The nation’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (Pal) launched its inaugural flight to New Delhi, India on March 29, 2011, after it was suspended in 1954 by the Philippine government.
The inaugural flight, which took six and a half hours, touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 1:30 a.m. with more than 200 passengers on board.
Key government and PAL officials, led by PAL Chairman Lucio C. Tan, were welcomed by India’s tourism officials, businessmen, investors as well as travel and tourism officials.
Vivienne K. Tan, PAL Executive Vice President-Commercial Group, said the launch of the Manila-New Delhi route “is in step with the government’s program to perk up the economy by bringing in more tourists and serve as a vital air link between our two countries.”
Ms. Tan joined the flight PR-758, a B-777ER from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The luncheon program was for Indian government officials and local media held at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, to formally launch the new service.
Present during the luncheon were select officials of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Transportation & Communications, the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Other guests are from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry as well as Philippine and Indian travel/cargo agents.
Jaime Bautista, President and CEO, during a speech, said: “Indeed, today, PAL is flying to India that’s a destination in its own right. Your country has emerged in recent years as one of the world’s economic powerhouses, with GDP growth of close to 9 percent this financial year. India’s economy is now the third largest in Asia and 11th largest in the world.”
He said the booming economy has spawned a high-spending middle class of 350 million consumers that’s growing by 20 million people every year, for whom travel is a major aspiration. In 2009, about 8 million Indians traveled abroad and two million of them headed for Southeast Asia. – PNA