Flag carrier, Philippine Airlines has announced it will launch services to Auckland from Manila later this year, marking the first time the airline has ever operated in New Zealand.
The airline will operate a four-times-weekly A320 service to the major city in the north of New Zealand, with a stopover in Cairns – providing direct competition to Air New Zealand on that section of the route.
Short-term arrivals to New Zealand from the Philippines have increased 9.4 percent year-on-year over the last five years, while New Zealand travellers visiting the Philippines have been growing by 11.6 percent per year over the same period.
The service will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with those making the full journey from Manila to Auckland occupying a transit time in Cairns of just one hour.
The six-hour flight to Cairns will depart Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 23:45pm, arriving into Cairns at 08:00am the following day. The flight will continue to Auckland, arriving in New Zealand’s largest city at 16:00pm.
On the return leg, flights will leave Auckland International Airport at 18:30pm, arriving into Cairns at 22:30pm and finally getting back to Manila at 03:30am the following morning.
The new service will see 64,500 seats per year on the Manila to Auckland route, contributing an estimated $41 million per year to the New Zealand economy.
Philippine Airlines' president and chief operating officer, Jaime J. Bautista said the route would stimulate passenger traffic along three travel streams - Manila and Cairns, Manila and Auckland as well as Cairns and Auckland.
“The new service allows Philippine Airlines to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travellers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality. With close to 40,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand, the new service is their convenient link to their home country - the Philippines,” he added.
The largest numbers of travellers coming from the Philippines to visit New Zealand are visiting friends and relatives, followed closely by visitors for leisure purposes.
“This new service will provide more options for these visitors when travelling to New Zealand and also for New Zealanders wishing to visit the Philippines,” said Norris Carter, Auckland Airport’s General Manager, aeronautical commercial.
“We have experienced solid growth from the Philippines market in recent years and the addition of a new carrier will certainly help to further stimulate this,” he added.