Ambassador De La Vega Welcomes Inaugural PAL Flight from Manila to Perth
31 March 2023, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (WA) - The Philippine Ambassador to Australia, H.E Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega, welcomed the arrival of the maiden Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Perth to Manila on 27 March 2023 at Perth International Airport. The pioneer flight PR 223 was flown under the command of PAL President and COO Captain Stanley K. Ng.
Onboard the flight were government officials including Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr., Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, Department of Tourism Undersecretary Mae Elaine Bathan, the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Hae Kyong Yu, business executives, delegates to the inaugural Philippine Mining Mission, and media representatives.
The inaugural flight was welcomed by water cannon salute at Perth Airport. Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier for Western Australia (WA) and Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, Tourism and Science, Tourism WA Managing Director Caroline Turnbull and Perth Airport Acting CEO Kate Holsgrove were also present to welcome the flight.
According to PAL President Captain Ng, the new route would expand PAL’s footprint, making PAL the largest airline operator offering the most routes from the Philippines to Australia with its weekly direct flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the new addition of Perth.
Hon Roger Cook stated during the welcome ceremony at Perth Airport that direct flights would grow the relations between the Philippines and WA by injecting 52,000 seats which present many opportunities in the education, tourism and business sectors.
Speaking at the press conference, Ambassador De La Vega highlighted that WA hosts more than 46,000 Filipinos which is the fifth largest overseas population in the state and that Filipinos also comprise the fifth largest diaspora community in Australia. Noting that there is no time difference between the Philippines and WA, she stated that the figures are expected to continue growing as the direct flight will provide greater accessibility and convenience to travelers.
DOT Undersecretary Bathan presented developments in the tourism industry and discussed initiatives undertaken by the government, including promotion of Bisita Be My Guest which is a travel incentive program of the DOT for OFWs.
In her keynote speech at PAL’s Gala event, Ambassador De La Vega emphasized that the new direct flights from Manila to Perth demonstrates the steadfast commitment of the Philippines to advancing its partnership with Australia through the enhancement of regional connectivity. The participation of a high-level mining and business delegation from the Philippines onboard the maiden flight is indicative of the commercial opportunities that the nonstop flight brings and the importance of establishing pathways to prosperity. The direct flights will serve as a major boost for people-to-people exchanges, reinforce personal and professional ties and enhance bilateral cooperation, trade and investment.
She noted that the new route is expected to significantly impact both countries’ tourism, education, and trade sectors. WA accounts for 36% of Australia’s overall bilateral trade with the Philippines in 2022. With about $2 billion worth of goods traded in 2021-2022, the Philippines ranks as the 15th largest trading partner of Western Australia. The Philippines is WA’s second largest export market for wheat and for copper ore, third largest market for gold ore, and sixth largest market for barley. The Philippines is also currently the state’s 9th largest source of international students.
The new PAL direct flights between Manila and Perth operate thrice a week every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and allows travelers to arrive at their destination in seven hours.
The PR 223 Manila-Perth service departs from Manila’s Terminal 2 at 12:05AM and arrives in Perth Airport at 7:15AM on the same day while the PR 224 Perth-Manila flight departs from Perth’s Terminal 1 at 8:30AM and lands in Manila at 3:50PM.
Information on DOT’s Bisita Be My Guest travel incentive program which will run until 30 April 2024 may be found on: https://bbmg.philippines.travel. END