Philippine Airlines goes Ultra Long-Haul With Nonstop Toronto-Manila Flights

Filipinos who need to visit eastern Canada or eastern Canadian residents who want to experience the beauty of the Philippines now have an option to make their journeys a little bit faster.  On December 16, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) reinstated its nonstop flights between Manila and Toronto.

Downtown Toronto
Image by Taxiarchos228/Wikimedia

PR118 departs Manila four times a week (every Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) at 4:15 PM and arrives in Toronto at 5:55 PM.  The flag carrier used to operate a nonstop segment in November 2012 but in March 2013 relegated it to a one-stop service via Vancouver.  

What is new about this iteration is that the Toronto-Manila leg will also be nonstop.  Since December 17, PR119 leaves Toronto every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 12:15 AM and arrives in Manila the next day at 5:45 AM.  

The sector uses PAL's flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The nonstop Toronto-Manila leg (PR119) is at the moment of this article's original publication the 11th longest nonstop flight in the world.  What makes this possible is the use of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which flies up to 7,370 nautical miles and the fact that the flight leg flies over the North Pole, which PAL has recently acquired the legal rights to fly over.  The distance from Toronto to Manila via the North Pole is 7,143 nautical miles.  As a consequence of this nonstop flight, passengers now save up to 4.5 hours compared to having a stopover via Vancouver.  

PR119 flying over the North Pole on December 17
Image source: Flightradar24
To help pass the time, passengers can make use of the in-flight entertainment (IFE) that PAL offers them.  In addition to the films, TV shows, music albums, and games, some 777s feature in-flight WiFi so that some passengers can check their email and social media while in the air.  Each seat features a USB charger for passengers to charge their phones and tablets.    

Passengers whose origin or final destination isn't Toronto can take advantage of PAL's codeshare partnership with WestJet.  Codeshare connections are available between Toronto and Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City.  

The Centre of Aviation reports that PAL gains a crucial competitive advantage over nine other carriers that offer a one-stop alternative between the Philippine capital and Canada's largest city.  

The inaugural PR119 polar flight was under the command of Captains Florendo Aquino III Captain Raymond Casambre with the assistance of First Officer Paul Domingo and Second Officer Jhonathan Hizon.  

PAL is expected to operate another nonstop polar flight within a year.  That flight will be the flight between New York and Manila, which currently has a stopover via Vancouver.  Using the great circle distance, New York and Manila are 7,404 nautical miles apart, which is out of range of PAL's existing 777s.  However, PAL will take deliveries of six Airbus A350-900 aircraft starting the second half of 2018. This aircraft has a range of up to 8,100 nautical miles.   

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