FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is studying a so-called Polar Route Operation that it can use to travel non-stop between Manila and New York, its top official said.
PAL president Jaime Bautista said in an interview Thursday that the carrier is seeking the necessary regulatory approvals for the route, which means the aircraft will fly over the polar region to cut on flight time.
He said the new route could be launched by 2016 depending on passenger load.
“We can fly nonstop using the Boeing 777s to New York,” Bautista said. He added PAL is now in discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Federal Aviation Administration for the necessary permits.
“We need approvals to fly over the North Pole,” Bautista said.
PAL is already set to shift its Manila to New York service, which makes a stopover in Vancouver, Canada, to its Boeing 777-300 ER starting Oct. 27, Bautista said. Flights between Manila and New York are currently being serviced by PAL’s ageing fleet of Boeing A340s.
Bautista said there were no new routes planned in the US, although PAL may increase frequencies to existing cities where it operates. Apart from New York, PAL also operates in the US via Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Source: Miguel R. Camus, http://business.inquirer.net/