Philippine Airlines made history earlier this
week, operating its first ultra-long polar flight from Toronto,
Canada nonstop to Manila - the first-ever crossing of the Polar
region by a Filipino airline.
PAL flight PR119 took off from Toronto's
Pearson International Airport at 00:53 on 17 December, arriving
Manila the next day at 06:10.
The historical flight was led by PAL Vice
President for flight operations Captain Florendo Jose “Chuck”
Aquino III, together with Captain Raymond “XP” Casambre, First
Officer Paul “Boom” Domingo and Second Officer Jhonathanne “Jo”
The 370-seater Boeing
777-300ER, with registry number RP-C7779, flew 7,200 nautical
miles or 13,300 kilometers and traveled over Canada, Greenland,
the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. The flight
was conducted at cruising altitudes ranging from 29,000 to 37,000
PAL President and COO,
Jaime J. Bautista, said,
“This was the first non stop direct flight from Toronto to Manila
over the polar region (north pole). Kudos to the PAL team which
made this flight a reality and most importantly, congratulations
to our PAL flight deck crew under the leadership of Capt. Chuck.
You make us proud.”
For his part, Capt. Aquino said “I am
truly honoured to have been given the privilege to lead this
milestone flight. More than that, I was glad to be part of a
journey that brought much happiness to passengers on board as they
were given a rare treat of the Northern Lights."
decided to shift to a direct non stop service via the polar route to
cut down on the total traveling time between Toronto and Manila.
The carrier used to operate flights between the two points with a
stopover in Vancouver, a longer routing that resulted in a
combined flying and ground time of 21 hours. This new route cuts
traveling time by 4.5 hours.
From here on, PAL will
operate nonstop Manila-Toronto and Toronto-Manila flights
four times per weekl, with departures from
Manila every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and
departures from Toronto every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and
At present, the long-range B777 will be used on
the polar route. The ultra-long range Airbus A350s, which will
be delivered starting 2018, will also serve the route.
PAL plans to follow up with
another polar crossing service on an even longer nonstop route
(over 17 hours): from Manila to New York (JFK Airport) and from
New York to Manila, using A350 aircraft, within the second
half of 2018.