Starting tomorrow, Qatar residents will have another option when it comes to traveling to the Philippines.
Philippine Airline (PAL) launches its first flight from Manila to Doha on Monday, March 28.
PAL will compete against Qatar Airways and low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air, which launched its service to Qatar last summer. The route caters to Qatar’s large Filipino population, which now numbers over 250,000 people.
“Our overseas Filipino workers in Qatar can now enjoy that distinct Filipino service that will bring them much closer to home,” PAL president Jaime Bautista was quoted as saying by the Sun.Star news website.
The new service makes Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport one of the few destinations connected directly to Doha by three airlines.
However, unlike its competitors, PAL will not fly non-stop to Doha. Instead, the trip to Qatar is an extension of an existing flight to the UAE.
Passengers flying on PAL will see both inbound and outbound flights between Doha and Manila stop in Abu Dhabi for slightly more than two hours.
PAL will run five flights a week to Qatar using an Airbus A330-300. The first will arrive tomorrow at 8:15am before departing for Manila at 10:05am.
Price-wise, PAL appears to be positioning itself between Qatar Airways and Cebu.
For a two-month trip leaving in late April, roundtrip flights originating in Doha could be found on PAL’s website today for as low as QR1,900, including taxes.
Flights on roughly the same dates were QR1,643 on Cebu – which does not include any checked baggage allowance or free in-flight meals – and QR2,470 on Qatar Airways.
The PAL flight is noticeably longer than its direct competitors, with a total travel time of 12 hours and 45 minutes. Cebu estimates it takes 9.5 hours to fly between Doha and Manila, while Qatar Airways says it flies the same route in nine hours.
The new PAL route appears to have been in the works for several years. Three years ago, former Philippines ambassador Crescente Relacion told expats in Qatar that PAL would start flying to Doha six times a week starting in October 2013, according to a Gulf Times report that year.
Will you fly PAL to Manila from here? Thoughts?