Thu, 21 Dec 2017

Philippine Airlines Makes History with First Polar Flight

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 Hizon.

Philippine Airlines currently uses Boeing 777-300ER to operate the polar route, however Airbus A350 aircraft (pictured) will also be used for these flights in 2018. Click to enlarge.

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 feet.

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."

PAL 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 Sunday.

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.

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