By Benjamin Lim Vergara
HOKKAIDO government officials led by Vice Governor Hitoshi Kubota on Wednesday paid a courtesy call on Philippine Airlines President and COO Jaime J. Bautista at the PAL Corporate headquarters in Pasay City.
The Hokkaido government is in the midst of organizing tourism promotional campaigns to drive travelers to this Japanese region.
“Tourist spots and destinations in Hokkaido are open for domestic and international tourists. It is business as usual. The region has recovered from the September 6 earthquake,” Kubota said during his meeting with PAL officials.
PAL will begin operating the Manila-Sapporo route starting December 7, 2018. It aims to serve the growing demand for direct flights to one of Japan’s popular destinations, especially Filipino tourists.
Sapporo is the capital of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, known for its skiing and annual Sapporo Snow Festival featuring enormous ice sculpture.
Hokkaido, which was hit by an earthquake on September 6, suffered a decline in tourist visit since then. To overcome such adversity, the Hokkaido government has invited Filipinos to travel to the tourist spots and destinations in Hokkaido that remain safe to travel.
Bautista, on his part, said that “PAL’s upcoming new service between Manila and Sapporo – starting December 7, 2018 – will further boost the flag carrier’s presence in Japan.”
PAL has recently won another international victory be earning the world’s Most Improved Airline for 2019 award, according to the Australia-bases airline review firm AirlineRatings.com. This is the fourth major global accolade to be received by PAL in 2018.
The airline is all set for the 5-hour-30 minute Manila-Sapporo maiden journey which will utilize the brand-new 168-seater Airbus single-aisle A321neo aircraft, with 12 full-flat business class seats and 156 economy seats with wider legroom and inseat TV monitors on all seats, Wi-fi connection, reduced noise levels and myPAL e-Suite to access over 300 hours of inflight entertainment selections.
From Manila, PAL currently flies to Fukuoka, Haikou, Nagoya, Osaka (Kansai), and Tokyo (via Narita and Haneda); from Cebu, PAL operates flights to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo. There are also daily PAL flights between Taipei and Osaka.
All these services translate to a total of 89 weekly PAL flights between the Philippines and Japan making PAL the only Philippine carrier with the largest route network in Japan from its own tow main hubs in Manila and Cebu.