By: Miguel R. Camus
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is opening up flights between Cebu and Bangkok, Thailand ahead of the Christmas holiday season—in response to strong demand and growing congestion in the country’s main gateway in Manila.
PAL said in a statement the thrice weekly flights would start on Dec. 2, 2017, using an Airbus A321 with 199 seats.
PAL cited “public demand for direct nonstop flights from Asian destinations to Central Visayas” as the reason for launching the flights.
Travellers from Thailand would also get better access to PAL’s other routes from Cebu. These include Bacolod, Busuanga, Butuan, Cagayan, Caticlan, Davao, Camiguin, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Legaspi, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Siargao and Tacloban.
PAL has been adding flights linking Cebu and international destinations. It already has routes to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Singapore, Chengdu and Beijing.
Launching flights using secondary gateways helps decongest Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
PAL had noted that Naia was already catering to around 42 million passengers annually, about 40 percent more than its overall design capacity.
To help address this issue, PAL has offered to build a P20-billion Terminal 2 annex building.