Philippine Airlines (PAL) said Monday said it will increase its flight frequency between Manila and Toronto by April next year to meet the growing travel demand.
The airline unit of businessman Lucio Tan said it would introduce a third-weekly nonstop frequency on its Manila-Toronto route on April 5, 2024.
The 50-percent increase in capacity aims to meet growing travel demand to and from the Canadian East Coast region, as part of a long-term investment by the Philippine flag carrier in developing business and tourist travel flows between Canada and the Philippines.
PAL said with three-weekly frequencies to choose from between Manila and Toronto, passengers would gain added flexibility to structure their travel plans.
PAL’s current twice-weekly service departs every Wednesday and Sunday from Manila and Toronto.
“Our expansion of flights to Toronto highlights the importance of the Canadian market in the Philippine Airlines network. We want to make it easier for businesses to establish commercial relations, for Canadians to plan holiday trips to the Philippines, and for Filipino Canadians to visit their families back in the homeland,” said PAL chief commercial officer Eric David Anderson.
“Canada is among the top ten sources of foreign tourists to the Philippines, with more than 180,000 Canadians visiting the Philippines during the first ten months of 2023. Additionally, the new frequencies will bolster connectivity between Southeast Asia and Canada via PAL’s Manila hub,” he said.
The Filipino community in Canada is estimated at over 350,000 ethnic Filipinos in Ontario province. Toronto is the gateway to Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and other areas in the Eastern seaboard.
PAL is the only airline offering nonstop flights between the Philippines and Canada and also serves Vancouver with daily flights from its Manila hub. Other points across Canada such as Edmonton, Winnipeg and Calgary are served via PAL’s codeshare partner WestJet.
PAL operates the Toronto services with the new-generation Airbus A350-900, a long-range jetliner that accommodates 295 passengers across a tri-class layout with 30 passengers in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy, and 241 in Economy.
“We are thrilled that Philippine Airlines is increasing frequency between Toronto and Manila, a destination in very high demand,” said Greater Toronto Airports Authority chief commercial officer Khalil Lamrabet.
“With this additional flight, more passengers will be able to fly directly, reducing their total travel time by more than 25 percent compared to a connecting itinerary,” Lamrabet.
Canada recently included the Philippines in the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program, allowing Philippine passport holders to travel to Canada visa-free provided they hold a valid U.S. visa or have been issued a Canadian tourist visa in the last 10 years.
Canada recently opened its borders to more immigrants, workers, and students and has seen steady growth of Filipinos in both Toronto and Vancouver.