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Philippine Airlines to launch Okinawa service

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 20 May 2003

Philippine Airlines is to launch a regular service between Manila and Okinawa on June 20, 2003. The new route combines with PAL's current service to Fukuoka, resulting in a fresh tri-city routing, as follows:

Manila-Okinawa-Fukuoka-Manila - Every Monday and Tuesday Manila-Fukuoka-Okinawa-Manila - Every Friday and Saturday

(Direct Manila-Fukuoka-Manila flights are retained every Thursday and Sunday.)

Travelers between Manila and Okinawa will have a choice of either a direct service or a one-stop service via Fukuoka, four times a week. 

PAL will deploy either a widebody Airbus A340-300 or na arrow-bodied A320-200 aircraft for these flights, depending on the day of service.

Located about 500 miles southwest of the Japanese mainland in the Western Pacific, Okinawa is geographically closer to Manila than to Tokyo.

The strategic island has a population of 1.3 million and last year, some 90,000 Okinawans, about 7% of the island's residents, traveled overseas, making them a core market of PAL's new service.

An interesting historical quirk is Okinawa's strong ancestral and sentimental links with the southern Philippine city of Davao.

In the 1940s, faced with a dearth of local labor, American plantation owners recruited thousands of Okinawans to work the vast rubber and pineapple fields of Davao.

A thriving Japanese community still exists in the area and PAL has operated Davao-Okinawa charter flights for many years to serve this market.

Okinawa becomes PAL's fourth destination in Japan and 22nd overall.

Tokyo is served daily from Manila and five times weekly from Cebu. Osaka is linked five times weekly to Manila. And, from June 20, Fukuoka and Okinawa are slated to receive a combined six flights weekly from Manila.

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