Philippine Airlines Targets US Expansion on East Coast

The President of Philippine Airlines, Ramon Ang, has revealed that initial expansion plans to the United States will be focused on cities along the East Coast with New York, Chicago, and Florida topping the list of new upcoming destinations.
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Philippine Airlines has been preparing its US expansion plan in eager anticipation of the upgrade to Category 1 status. With the favourable announcement revealed yesterday, PAL can now concentrate its efforts on optimizing its existing routes to the United States and preparing for expansion to new destinations.

According to Ang, PAL will open new routes to New York, Chicago, Florida and additional cities on the US East Coast within one year. Philippine Airlines used to serve New York via Vancouver utilising a MD-11 aircraft for nearly two years before it was forced to cancel the flights due to the Asian Financial Crisis.

It is believed that service to New York could be launched as early as summer of this year with Chicago to follow by the end of 2014. All flights will be flown direct using PAL Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Although Philippine Airlines previously served New York's Newark Liberty International Airport, industry rumours suggest that PAL may be considering John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) for its new flights. JFK International Airport is New York's main international gateway while Newark is located 10 miles southwest of New York in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines will also focus on increasing flight frequencies on its existing US routes and replacing older aircraft with modern fuel efficient aircraft. On its Los Angeles and San Francisco routes, Philippine Airlines will be switching to the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft within one month to capitalise on the aircraft's lower operating costs. PAL currently flies to Los Angeles 11 times weekly with intentions to increase that service to twice daily flights. 

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"For PAL, definitely we will be able to use our new aircraft from now on going to Los Angeles and San Francisco," said Ang. "This will mean at least $100 million a year savings on fuel and another $60 million a year on maintenance." In a statement released by the airline, Philippine Airlines has already began marketing the special amenities of its modern Boeing 777 fleet. "Passengers can now enjoy non-stop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard new aircraft equipped with the most modern cabin and state-of-the-art amenities including lie-flat beds in Business Class," said PAL.

The United States is currently the most profitable market for Philippine Airlines. According to Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, the Category 1 upgrade presents Philippine carriers with an opportunity to access the broader US travel market. "The US market is our number two source of traffic, with 3 million Filipinos living in the United States," said Arcilla. "The bulk of that is Filipino-Americans. Philippine Airlines does not even operate to the US East Coast which is a centre for Filipino communities as well."

Philippine Airlines will continue to use its Airbus A320 fleet on services to Guam. The airline currently flies five times weekly to Guam and may consider increasing to twice daily service. Honolulu is currently being operated by A340 aircraft but will likely be restored to modern fuel-efficient A330 aircraft as PAL takes delivery of new planes from Airbus. Philippine Airlines flies to Honolulu three times per week with plans to increase the service to daily flights.

Flights to Vancouver and Toronto in Canada are currently being operated by Boeing 777 aircraft. However, those aircraft are likely to end up being deployed on US routes resulting in Canadian routes being returned to A340 service. The Canadian routes could eventually be operated by PAL's new modern fleet of A330 aircraft that are currently on order. Philippine Airlines currently flies daily to Vancouver with three flights weekly continuing on to Toronto. It is believed that PAL is also currently considering the possibility of a new service to Miami via Vancouver or Toronto. 

Philippine Airlines is currently the only local carrier operating direct flights between the Philippines and the United States. The airline operates 26 weekly flights to its existing US destinations of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Guam, and Honolulu. However, Philippine Airlines will not be alone for long as Cebu Pacific makes preparations to introduce its own US flights to Honolulu and Guam later this year.


  1. If PAL will decide flying to JFK, they will benefit only from mainly Filipinos in New York alone and a number of tourists heading to the Philippines. New Jersey has more Filipinos than New York and Newark airport is very accessible for them travelling back home, rather than JFK. PAL must consider both airports of the city, because they are at a great advantage of profiting from these two destinations. Philippine carriers would really shine in the US market, especially an advantage to compete against other carriers that connect passengers to other countries within Southeast Asia.

    1. Well PAL is technically a Filipino company so obviously we need to serve the Filipinos there. Although, PAL and the DoT should also try to market more Tourists so PH can attract more people and PAL earning more profits.

  2. I wish PAL can fly soon to Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boston, Washington DC, Dallas, Detroit.

  3. Why not have Inter-island flights with Q400's?
    I love flying on "real planes"
    And this service would be like the Caribbean -
    fast connections in style. (& to open the whole of the Philippines for budget travellers/compete with Thailand...)
    ... Everybody flies - Everywhere

  4. Vancouver to Manila using A330 may not have enough range so they may use old A340. I'd prefer B777-300ER. Pal should order more and keep MNL-YVR using B777. They should consider B787-9 as well, it will be awesome.

  5. YVR - MNL has good traffic. PAL should not change their plane back to the old one for this route, otherwise they will loose all these passengers. I don't think people will put up being in a plane for 15 hours without personal entertainment systems when there are other airlines that people can choose from, and that are cheaper, and that use more modern and more convenient aircrafts. PAL should invest in comfort and inflight services and entertainment in ALL its international route. Even the 777s has very limitted movie/entertainment selections compaired to other asian airlines like Korean, Cathay, ANA, EVA, and they all offer Filipino/Canadians good choice in terms of pricing and service.


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