PERTH, Australia—Philippine Airlines plans to return to Europe as part of its strategy to rebuild its international routes that were affected by the global pandemic, a top executive said Wednesday.
Capt. Stanley Ng, president and chief operating officer of PAL, said the flag carrier is exploring which best destinations in Europe it would fly to from Manila.
“We’re still in the process of gathering data, and we’re also partnering with the Department of Tourism to look at which is the best routes to fly to Europe,” Ng said.
Ng said PAL’s return to Europe would depend on the delivery of aircraft, as the airline returned a significant amount of aircraft to its lessors amid the global pandemic.
PAL resumed nonstop flights to London in November 2013, using B777-300 after an absence of 15 years. The airline decided to stop flying to London Heathrow in March 2021 because of commercial reasons.
PAL, however, mounted special flights to and from London from August to October 2021.
Data from the DOT showed that arrivals from the United Kingdom reached 101,034 in 2022, the country’s fifth largest source of foreign tourists.
Filipinos working and living in the United Kingdom totaled about 200,000.
PAL on March 27 made history with the inauguration of its service from Manila to Perth, the airline’s first international route after the pandemic.
“We are optimistic about the growth prospects for a Perth-Manila service. We hope to stimulate travel flows in both directions, so we may build up to more weekly flights eventually,” Ng said.
He said the airline is in the process of rebuilding its network after the “very tough” pandemic period.
“We are now at 92 percent of our pre-pandemic flights. We have high hopes for the success of our Perth-Manila service. Indeed, Perth-Manila is the first international route we are introducing after the pandemic,” he said.
The nonstop flights to Manila allow for easy connections to Cebu, Davao and other Philippine business and resort destinations. Travelers from Perth may also fly onward via nonstop PAL flights to the US West Coast, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Perth is PAL’s fourth Australian gateway, joining Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, all of which are served with nonstop flights using Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft.
PAL offers 20 weekly direct flights to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.