LONDON: The inauguration of Philippine Airlines (PAL) direct flights to London, which happened exactly 15 years after the carrier abandoned this route on the weight of the Asian financial crisis, could trigger “a healthy competition” among local and foreign airlines that may want to pursue the same route soon.
Also, it was just three years ago when the European Union lifted the ban forbidding Philippine carriers in Europe due to international safety standards issues.
“This flight [PAL’s maiden direct flight to London] is very significant. When you travel this far on a single hop, you will have the whole of the UK coming to the Philippines saying, is this true, can I fly from London to Manila in one go?” said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. on the sidelines of PAL London inaugural dinner held in Corinthian Hotel in Whitehall, London.
“And with all due respect to PAL, I think it won’t be long before the other airlines announce that they will fly to the Philippines again,” he added.
Jimenez said that the PAL’s maiden flight to London sent a very powerful signal to Europe that the Philippines is ready to take the lead, indicating that other local carriers do have the capacity to make such voyage.
“The entry of PAL into Europe signifies an opportunity to increase the revenue picture for Philippines very significantly. Why? It’s because when you travel as far as from Europe, you stay longer and Europeans tend to spend more, so this is a very significant development because it changes the complexion of our income,” he added.