Philippine Airlines now charters flights to Russia

Philippine Airlines, the flagbearer Airline of the Philippines, recently expands its service to two character destinations and Makes its commercial flights available in Russia this year, with a third likely to be added early next year. The national carrier will begin flying to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk beginning in October.

Last year, Philippine Airlines operated a charter flight from Vladivostok to Manila every ten days for the peak travel season with an Airbus A320 aircraft. For 2014, the Vladivostok service will be restored in addition to a new charter flight that will be operated between Khabarovsk and Kalibo every fourteen days. The charter flights will be operated between October 2014 and April 2015.

It is expected that capacity will be increased from the 150-seat A320-200 service used last year to a 199-seat A321-200. News has also emerged that a direct link may finally be added from Russia’s largest city, Moscow, on a charter basis to Manila as early as January of next year.

Details of the new Manila to Moscow charter route have not been revealed. However, Valeri Ishunkin, Marketing Director for Russia for the Philippine Department of Tourism, confirmed that the new service is likely to begin early next year in addition to a Siberian charter service that is already underway. It is expected that flights to Moscow will be operated by a Philippine Airlines A330-300 on a weekly basis.

The Philippine Department of Tourism has been targeting Russia as a potential market for tourism development. It is believed that Russia will be the tenth largest outbound tourism market by 2020 and the Philippines is attempting to attract as many tourists as possible in order to meet its goal of hosting 10 million foreign tourists by 2016.

Chartered flights are a critical element of attracting Russian tourists to the Philippines as there are presently no direct flights between the two nations and connecting flights are often long and expensive. As Russia is anticipated to ban travel to Europe due to economic sanctions, there may be an opportunity for new destinations such as the Philippines to fill the void.

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