PAL gets its 9th Boeing 777
Image courtesy of Concept News Central

MANILA (PNA) — In a bid to become a certified four-star airline by 2018, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been building up its fleet and adding new routes, especially at its Clark hub.

In a statement, PAL said it had just received its ninth Boeing 777-300ER which will be used to service mainly for routes from Manila to North America.

PAL’s 10th 777 is expected to follow in a few days, bringing the carrier’s fleet count to 88.

Earlier, PAL announced the opening of its four new destinations — Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro and Virac – from the airline’s hub at Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga.

The airline said it is investing, by way of the new routes, in the development of the CIA as a major airline gateway.

PAL’s Clark hub now provides passengers from Central and Northern Luzon direct access to a total of 13 domestic points, as well as to Seoul, South Korea.

PAL’s build-up of operations at Clark, as well as in Cebu, Davao, and recently Tagbilaran are aimed at significantly enhancing travel convenience and connectivity for Philippine domestic travelers, while also decongesting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

PAL said its new flights are expected to boost tourism and make it more attractive to foreign tourists to visit many destinations throughout the country.

Last Dec. 15, PAL opened a four-time-weekly service to Bacolod and daily flights to Tagbilaran, Bohol.

PR859 (Clark-Bacolod) leaves Clark International Airport at 7 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. PR860 (Bacolod-Clark) departs Bacolod at 8:45 a.m.

PR2871 (Clark-Tagbilaran) leaves Clark at 3 p.m. every day. The Tagbilaran-Clark flight is operated in the morning, departing Bohol at 6:40 a.m. and landing at Clark at 8 a.m.

On Dec. 16, a three-time-weekly service to Cagayan de Oro (PR833) began, leaving Clark every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6 a.m. The return flight (PR834) departs 8:20 a.m. from Laguindingan International Airport in Cagayan de Oro.

PAL is using the 199-seater Airbus A321 on flights to Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro, and the 156-seater A320 to Tagbilaran.

On Dec. 18, PAL mounted three-time-weekly flights to Virac, capital of the island province of Catanduanes, leaving Clark Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m.

The Bombardier Q400 will be used on the Clark-Virac-Clark route.

On top of the four new routes, PAL flies to nine domestic destinations from Clark: Basco, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Caticlan, Cebu, Davao, Masbate and Puerto Princesa.

Early next year, Naga will be added to the list. The airline is evaluating the possibility of operating more new routes from Clark, it said.