By Emmie V. Abadilla
Philippine Airlines will begin operating direct nonstop flights between Manila and Brisbane, Australia this March 27, 2018, shortening flying time to less than seven hours versus the current one-stop service of 9 hours 20 minutes with a stopover in Darwin.
The Manila – Brisbane non-stop flights will operate four times weekly, utilizing the 254-seater Airbus A340 aircraft initially, and PAL’s brand new Airbus A321 NEOs aircraft later in the first half of 2018.
The A321 NEO is the longer-range version of the popular A321, outfitted with full-flat business class seats and entertainment systems.
PR 221 leaves Manila at 11:30 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and arrives in Brisbane at 9:20 a.m. local time the following day, every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Return flight PR 222 departs Brisbane at 11 a.m. local time (Thu/Sat/Sun) and touches down in Manila at 5 p.m. on the same day.
Effective May 1, PAL will operate the fourth weekly frequency every Tuesday.
PR221 leaves Manila at 12:55 a.m.(Tue) and arrives in Brisbane at 10:45 a.m. local time on the same day.
Return flight PR222 departs Brisbane at 12 nn local time (Tue.) and touches down in Manila at 6 p.m. on the same day.
The non-stop service is expected to boost travel and tourism on the increasingly popular route that links the Philippines with the commercial center of Queensland and gateway to beaches, theme parks and rain forests of the Gold Coast.
Queensland is also home to a growing number of migrant and expatriate Filipinos. Flying direct to Manila will help encourage Queensland-based Australians to consider holiday trips to the Philippines.
This is the latest move of PAL to convert one-stop flights to nonstop services for the convenience of the traveling public.
In 2017 alone, the flag carrier launched nonstop flights to Toronto (Canada), Auckland (New Zealand), Doha (Qatar), Kuwait City (Kuwait) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) by eliminating the en route stopovers in Vancouver, Cairns, Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.
With the removal of the Darwin stopover by March 25, PAL will temporarily suspend its flights to Darwin, considering that a stand-alone Manila-Darwin service would be not be feasible economically.
The airline will revisit this decision in the future as market conditions improve.
In the meantime, PAL will continue expansion to other key Australia destinations as it assigns more of the new A321NEOs and the new-cabin Airbus A330s to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.