Philippine Airlines May Launch New Zealand Flights in 2015

As part of an international expansion that has already seen the national flag carrier open a new route to New York from Manila, Philippine Airlines has revealed that it has its eye set on another long-haul destination: New Zealand. 

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Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
According to Jamie Bautista, Philippine Airlines President, they are currently studying the possibility of flying to Auckland, New Zealand in the second half of this year. However, the airline will only consider operating the route if the numbers prove to be viable. "Maybe this year. We are still studying it," said Bautista. "It will actually depend on the numbers."

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with the most populous urban area. New Zealand is home to 40,000 overseas Filipinos that live and work in the country. In the first three quarters of 2014, approximately 14,000 Filipinos were recorded visiting New Zealand, while 19,000 passengers from New Zealand travelled to the Philippines. 

The Philippines is growing in popularity as a tourist destination for New Zealanders. With a flight time of nearly 10.5 hours between Auckland and Manila, a direct flight would boost the popularity of the country and drive the tourism potential further. 

According to New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges, the Philippines is an important market for the country. The Philippines and New Zealand recently agreed to an amended air services agreement, which permits Air New Zealand to carry out its intention to code-share flights to the Philippines through its partner, Singapore Airlines. "The new code-sharing provision will help develop the market and build momentum towards possible direct flights in the future," said Bridges in an interview with the New Zealand Herald

Cebu Pacific has also expressed interest in serving New Zealand. It was already granted permission by the Civil Aeronautics Board to operate seven flights weekly between the two countries. However, the budget carrier is yet to act on it. Auckland Airport told New Zealand media that it was in discussions with a number of foreign carriers but would not comment if any were from the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines will be launching new flights to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in June. The new flights are intended to serve the 25,000 Filipinos that live on the tiny island nation, which boasts a population of seven million. PAL is currently awaiting the approval of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Although both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific hold entitlements to serve Papua New Guinea, neither carrier has used the entitlements since an agreement was established between the two countries in 2012. However, Papua New Guinea flag carrier, Air Niugini, operates three flights a week between Port Moresby and Manila. 

Bautista believes that the time is right for expansion as Philippine Airlines continues to build on its recent positive performance. "Our encouraging performance in 2014 signals that PAL has now turned the corner," said Bautista. "We need to consolidate and build on these gains to strengthen the foundation for future growth. As always, we remain focused on our goal of transforming PAL into the airline of choice in all markets it serves." 

11 comments:

  1. They will take Air Niugini to the cleaners

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  2. I have seen Air Niugini 707 flights HKG/MNL/Port Moresby since the early 70s and today, it still flies the route three times a week, so why does PAL still competes with that airline when it is still struggling financially, economically, etc? It's hard to see possible positive business results from a country of seven million people which is still classified as remote, third world country. Mr. Bautista, send your extra aircraft to the former soviet republics and china (anywhere there) where the population is thickly; I am sure there are a lot of moneyed people from there who are interested to see exotic lands where the sun shines 365 days a year! Only in RP!

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    1. Well for starters, more OFW's (e.g.workers, missionaries) are going to PNG. Second,, it's home to 25,000 Filipinos. And lastly, some FIlipinos in Australia, specifically in Cairns are using Port Moresby as transit point to Manila (and back). PNG people are not their main target, it's still the Filipinos.

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    2. Government subsidy makes everything viable,

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  3. Agreed - referring to the 2nd Anonymous poster!

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  4. These people behind the push for Port Moresby could be exiting PAL soon. The poorly researched destination will surely pull down the income of PAL

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    1. Exactly. Air Niugini should be flying to Manila/Hongkong daily now (or even twice daily) if that particular market has progressed after 45 or so years. Do the math here. And even if you target the Filipino OFWs, do not forget that Qantas and other Australian LCCs are still competing for that route neck and neck.

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  5. Pls correct the info to the article PX flies 4x a week to MNL every Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun.
    MNL-POM market is feasible as there is a large market of OFW going to POM. Plus businesses as well and MNL serves as medical tourism for PNG nationals. So don't tell that this is a poorly research route. And PR is just resuming the route they flown to POM in the 80s so it is more of returning than launching a flight.

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  6. PX overprice and rip off Filipino's, good to see PAL were going to fly the route, would have expected them to take the majority of the passengers from PX. Unfortunately over the weekend PAL pulled the route from their booking engine so I guess PNG Government managed to block PAL entering into competition with the Government carrier. Sad day for all Filipinos who have to suffer PX.

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    1. Blessing in disguise, huh!..?
      It makes me wonder why PAL is so interested to compete with Air Niugini..... now Papua New Guinea government is doing the right thing - protect itself (called business protectionism).

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