INAUGURAL FLIGHT: Philippine Ambassador to Abu Dhabi Grace Relucio Princesa shares a light moment with Philippine Airlines vice president for operations Ismael Gozon after the inaugural flight of PAL to Abu Dhabi. Photo was taken at the function room of El Royal Meridiem Wednesday night. RUDY SANTOS
Abu Dhabi – Philippine Airlines (PAL) executive expressed confidence that the flag carrier can compete with other more “established” Middle Eastern airlines as PAL on Tuesday returned to the Middle East starting with the Abu Dhabi route to serve migrant Filipino workers.
“It’s not surprising we stage our comeback here in Abu Dhabi.Your dynamic city is one of the most influential in the region, a center of commerce, petroleum industry, culture and arts, education in the Arab world,” said Ismael Augusto S. Gozon, PAL senior vice president for Airline Operations.
Gozon is welcomed at the airport by Ambassador Grace Relucio Princesa, Philippine tourism officials and Abu Dhabi airport executives.
“This is not actually PAL’s first time to serve Abu Dhabi, we’re old friends as PAL flew here 21 years ago in 1992. Abu Dhabi was then an important travel point on our service between Manila and Europe and between Manila and Saudi Arabia,” Gozon said.
PAL will first fly to Abu Dhabi five times a week, departing Manila at 4:25 p.m. and arriving 9:45 p.m. at Abu Dhabi International Airport
The return flight will arrive in Manila 12:25 noon every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Four other cities in three Gulf countries will be linked by PAL and affiliate PAL Express to Manila before the year ends – Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Doha (Qatar) in November, and Riyadh and Dammam (both in Saudi Arabia) in December. With PAL and Qatar Airways on code-share cooperation, Doha will be served by both airlines.
PAL used the brand-new Airbus A330-300 for the maiden flight to Abu Dhabi.