- By Gina T. Reilly
Philippine Airlines to boost capacity between Guam, Manila
Philippine Airlines (PAL) will boost seat capacity by 15 percent on its daily service between Guam and Manila during the holiday season, picking up the slack that will be left by Cebu Pacific which ends its Manila-Guam service by Dec. 7.
PAL announced it will upgrade two of its seven weekly flights to modern widebody Airbus A330-300 aircraft. From Dec. 15, 2019 until Jan. 13, 2020, PAL’s 4-star airline will operate A330 flights every Monday and Saturday from Guam, and every Sunday and Friday from Manila.
PAL said its 309-seater A330 aircraft will add 110 more seats per flight compared to the current 199-seater Airbus A321 for a total of 990 additional seats each way, or a total of 1,980 additional seats both ways, during the holiday period.
“The holiday season is a time when families in Guam travel to the Philippines to reunite with loved ones or take winter vacations in other international destinations," said Bryan L. Ang, PAL assistant vice president for International Passenger Sales. "With morning arrivals in Manila, passengers have the option to start their day early or connect to other international or domestic flights in PAL's extensive network. By upgrading a total of 18 flights to widebody aircraft during the peak weeks, we are allowing more passengers to maximize their holidays through our convenient flight schedules and enjoy unparalleled comfort onboard our new planes.”
The A330 aircraft offers 18 all-aisle-access Business Class seats with full flat recline and a bed length of 78 inches; 24 Premium Economy seats with 8-inch recline in a private Premium cabin, spacious 38-inch legroom, a built-in leg rest, calf-rest and footrest and in-seat power supply; and 267 Economy seats with 6-inch recline and 31” – 33” legroom. PAL's A330 is among the most spacious widebody twinjets in the skies, as competitors cram as much as 436 seats into identically sized A330s vs. the 309 seats in PAL's premium version.
All seats are equipped with MyPAL Wi-Fi and In-flight Entertainment with monitors reaching up to 18.5 inches for the Business Class cabin; as well as USB power supply allowing passengers to charge their mobile devices on board.
PAL also offers the Pneumatic Comfort System, which has a massage function and allows the Business class passenger to adjust seat firmness.
“Philippine Airlines greatly appreciates the support of the Guam community for choosing to fly with us for their outbound travel needs. Likewise, we support the Guam Visitors Bureau’s initiatives for healthy inbound traffic," Ang said. "This is why our international sales teams collaborate with travel agencies in their respective countries to promote Guam as a destination. I have so much love and respect for Guam’s people, culture, and food; so, I will continue to ask our International offices to promote the island so other people may discover what I have experienced.”
The A330 is also PAL's aircraft of choice for nonstop flights between Manila and Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Honolulu, Tokyo and Osaka.
The Philippine flag carrier operates a fleet of 98 high-technology aircraft and is ranked as the 30th Best Airline in the world, having recently been awarded the World's Most Improved Airline honors for 2019 by Skytrax and the 4-Star Major Airline award from the US-based Airline Passenger Experience Association.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific will fly its last round-trip service between Guam and Manila on Dec. 7. This market “is no longer viable,” the airline said in August.
Cebu Pacific launched its maiden service Manila-Guam service on March 15, 2016. “The entry of Cebu Pacific into the market gave the travelling public more choices and more affordable alternative to fly between these two destinations,” Cebu Pacific said in a press statement. “With limited slots in Manila, Cebu Pacific will reallocate these slots and redeploy the aircraft to routes where these can serve higher passenger demand.”
As Cebu Pacific ends its flights, another Philippine low-cost airline – Philippines AirAsia - has applied for permission to operate flights to Guam and Saipan.
Philippines AirAsia- the Manila-based subsidiary of Malaysia's low cost AirAsia Group, is awaiting approval of its petition with the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board for designation and allocation of entitlements under the Philippines-US Air Transport Agreement.
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