THE Philippines and France have hammered out a new air service agreement that will see the return of Philippine Airlines' (PAL) daily flights to Paris after 16 years, according to Philippines' Civil Aeronautics Board.
The agreement also allows a third country codeshare, permitting a French or Philippine carrier to fly from Paris to Manila via another country.
PAL is in the process of resuming much needed flights to Europe after the EU rescinded its ban on the airline last year (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 11, 2013), beginning with a Manila-London flight last November (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 18, 2013). Further flights to Frankfurt, Rome, Milan and Amsterdam are in the works.
Currently, KLM is the only European carrier flying to Manila from Amsterdam via Taipei.
Welcoming the development, Maria Aurora Tadeo, general manager inbound, Baron Travel, said: “It’s very good news. A direct flight (between Manila and Paris) would be good instead of travelling for longer hours.”
“We’re happy about that. Paris and the neighbouring European cities are a good market,” she added.
Arnel Yaptinchay, general manager of Kirschner Travel Manila, said a flight to France will be a big boost to the longhaul market as presently Europe is best accessed via Hong Kong.
Yaptinchay added that other carriers like Etihad Airways serve Europe and Manila via a stopover in the Middle East.
Separately, PAL today also announced it would launch twice-daily flights from Manila to Tokyo’s Haneda airport on March 30. Haneda is the airline’s fifth gateway to Japan following Narita, Fukuoka, Osaka and Nagoya.
PAL president and COO, Ramon S Ang, said in a media release: “The new service makes PAL the exclusive operator on the Tokyo (Haneda)-Manila route. This route forms part of PAL’s network expansion aimed at providing our passengers more and better choices.”