Manila has never been this close

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Manila to Auckland non-stop in just 10 hours – from 6 December 2017.

By Mel Fernandez

Photo credit: Virgilio Santos, Freelanzer Photography www.freelanzphoto.com

AUCKLAND – Plans for direct flights between Auckland and Manila have come back to life. Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced last month that it will be upgrading its current Auckland-Manila flights to a non-stop service utilising a bigger plane – the 254-seat Airbus A340 – starting on 6 December 2017.

On 3rd December 2015 PAL beat other airlines to offer the fastest current option between the two cities, flying indirect for 12.15 hours with a stopover in Cairns, Australia. PAL’s single-aisle 156-seater A320 narrow body aircraft cut 7 hours off the travel time between Auckland and Manila.

The Philippine flagship carrier’s new direct flight will replace the current Manila to Auckland via Cairns service, offering travellers a more convenient and faster journey – a mere 10 hours, saving up to two and a half hours each way on this route. PAL will be utilising its twin-aisle dual class 254-seater A340, thus increasing capacity by 60%.

The non-stop MNL-AKL service will operate via PR 218 thrice weekly – every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday – departing Manila at 11:15PM local time and arriving in Auckland at 2:05PM local time the following day. PR 219 leaves Auckland every Friday, Saturday and Tuesday at 12:30AM local time and touches down in Manila at 5:45AM local time.

Earlier in April this year Air New Zealand mooted a similar direct service for this sector using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. But the plan to operate a 3 times a week service from December 2017 was “deferred until further notice”, according to reliable sources.

Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, says that PAL’s new non-stop service will add more than 14,000 seats to the route, increasing seat capacity by 22% and injecting $13.6 million annually into the New Zealand economy.

“With more than 7,000 tropical islands the Philippines is a popular destination and last year nearly 30,000 New Zealanders travelled there.”

“The direct flight will also enable New Zealanders to connect to the 73 destinations on the Philippine Airlines network, including the United Kingdom, Asia, North America and the Middle East,” says Mr Tasker.

“More than 40,000 Filipinos live in New Zealand and will now be able to fly non-stop to and from the Philippines. It will also accommodate the growing number of Filipino visitors who are holidaying or visiting friends and family in New Zealand.”

Introducing a larger aircraft on the route will also allow for an additional 14 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight. In the year ended March 2017 New Zealand exported $468m of dairy products to the Philippines, making it the eighth largest market for dairy exports.

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What happens when direct flights commence?

PAL will continue operating the Manila-Auckland via Cairns route until December 5, 2017.

The introduction of non-stop Manila-Auckland flights on December 6 will coincide with the suspension of the Manila-Auckland via Cairns service.

Passengers with confirmed tickets for Manila–Cairns flights dated December 6, 2017 onwards, may reroute to Manila–Darwin/Brisbane/Melbourne/or Sydney and connect to Cairns via another airline and   vice versa. Passengers with confirmed tickets for Cairns-Auckland flights   will be referred to other airlines.

Passengers with confirmed tickets for Manila–Cairns flights dated December 6, 2017 onwards, may reroute to Manila–Darwin/Brisbane/Melbourne/or Sydney and connect to Cairns via another airline and   vice versa. Passengers with confirmed tickets for Cairns-Auckland flights   will be referred to other airlines.

Passengers with confirmed tickets for Manila-Auckland (via Cairns) dated December 6 onwards will be automatically accommodated on the non-stop   flights. All passengers affected by the suspension of the Manila–Auckland (via Cairns) service have the option to rebook on the     dates of their choice or to refund their tickets.

For more flight information passengers may log on to www.philippineairlines.com or visit the nearest PAL ticketing office or partner travel agent.

Photo: MasterChef Runner-up Leo Fernandez was the star attraction at the Philippine Airlines and Philippine Tourism stand at the Auckland Food Show in July this year.

 

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