Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced Thursday it will start operating the Manila-Sapporo(Hokkaido, Japan) route by September, thus helping the government bring in more tourists from Japan.
“We want to help the government attract more tourists from Japan. Having the Manila-Sapporo route will definitely add to the number of tourists coming in,” PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista said in a press conference held here.
Based on the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) website, Japan is among the top five countries with the most tourist arrivals in the Philippines in 2017. DOT’s records showed the Philippines had 584,180 visitors from Japan that year.
There is a growing demand for the Sapporo route, according to Bautista.
PAL is the first local carrier to offer the said route. Starting Sept. 10, the airline will be operating a nonstop six-hour, thrice weekly flight to the New Chitose Airport.
Bautista said that as of now, PAL will only offer the Sapporo route to and from Manila, Offering this to and from the other airports in the country will not happen anytime soon, he added.
Currently, PAL has a total of 89 weekly flights to the following Japanese destinations: Osaka (Kansai), Tokyo (Narita and Haneda), Fukuoka and Nagoya.
For this route, PAL will be using its new Airbus A321neo aircraft.
PAL executives said this new aircraft will provide passengers with inflight entertainment, wi-fi connectivity and more comfortable seat features.
“Its business class seat, for instance, can be reclined to a full flat bed that is still suitable even if the passenger is more than 6 feet-tall,” remarked PAL vice president for Sales, Ryan Uy.
Meanwhile, PAL will offer a one-day promotional fare for the Manila-Sapporo route Friday, July 6. For one day, passengers can avail of a round trip economy ticket for USD399. PNA