LEGACY carrier Philippine Airlines announced on Thursday it would launch the Manila-Sapporo (Chitose) flight operation on Dec. 7.
PAL corporate communications department head and spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna said the Sept. 6 earthquake that hit Hokkaido made it necessary for the airline to make operational adjustments in the launch of its new PAL service to Japan.
Although the situation in Sapporo has normalized, December 2018 reflects passenger build-up on the route making the said month most ideal for the commencement of thrice weekly services between Manila and Sapporo (Chitose), she added.
Flight PR 406 will be leaving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:55 am and arrive in Sapporo (Chitose) at 8:30 am.
The return flight PR405 leaves Sapporo (Chitose) on the same days at 9:45 am and touches down in Manila at 2:15 pm.
Villaluna said PAL’s brand new 168-seater Airbus A321 neo, with 12 seats on business and 156 on economy, would be utilized for the new flights to and from Japan.
Trains, subway lines/tram lines have resumed service as well as local and long-distance buses. Ferries to/from Hokkaido are operating and depart from ports such as Hakodate, Tomakomai and Otaru.
All expressways and regular roads are now open except for a few roads near the epicenter.
Tourist attractions, shops, hotels and restaurants are operational.
PAL vice president for operations Ismael Augusto Gozon said Chitose Airport is about an hour from the dive bars to the city of Sapporo and it is 15 minutes by train, and 60 minutes by water service.
From Manila, PAL currently flies to Fukuoka, Nagoya (Chubu), Osaka (Kansai), and Tokyo (both Narita and Haneda airports); from Cebu, the airline operates flights to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo, Narita.