Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Daxim L. Lu­cas @DaxINQ

Flag car­rier Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL) will be­gin op­er­at­ing a Manila-Sap­poro route by Septem­ber to serve the grow­ing clamor for di­rect flights to the pop­u­lar Ja­panese desti­na­tion, the Lu­cio Tan-owned firm said on Wed­nes­day.

To en­tice cus­tomers, PAL is of­fer­ing a very low spe­cial pro­mo­tional fare of $399, roundtrip econ­omy base fare, for a one-day sale on Fri­day, July 6, through the air­line’s book­ing web­site, its tick­et­ing of­fices or part­ner travel agents.

In a press brief­ing, the air­line said its new route would be the only non­stop air link between the Philip­pines and Sap­poro, the cap­i­tal of the north­ern­most Ja­panese is­land of Hokkaido.

Sap­poro is known for its ski­ing and an­nual Sap­poro Snow Fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing ice sculp­tures, along with a wide range of nat­u­ral and cul­tural at­trac­tions that are pop­u­lar tourist draws dur­ing the spring, sum­mer and au­tumn sea­sons.

The six-hour non­stop PAL ser­vice will op­er­ate thrice weekly—ev­ery Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day—land­ing at Sap­poro’s New Chi­tose Air­port and us­ing the flag car­rier’s brand-new Air­bus A321­neo air­craft. Sap­poro will be the sixth Ja­panese desti­na­tion served by PAL.

From Manila, PAL cur­rently flies to Fukuoka, Nagoya (Chubu), Osaka (Kan­sai) and Tokyo (both Narita and Haneda air­ports); from Cebu, PAL op­er­ates flights to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo Narita. There are also daily PAL flights between Taipei and Osaka. All these ser­vices trans­late to a to­tal of 89 weekly PAL flights between the Philip­pines and Ja­pan, mak­ing PAL the air­line with the largest route net­work in Ja­pan from its two main hubs in Manila and Cebu.

“We are proud and ex­cited to tap the range, power and su­pe­rior com­fort of the new A321­neos to pi­o­neer the world’s first Manila to Sap­poro air route—truly, this new air­craft en­ables PAL de­velop new long-haul mar­kets that were not pre­vi­ously ac­ces­si­ble with older sin­gle-aisle air­craft,” PAL pres­i­dent Jaime Bautista said.

The 168-seater Air­bus A321­neo has 12 seats in busi­ness class and 156 seats in econ­omy class.

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