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PAL welcomes entry of Air New Zealand

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokeswoman Maria Cielo Villaluna said Air New Zealand’s direct service to the Philippines’s capital, Manila, would benefit the country’s tourism industry. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines - Competition between Air New Zealand and Philippine Airlines is set to heat up, but it’s not all bad news, according to a Philippine Airlines spokesperson.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokeswoman Maria Cielo Villaluna said Air New Zealand’s direct service to the Philippines’s capital, Manila, would benefit the country’s tourism industry.

“With this new inbound service, New Zealanders now have the chance to visit the top travel spots within the Philippines… this will mean good business for the airline,” Villaluna said.

Earlier this month Air New Zealand announced it would begin flying direct to Manila by December, operating year round services on a Boeing 767-300, three times a week.

Air New Zealand’s direct route will offer a flight time of 10.5 hours each way, while Philippine Airline’s current route operates four times a week with a flight time of between 11 and 12 hours, including a one-hour stopover in Cairns, Australia.

Villaluna said Philippine Airlines has nothing to worry about.

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“We will always have a captive market,” she said.

“Those who wish to experience the Filipino brand of service and travelers who wish to travel from Auckland, New Zealand to Manila and travel to our country’s top travel spots via our domestic service will find the route attractive.” 

Although the service has not yet begun, Villaluna said Air New Zealand’s direct service would allow the airline to capitalize on visitor’s connecting on to domestic flights.

Over the past five years, New Zealanders traveling to the Philippines has increased by 11.6 percent, while travel from the Philippines to New Zealand has increased by 9.4 percent.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon earlier said he expects the airline’s new service to be popular at both ends of the route.

“As the only non-stop service between New Zealand and the Philippines, our flight will be quicker and more convenient for travellers than the fastest current option which flies indirect, potentially saving up to two and a half hours each way.”

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