New York flights to boost tourism – envoy

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines sees more tourists from the United States after its flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), resumed its flights from Manila to New York after nearly 20 years. 

“The US market continues to contribute significantly to total visitor arrivals in the Philippines, and we’re confident that these expansion initiatives will lead to increased tourism traffic and business activities,” Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr said, according to a news release from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday, March 18.

PAL's inaugural flight to New York left Manila on Sunday, March 15. It arrived in New York's John F Kennedy International Airport on Monday, March 16, as the flag carrier marked its 74th anniversary.

PAL's Manila-New York route passes by Vancouver, Canada, and operates 4 times a week, the DFA said.

Cuisia said PAL's new service “not just offers Filipinos an alternative route back to the Philippines.” It also “provides them with a deep sense of pride knowing that it is the national flag carrier that is bringing them home.”

The US brought the second highest number of visitors to the Philippines in 2014, according to data from the Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOT said the US contributed 722,750 arrivals in 2014, or 14.95% of the total.

Back then, the US was already the fastest growing market for Philippine visitors.

Before PAL resumed its flights from Manila to New York, it already flew from Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam, the DFA said.

Lucio Tan, PAL's chairman and chief executive officer, said it relaunched its flights to New York after the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the Philippines' aviation safety rating. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at