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Current as of 29/09/16 08:19AM NZST

Philippine Airlines: No worries about Air NZ flights

By Aimee Shaw

A Philippine Airline Airbus A330. The airline says it isn't worried by the prospect of new competition on the Auckland - Manila route from Air New Zealand. Photo / Masahiro Takagi - Creative Commons
A Philippine Airline Airbus A330. The airline says it isn't worried by the prospect of new competition on the Auckland - Manila route from Air New Zealand. Photo / Masahiro Takagi - Creative Commons

Competition between Air New Zealand and Philippine Airlines is set to heat up, but it's not all bad news, according to an airline spokesperson.

Maria Cielo Villaluna said Air New Zealand's direct service to the Philippine's capital, Manila, would benefit the country's tourism industry.

"With this new inbound service, New Zealanders now have the chance to visit the top travel spots within the Philippines... this will mean good business for the airline," Villaluna said.

Earlier this month Air New Zealand announced it will begin flying direct to Manila from December, operating year round services on a Boeing 767-300, three times a week.

Air New Zealand's direct route will offer a flight time of 10.5 hours each way, while Philippine Airline's current route operates four times a week with a flight time of between 12 and 13 hours, including a one-hour stopover in Cairns, Australia.

Villaluna said Philippine Airlines had nothing to worry about from the competing Air New Zealand service.

"We will always have a captive market," she said.

"Those who wish to experience the Filipino brand of service and travellers who wish to travel from Auckland, New Zealand to Manila and travel to our country's top travel spots via our domestic service will find the route attractive."

Although the service has not yet begun, Villaluna said Air New Zealand's direct flights would allow the airline to capitalise on visitor's connecting on to domestic destinations.

Over the past 5 years, the number of New Zealanders traveling to the Philippines has increased by 11.6 per cent, while travel from the Philippines to New Zealand has increased by 9.4 per cent.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon has previously said he expects the airline's new service to be popular at both ends of the route.

"As the only non-stop service between New Zealand and the Philippines, our flight will be quicker and more convenient for travellers than the fastest current option which flies indirect, potentially saving up to two and a half hours each way."

Philippine Airlines currently operates a 156-seater Airbus 320 service from Auckland and has a fleet of more than 70 aircraft.

New Zealand's climate and environmental quality made it an attractive destination for Filipino travellers, Villaluna said.

- NZ Herald

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