Philippine Airlines Opening London to Australia Connections via Manila

Philippine Airlines will be one step closer to establishing Manila as a transit hub when it modifies its scheduling in October to accommodate passengers travelling between London, England and Sydney, Australia. 

pal a340
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Beginning October 25, the national flag carrier will be increasing service on the Manila to London Heathrow route from four to five flights weekly, while service between Manila and Sydney will increase from five to seven weekly flights. In addition, the A340-300 will replace the A330-300 on the Sydney route.

When Philippine Airlines was under the control of the San Miguel Corporation, former PAL President Ramon Ang had plans of building Manila into a transit hub. One of the potential markets for this type of business has always been the Australia to London market, often referred to as the "Kangaroo route."

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, the kangaroo route is very competitive but also very large. New carriers that begin operating Asia to London services often tap into the Australia to London market to help fill their aircraft, especially during the initial launch months of the new route. But in the case of Philippine Airlines, challenging slot times at London's Heathrow Airport made building connections to Australia difficult.

Philippine Airlines has struggled to make its London route profitable since it began in November 2013. PAL had the option of relocating to London Gatwick to facilitate connections. However, Gatwick is generally considered a less popular airport, which may have made the route even less viable. Recently, PAL was able to obtain new slot times at Heathrow Airport, which has now opened the possibility of connecting services.

Philippine Airlines will initially offer connections every Monday and Thursday. Passengers will be able to board PR721 in London, which arrives in Manila at 8:05pm. They will then connect to PR211, which departs Manila for Sydney at 9:15pm.  The return flight, PR214 departs Sydney at 6:10am and arrives in Manila at 11:25am. Passengers can then connect to PR720, which departs for London at 12:45pm. The short connection times will be a competitive advantage for Philippine Airlines as long as their flights run on time.

Given the competitive nature of the London to Australia market and that Philippine Airlines is not well positioned for this type of traffic, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation says that PAL will need to compromise yields to attract passengers in this market. 

Philippine Airlines will need to compete with at least twenty other carriers that currently offer one-stop products on the route. Garuda Indonesia launched service to London at almost the same time as Philippine Airlines. However, better slot times for the Indonesian carrier enabled it to tap into the London-Australia market sooner. But despite the head start, Garuda is reducing its flights to London, which may help Philippine Airlines in the long-term.

Garuda Indonesia originally planned to offer same plane service between London and Australia, a service that is currently provided only by Qantas and British Airways. Meanwhile, Chinese carriers have aggressively pursued the Europe to Australia market in recent years. They join the European carriers and Gulf carriers that are already well established.


  1. There are a whole lot of factors mitigating against PAL on the London/Australia route.
    One, it is out of the way.
    Two, PAL's planes are old when others, the likes of Qantas and Emirates, operate new and far more comfortable planes like the A380 over a more direct routing with no change of plane required.
    Three, the market is well saturated with leaders including British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad.
    PAL will have a very tough go on this route.

    1. You can add Four: who would want to fly out of Sydney 6.10 am?

    2. In my opinion PAL is maximizing every opportunity they can get their hands on. This is a much sound and viable approach. Instead of a stand alone route Australia to Manila, why not take some passengers from that sector and include them to the Manila London flight. You have nothing to loose but all to gain. Sounds like a brilliant idea.

  2. Manila International's Terminal 2 is not at all competitive as a place to transit.
    Even Brunei International Airport is better!

    1. I know but some british use manila as transit going to sydney.they said manila terminal 2 is a small airport and so easy to connect flight to australia.

  3. For 24 hours of flying time one-way on ageing A340 aircraft with no AVOD IFE and inferior inflight service, these fares have got to be nearly low-cost carrier priced. As the author indicated, there are twenty other airlines plying this route, many with far superior amenities. An old A340 with a "mechanical problem" will bound to stretch the passengers' short connection in Manila into many hours, and without explanation or a siopao. Nice try.

  4. There's no way PAL could attract the English and Australians into their service. They could't withstand almost a whole day of travelling without any built-in seat back IFE in Economy or with angled-lie flat seats in Business Class, coupled with aspirational fares that are almost the same to other more competitive carriers. In addition, PAL can't really profit on using a gas-guzzling four engined aircraft. Many English tourists and businessmen are already complaining about PAL's replacing the 77W with their A340 on the MNL-LHR route, what more of this?

  5. Won't fly PAL for this route. It's going to be a boredom suicidal. No IFEs. What year are we now, 1990? Pathetic Airlines is what PAL should stand for. Very mediocre and not world class. Id go with BA or EK come November. Would even consider Garuda, but no to PAL ever.

  6. Old aircraft, no Inflight entertainment, weak service compared to all the other carriers mentioned. I think Garuda is a 5 star airline, what are PAL?
    Fly Philippine Airlines and do what! what for 24hours!

  7. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. via4d slot


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