Philippine Airlines is planning to double its flights to Canada.
This comes as the Philippines and Canada inked a new air services agreement, increasing the frequency entitlement for each country to 14 flights a week.
This would increase PAL's total flight frequencies per week to Canada to 14.
PAL is the only Philippine carrier that flies to Canada. At present, it flies seven times weekly to Vancouver and three times weekly to Toronto via Vancouver
Philippine Airlines has been actively pursuing expansion in the United States and has been eager for the successful renegotiation of the Canada-Philippines air services agreement to permit the carrier to launch new flights to New York via Vancouver. The carrier is also contemplating flights to Chicago and Florida.
Philippine Airlines may not be alone in the Canada-Philippines market for long. Air Canada is currently enhancing its existing Asian routes to lure more Canadian tourists, while preparing plans to launch new destinations in Asia that will take advantage of the rising middle class in emerging economies such as India and China.
With the arrival of Air Canada's new 251-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the carrier is now exploring further growth in Asia. The carrier will be using its first 787 on a route between Toronto and Tokyo Haneda. But Air Canada already has plans to deploy additional 787 aircraft between Vancouver and Tokyo Narita as well as between Vancouver and Shanghai.
According to Air Canada's CEO Calvin Rovinescu, the long-term growth potential for Air Canada and other international carriers stretches beyond the major hubs of Asia. "We're not talking about the obvious Asian cities that have already been developed," said Rovinescu. "There are many cities in China where there are millions of people, and the middle class there is starting to fly for the first time, starting to afford air travel."
He added that possible new non-stop destinations for Air Canada could include New Delhi, Mumbai, and Guangzhou, noting that from the airline industry's perspective, Asia will one day account for the bulk of growth in the aviation sector. "We fully expect Asia to be the main driver of air travel over the next decade. We've only been scratching the surface," said Rovinescu.
In the Vancouver market, Asian carriers have been battling Air Canada to capture the visiting friends and relatives market, while in Toronto, Air Canada has had to deal with the threat of Asian carriers luring business passengers. Although Air Canada has not officially identified Manila as an upcoming destination, the economics of the 787 aircraft combined with Canada's growing overseas Filipino population make the Philippines an interesting prospect for the future. The growing popularity of the Philippines as a tourist destination and the rising Filipino middle class could also help to make the country worthy of future consideration.
Air Canada just accepted delivery of its first of 37 Boeing 787 Dreamliners last week. It is expected that the Canadian carrier will announce new routes between Canada and Asia as the airline examines the optimal use of its upcoming 787 deliveries.