Philippine Airlines Cuts Back Haneda Flights

The latest airline timetables reveal that Philippine Airlines will be reducing its recently launched Manila to Tokyo Haneda service from two to one daily flight just six weeks after it launched the route. The change takes effect on May 7 with the remaining flight per day being operated by an Airbus A321 aircraft.

philippine airlines a321
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Last January, Philippine Airlines announced that it would begin flying between Manila and Tokyo Haneda twice daily. The new service was to complement the existing three daily flights from Manila to Tokyo Narita operated by Philippine Airlines. 

Located thirty minutes from Tokyo, Haneda Airport is the preferred airport for business travellers and the world's most slot-restrictive airport. The airport is conveniently connected to the city centre by the Tokyo monorail. 

Philippine Airlines upgraded its in-flight menu to better serve Japan-bound passengers by offering a special Bento Box meal on all flights to and from Japan, featuring a selection of Japanese dishes. To serve both daily flights, PAL deployed a Boeing 777 aircraft and an Airbus A320.

At the time of the announcement, PAL believed that it would be the exclusive operator on the Haneda-Manila route until Japan's All Nippon Airways revealed that it would simultaneously launch its own Manila-Haneda service on the very same day as Philippine Airlines. 

All Nippon Airways already operated a daily flight from Manila to Tokyo Narita using a 214-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. If the news that PAL would have competition on the Manila-Haneda route was already a devastating blow, ANA was not finished yet. The airline announced that it would launch its new Haneda route with a Boeing 767 but would later upgrade the service on May 1 to the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner giving the Philippines its first regularly scheduled Dreamliner service.

On the same day that All Nippon Airways and Philippine Airlines launched its new route to Tokyo Haneda, Cebu Pacific launched its own flights between Manila and Tokyo Narita. This instantly increased the number of weekly flights between Japan and the Philippines from 56 flights per week to 81 flights per week. 
Although no official statement was released by Philippine Airlines offering a reason for the service cutback, the decision could have been triggered by over-saturation in the Japan-Philippines market, or as a means to free the Boeing 777 aircraft previously operating the second daily Haneda flight for deployment to the United States. PAL announced that it would deploy its Boeing 777 fleet to the United States following the announcement that the Philippines had attained Category 1 status from the US Federal Aviation Administration. 
While Philippine Airlines will now just consume 7 of the 14 weekly entitlements granted between Manila and Haneda under the new Japan-Philippines air services agreement, the 7 remaining flight entitlements may not go unused for long. Budget carrier AirAsia Zest recently announced that it had filed an application with the Civil Aeronautics Board to operate flights between Manila and Tokyo Haneda.


  1. In typical PAL fashion of course. Route cuts just weeks after it started... Perth, Haneda, Riyadh, Toronto (reduced), etc. etc.

    1. Any new business knows that you have to give customers (in this case, prospective airline passengers) TIME to find out about your new offering.

      PAL is silly to commence a new route then quickly halve its frequency. This isn't what other airlines do. You really have to wonder about the competence of PAL's management, all the more surprising because is normally a respected player in whatever field it turns its attention to.

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