Philipine Airlines (PAL) returns to the UAE

Abu Dhabi: PAL the national airline of Philippines, will operate a direct daily flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila starting from 1st October.

This comes as part of PAL’s plan to expand its operations in the region, starting with Abu Dhabi, followed by Dubai on November 6.

The return fare (Abu Dhabi-Manila-Abu Dhabi) starts from Dh1,985 for premium economy. PAL also offers domestic connection to Laoag, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo and Tagbilaran for Dh2,320, while Dh2,535 for Davao and General Santos. Prices are valid till July 2014. The fare prices are inclusive of full in-flight service, such as meals on board, taxes and 30kg baggage allowance.

Departure from Abu Dhabi is 11:15pm arriving to Manila the following day at 12:25pm. On return, departure from Manila is 4:25pm, arriving here at 9:45pm. PAL passengers will arrive and depart at the Philippine Centennial Airport.

According to Pocholo Azucena, general sales agent relations and charter services manager at PAL, the A330 aircraft for the inaugural flight is due for delivery this month. It can take up to 414 passengers, 39 seats of which are for premium economy. Only Etihad Airways currently operates a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila with two flights per day, which are often overbooked especially during the peak season. At present, there are 161,449 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi.

With about 500,000 overseas Filipinos currently residing and working in the UAE, Azucena said there’s a potential market here, especially with Christmas just three months away.

“There’s a need for us to support the Filipinos. We owe it to them,” he stressed. Quoting their slogan, he said PAL would serve as “your home in the sky.”

“PAL’s coming into the UAE market will solve the lack of seats currently experienced by our compatriots especially during the high season of Christmas, school graduation (March/April), Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, and when prices are so high from other airlines,” said Philippine Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa. She noted that the UAE is considered the top labour destination in the world and the Philippines the top labour origin in terms of ratio.

Cebu Pacific, the Philippines second flag carrier, has announced recently the launch of its direct flight from Dubai to Manila also starting next month.

“The Philippine embassy strongly supports the additional carriers to come here. Aside from answering the needs of Filipinos for more accessibility and cheaper airfare, this will also hopefully support the “More Fun” tourism campaign of our government,” Princesa said.

According to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) statistics, visitor arrivals from the UAE from January to May this year increased by 16.47 per cent compared to the same period last year. The October 1 flight will see PAL resuming operation in the emirate after 15 years. It ceased flying to Abu Dhabi as a stop-over in 1998. PAL’s expansion plan into the region also included Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia by December, targeting the estimated one million Filipino workers there; and Doha in Qatar.

The airline also plans to operate to London by the end of November, following the partial lifting of the ban by the European Union on Philippine planes in July.

“Only PAL can fly to Europe right now (for) complying with all the standards,” said Azucena.

Reservations and tickets for PAL flights can be done online through exotic Dubai Tours at http://www.exoticdubai.com/pal/ . In Abu Dhabi, PAL passengers have the option of checking 24-hour early and upto four hours before departure through the City Terminal. “We are also considering the bus service (from other emirate) in future to further improve our service,” Azucena added.