Philippine Airlines Has Finally Returned to New York

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) leaves a footprint in New York City for the first time since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.  Flight PR126 made its debut on March 15 2015.  PAL Chairman Dr Lucio Tan chose this date for the maiden flight in order for it to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the founding of Asia's first airline.  

Image by Kenny Li/PPSG

Although an Airbus A340-300 is normally allocated to this route, the inaugural flight was flown using Philippine Airlines' flagship aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER.  The latter aircraft has 370 seats across all classes and personal in-flight entertainment embedded in each seat.  

Pomp and ceremonies were in order for the maiden flight in Manila, as well as in Vancouver and New York.  Sections of Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport were specially decorated with replicas of landmarks and icons associated with the Big Apple for the occasion.  Tan, PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista, and US Ambassador to the Philippines Phillip Goldberg presided over the traditional ribbon cutting.  Singer Martin Nivera graced passengers at the holding area with a song number.  Nivera reportedly also performed a song number to passengers whilst the flight was airborne.  Refreshments associated with New York such as hotdogs, lemonade and chips were also served from a make-shift booth. 

A local Filipino dance was also performed in Vancouver International Airport, where the flight makes a routine stopover on the way to New York and back.  

The debut flight finally landed in New York's John F Kennedy airport at about 6.42 am on Monday, March 16 2015.  Officials from the Philippine mission in the United States were present to greet passengers disembarking from the flight in New York.  The delegation included Philippine Ambassador to the United States Cuisia,  Consul General to New York Mario de Leon and Consul General to Washington Emilio Fernandez among others.  These officials, along with Bautista also sent off the hundred passengers who were set to fly to Manila on flight PR127.

Philippine Airlines flies four times a week between Manila and New York: Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  All these flights depart Manila at 10.50 pm annd will have a stopover at Vancouver.  They are finally scheduled to arrive in New York's John F Kennedy airport at about 7.00 am the following morning.  The return flight leaves New York at 11.00 am and lands back in Manila the following evening after another stopover in Vancouver.  With a total journey time of approximately 16 and a half hours, this is now the flag carriers' longest flight.

Left: Philippine Embassy and PAL Officials in New York's JFK Airport
Right: Philippine Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Aircraft at New York's JFK Airport
Images by: Emil Fernandez/Philippine Embassy in the US
The flag carrier's expansion to New York comes nearly a year after the Philippines received an upgrade of its aviation safety rating to Category 1 from the US' Federal Aviation Administration after six years of being in a Category 2 status.  Since the Category 1 upgrade, Philippine Airlines has made good on plans to enhance and expand its existing US services such as deploy its flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and increase frequency and capacity to cities such as Honolulu.  

With more than 250,000 Filipinos residing in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, PAL management have touted the launch of this route as a welcome development for Filipinos who wish to travel there and vice versa, with Bautista reiterating in an interview with Bloomberg that the Manila-New York route is a "very important" one for the flag carrier.  Ambassador Cuisia also expressed confidence that the additional flights will boost tourist and business activities to the Philippines from the US.

Bautista also indicated that the flag carrier eventually intends to make the New York service daily.  However he said that existing air service agreements limit Philippine Airlines' ability to expand service via Vancouver to only five times a week.  He said that a daily flight is preferable as it means better service than just the current four times a week.

21 comments:

  1. This site takes forever to publish new articles.

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  2. Is it the obligation of this site to publish articles about PAL only?

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    1. FILIPINO PUNK AGENCYMarch 22, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      Nahh. Just wait for a Cebu Pacific article and Mr. Hong Kong will start bashing on the comments. Not suprising since both PAL and Cebu Pacific attract haters :)

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  3. After New York, is there any new destination PAL is planning to open? another US city or European perhaps?

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    1. i read somewhere that they were planning Chicago and Miami too

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    2. If they have the logistics...

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Whatever happened to their another European destination? Pftt

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    1. Jaime Bautista himself said that they are not doing very well in Europe. For now he said priority will be given to expanding in the US.

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    2. Good idea for PAL to expand in the United States of America BUT:
      -Make sure it has the newest aircraft like A350 or B787 which can fly non-stop from Chicago or Miami to Manila;
      -Ensure that it has the modern inflight gadgets and amenities like ANA of Japan which flies Houston to Tokyo, KE which flies from JFK to Seoul; CX which flies from LAX to HKG
      -Ensure that PAL's flight crews are 100% loyal to PAL (like Singapore Air's flight crews)
      -Ensure to follow the sentiments of Pinoys or FilAms who are accustomed to no-nonsense competitive air fares and other amenities/rewards programs
      -Ensure that PAL is the real innovator and a model for the other Pinoy air carriers by competing in a friendly, honest business environment like the likes of air carriers from Germany, USA, Australia, etc.
      Remember, it is now 2015 A.D. We expect an advanced Philippine Airlines!

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    3. They used their top-of-the-line 777ER for the inaugural flight. Unfortunately, PAL will REGULARLY use their old re-fitted A340 in this route. The plane doesn't have an entertainment console on it's seats. So, good luck flying 16 and half hours staring upon the clouds! They previously used the 777s on their London route but changed it to the A340. Now they say that route isn't doing well (see next article to this). Who would like to fly 13 hours without on-board entertainment? Even their newly ordered and delivered A320, 321 and 330 are sans IFEs! PAL Modernization bleh!!!

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  5. I think PAL should not only focus on the Filipino community as a No. 1 consideration for the opening of new flights to the US or Europe, they should also give attention to the general population in that country. At the same time investing in the latest IFE system and content as well as with the latest aircraft in order to attract them and be competitive to other carriers that offer flights within that country and the Philippines.

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  6. Sorry but I still find PAL very mediocre and so-so airline. GA has improved a lot and became a 5-star airline. What a turn around

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    1. Yes sir, Garuda Indonesia (GA) made a dramatic turnaround in five years to become a 5-star airline (according to reliable Skytrax). Good for Garuda, so that it will set an example to other Asian airlines like PAL, Thai, Vietnam, China Southern, China Eastern, Air China, among others. My worry about GA is that it has not returned its flights to a lot of world cities which it cancelled a decade ago due to poor market performance or any other reason. My skepticism will be erased once Garuda has returned back to Los Angeles and other world megalopolis. At this time, I still believe that Korean Air, even though considered a 4-star airline, would still be more authentic to supersede Garuda's 5-star rating because Korean is a world-renowned airline that serves Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The bottom line is for PAL to make a drastic turnaround so that it can attain what Garuda has just achieved. Make sure Pinoys are not losers because they are bilinguals (even trilinguals), industrious, versatile, charismatic and also good-looking! Do you agree Mr. Bautista, Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran?

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    2. But GA is still losing profits

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    3. That's exactly the point! Garuda's 40 terminated destinations (out of 107) include big cities like Paris, Manila, Los Angeles, etc. Why Skytrax awarded it a 5-star airline is a kind of sketchy or even "seedy". It must be the inflight services and other factors like good management, punctuality, etc., Lucky for Garuda's 5-star rating because it has not returned back to its 40 terminated destinations - a probable reason why it is not making a profit as of yet. Forget about Garuda and Skytrax; concentrate on PAL at this time!

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  7. PAL at this time is 3-star and already 74 years old. It is one aging airline too tired to fly that it has given up on most of its domestic flights. It has shown zero improvement over the years as it is consistently stuck in 3-star or what is a so-so rating.

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  8. PAL is the first commercial airline in Asia, even older than Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, etc. PAL is considered ahead also from Air India, because Air India was purchased from Tata Airlines services where main business segment was mailing. So it is true that PAL can claim that it is the first commercial airline in Asia. But what happened to PAL? Since 1941, it is so behind, no major improvements, especially in customer service and out dated fleets. What to expect? Lucio Tan had tax evasion cases in the past. So how can they manage the PAL well? Recently, Mr. Ang had joined the PAL taking about 40% of its share, but he backed off. Now looking for foreign investors??

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  9. I was simply amazed at the architecture of this absolutely beautiful venue!! The environment was unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to visit a place for events in NYC like this, we found awesome things one after another after another.

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    1. What???????
      Que????????
      Anong sinasabi mo?????

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  10. 에볼루션접속 먹튀검증 안전노리터 go

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