Philippine Airlines (PAL) will start its non-stop Manila-Doha-Manila flights from March 26, according to a circular sent by the airline to travel agencies in Doha.
The circular announced that PAL would operate its first-ever direct route to and from Hamad International Airport four times a week - Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday - to serve the growing Filipino population in Qatar.
PAL's non-stop operation will be in addition to its current thrice-weekly Manila-Doha service via Abu Dhabi, scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
For a ‘budget economy’ airfare of QR885 (subject to change) on a March 26 booking from Doha to Manila, passengers will enjoy free meals, Wi-Fi connection, blanket use and a maximum of 46kg baggage allowance.
PAL also offers ‘regular economy’ (around QR1,380) and ‘premium economy (around 2,745), but “fare is not guaranteed until final purchase”, bookings on its website showed.
The flight will leave Doha at 8pm (local time) for a nine-hour journey, and depart Manila at 1.30pm for a 9.5-hour flight back to Doha, according to the circular.
The PAL circular also reminds passengers that two pieces of luggage (each not exceeding 23kg) are allowed for check-in.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Alpha Travel general manager Khaled Rustom said that the new PAL route will give Filipinos, as well as other Philippine travellers, more options in selecting their preferred flights.
“Our customers will have access to a wide range of products,” he said. “They will also benefit from this growing competition with lower air fares offered by different carriers.”
Qatar Airways currently flies to Manila twice daily and also has a daily flight to Clark International Airport while Cebu Pacific flies thrice a week to Doha. PAL started its Manila-Doha via Abu Dhabi flights in March 2016.
PAL’s new service to Doha is part of the flag carrier’s expansion plans in the Middle East, in addition to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The carrier currently uses an Airbus 330 for its Manila-Doha via Abu Dhabi service, which also offers free Wi-Fi and wireless entertainment to allow passengers to stream in-flight movies, TV shows, music and magazines using their personal devices through the app 'myPAL'player.
PAL is the second commercial airline in the Philippines to mount direct service to Doha after Cebu Pacific, which launched its twice weekly flights in June 2015. After a year, it increased its frequency to thrice weekly.