Philippine Airlines has pushed back the launch of its new Perth service to October in light of the current pandemic. The route, which was slated to begin in end-March, is the airline’s fourth route to Australia and would operate using an A321neo. However, travel restrictions and low demand have forced a delay in plans. Let’s find out more.
Travel bans remain in place
The spread of the coronavirus has prompted governments to take strict border control measures. This has meant stopping all non-essential travel and barring foreigners from entering, as a way to ensure there are no imported cases. These measures were bound to affect the new Perth route, which was targeted at students and tourism.
Both Australia and the Philippines took swift measures in March to protect against the coronavirus. Australia banned the entry of all non-residents and ordered a 14-day quarantine of any residents returning from aboard. Meanwhile, the Philippines also banned any non-residents from entering the country and later suspended all flights to curb the spread of the virus.
Will the route return soon?
According to Routesonline, PAL has rescheduled the flights to begin in late October with the same timings as before. However, this October 26th start date can be subject to further delays in line with the demand for international travel and border restrictions in both countries.
Demand for international travel is not expected to return soon, possibly jeopardizing this route altogether. It should be noted that Australia has managed to contain its outbreak, for now, reporting only a few daily cases. The Philippines has slowed the rate of the virus, although it is still reporting over 200 cases a day. It seems that leisure travel will be out of the picture for a while.
Philippine Airlines’ decision to delay the new route will hardly come as a surprise considering the current travel climate. The airline has taken several measures to protect staff and passengers against the coronavirus. It was one of the first airlines to incorporate full Personal Protective Equipment into its cabin crews’ uniform. Other airlines have lagged behind, only recently mandating face masks.
Philippine Airlines cabin crew wear full PPE – suit/mask/face shield/gloves – as part of the airlines health and safety measures, plus social distancing for passengers onboard
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) April 14, 2020
While the airline has currently suspended all its domestic and international flights, it is still operating a handful of rescue flights. However, the airline could resume limited flights in the coming weeks as the country eases its lockdown. The flight ban has taken a significant toll on Filipino airlines, who are hoping for a government bailout soon.
For the Manila-Perth route, only time will tell if the route will begin in October or if it’s destined to be shelved for now. As demand for non-essential travel hovers near zero, it seems unlikely airlines will start a new, tourist-heavy route.
What do you think of Philippine Airlines’ plan to delay its Perth flight? Will we see this route any time soon? Let us know in the comments below.