Philippine Airlines (PAL) is launching three international routes and increasing frequency on others in summer 2019, as the airline looks to boost the role of Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a hub between North America and Asia.

The new flights are from Manila to Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Hanoi, Vietnam; and New Delhi. In addition, PAL will add frequencies to 13 cities. The increases have not been made on these routes in previous summer seasons.

The airline’s “strategic vision is to make the Philippines a true gateway to Asia,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said. “We will leverage Manila’s excellent geographical location as an ideal stopover point for people flying to Southeast and South Asia from the east and west coasts of North America.”

Bautista noted that PAL already has an extensive network of flights to the US and Canada. It currently operates 43 flights per week to six North American cities, and the new frequencies will add another 11 per week. After these additions the carrier calculates it will be the first to operate more than four daily flights between Manila and the US west coast.

The 4X-weekly Hanoi flights are scheduled to begin March 31, and the 5X-weekly flights to Phnom Penh will start April 1. Both flights will use 156-seat Airbus A320s, with occasional upgrades to 199-seat A321s, an airline spokesman said. PAL will continue to operate its 8X-weekly flights to Ho Chi Minh City.

The New Delhi flights will be operated 4X-weekly, using the airline’s new A321neos. PAL signaled in 2018 that it may use these aircraft to fly this route. The airline wants to start this flight in April, “subject to final slot and operational clearances from Indian authorities.”

PAL previously flew the Manila-Delhi route from 2011 to 2013, although most flights made stopovers in Bangkok “due to the limited range of the Airbus A320 aircraft then in use,” the carrier said. The A321neos give PAL “the right-sized aircraft for the Indian market” for the first time, Bautista said. The A321neos in long-haul configuration will have 168 seats, including a business class section with lie-flat seats.

The frequency additions, taking effect in the summer travel season, are on routes from Cebu, Philippines to Nagoya (Japan) and from Manila to Bangkok, Brisbane (Australia), Doha (Qatar), Jakarta (Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, New York, Osaka (Japan), San Francisco, Sydney, Taipei (Taiwan) and Toronto.

 Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com