PAL Express, the new, low-fare brand of Philippine Airlines, completed its inaugural flight from Manila to Caticlan (Boracay).
PAL Express debuted with 12 flights daily between Manila and Caticlan, gateway to the resort island of Boracay – in time for the peak summer travel period.
The new carrier, which operates a fleet of nine modern Bombardier Q300 and Q400 turbo-propeller aircraft, will boost services dramatically on May 19 when it opens a hub in Cebu. PAL Express will fly a total of 22 routes initially, including some to island and provincial points without air service currently.
The new, low-fare brand of Philippine Airlines, will serve 22 inter-island routes at the outset, including some provincial points currently without air service or underserved by other players, PAL president Jaime J. Bautista announced today.
“With PAL Express, Philippine Airlines is reassuming its traditional mandate of providing quality, affordable air service to outlying communities. Such air link has historically acted as a spur for the development of these areas.” said Bautista.
“PAL Express also allows PAL to offer a low-fare yet high-value alternative in many trunkline and tourist routes such as here in Caticlan,” he added during arrival ceremonies of the inaugural PAL Express flight from Manila.
Other PAL executives onboard the maiden flight were deputy chief executive officer Henry So Uy and assistant vice president for sales Antonio Herrera.
On hand to welcome the PAL delegation were Aklan vice-governor Gabrielle Calizo; members of the travel trade; and representatives from the media.
Caticlan, gateway to the resort island of Boracay, is the first destination of PAL Express, which will operate 12 flights daily from Manila starting today. Brand-new, 50-seater Bombardier Q300 turbo-propeller aircraft are deployed on the high-traffic route.
PAL Express will dramatically expand its network over the next two months, with service scheduled to be launched on 22 routes.
Thirteen of those new routes emanate from PAL Express’ main hub of Cebu, where operations start May 19 with services to five points – Caticlan, Bacolod, Tacloban, Butuan and General Santos.
On the same day, a daily flight between Manila and Busuanga in northern Palawan will also commence.
On May 26, three more services will operate out of Cebu: Davao, with thrice-daily flights; Iloilo, twice daily; and Puerto Princesa, a single flight everyday.
On June 23, four new destinations will be served from Cebu – Dipolog, Ozamiz, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga, with the last service proceeding onward to Davao and back – rounding out the Cebu hub network for now.
On the other hand, PAL Express’ other hub in Manila will add several new routes in July: Surigao, Legazpi, Virac and Cauayan (Isabela) on July 21, and San Jose (Occidental Mindoro), Calbayog and San Fernando (La Union) on July 26.
With PAL Express’ entry, Surigao, Cauayan and San Fernando, which have gone without air service for many years now, will once more enjoy a regular air link to Manila – a service PAL first provided these small cities in the 1980s.
Likewise, travelers to Virac, San Jose, Ozamiz and Calbayog will benefit from PAL Express’ upgraded service and competitive fares. Currently, these points are underserved by existing carriers.