Philippine Airlines plans direct flights from London to Manila

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to launch the first direct flights from the UK to the Philippines in November, flying from London Heathrow to Manila.

The planned launch on November 4, 2013 is the first step in PAL’s plan to resume flights to Europe. PAL announced on September 17, 2013 that London Heathrow would be its first European destination since 1998. The Manila-London Heathrow route will initially be served with five weekly flights using 777-300ERs.

The Philippines’ national carrier was banned from flying in EU airspace but the ban was lifted in July this year.

The fact that PAL is able to fly to Heathrow ‘makes our return much more meaningful … We take this as a strong vote of confidence by UK authorities in PAL’s ability to bring in the passenger traffic volume worthy of the world’s top airlines,’ said PAL CEO, Ramon Ang in a quote on CAPA.

The new flights will be operated from both Manila and London on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The flight time to Manila is a little less than 14 hours, with the return leg taking 12 hours and 35 minutes.

With the launch, PAL is looking to attract the Filipino community in the UK, as well as support efforts to boost inbound tourism from the UK. In the first half of 2013, the Philippines attracted 60,000 visitors from the UK. ‘With PAL’s new non-stop flights, we are sure these numbers will rise even further,’ said Mr. Ang.

A new direct flight, and the emergence of Philippines as a major tourism destination, is expected to improve traffic. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, serves as an entry point for travellers intending to visit Philippines’ impressive rice terraces at Luzon, the white-sand beaches and tropical islands.

Hotels merge to create Super Hotel in Manila

Best Western has merged three properties in Manila to create what it calls, a super hotel.

The firm has named the hotel the Best Western Plus Antel, and its creation involved the merger of former hotels, Best Western Antel Spa Suites, Best Western The A Venue Suites, and Best Western Plus Serenity Suites. The new development has seen the three buildings joined by an added structure on the fifth floor. The addition has much to offer customers, including a resort-type pool, a pool bar and a children’s playground.

The hotel said that rooms, lobbies and other areas have not changed much, even though amenities have been upgraded to the standard of the Plus line.

The hotel said that it would continue with the usual offerings such as breakfast, complimentary Internet, free local calls and in-room coffee and tea makers. In addition the hotel will now offer better bath products, in-room fridge, gym, and laundry and dry cleaning services. Corporate travellers can benefit from a more spacious work desk and a business centre.

The super hotel also features 210 non-smoking rooms with balconies as well as kitchenettes with refrigerators and microwaves. The long list of features includes eight function rooms, three lobby lounges, two restaurants, two swimming pools, two fitness centres, spa, games room, and a children’s playground etc.

The hotel also has event-management facilities that can host up to 120 delegates.

The hotel is situated in the Makati business and entertainment district of Manila. A spokesperson for the hotel said that the merging of resources has helped the hotel to provide better and more efficient services.