Philippine Airlines makes history, 1st Filipino carrier to cross the Polar region

Philippine Airlines achieves another milestone. The country’s flag carrier had its 1st ultra-long polar flight from Toronto, Canada non-stop to Manila – the first-ever crossing of the Polar region by a Filipino airline.


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Flight, PR 119, left Pearson International Airport at 12:53 a.m. on Dec. 17 and arrived in Manila 16 hours later at 6:10 p.m. on Dec. 18, the flag carrier said in a statement.

The new Polar route will cut travel time between Toronto and Manila by 4.5 hours. PAL will be operating these nonstop Manila-Toronto and Toronto-Manila flights four times a week, with departures from Manila every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and departures from Toronto every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I am truly honored to have been given the privilege to lead this milestone flight. More than that, I was glad to be part of a journey that brought much happiness to passengers on board as they were given a rare treat of the Northern Lights,” said Capt. Florendo Jose Aquino, who flew the Boeing 777 jet.

The state-of-the-art 370-seater Boeing 777-300ER, with registry number RP-C7779, flew 7,200 nautical miles or 13,300 kilometers and traveled over Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. The flight was conducted at cruising altitudes ranging from 29,000 to 37,000 feet.

“Kudos to the PAL team which made this flight a reality and most importantly, congratulations to our PAL flight deck crew under the leadership of Capt. Chuck. You make us proud,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said.

Aside from the Boeing B777, the ultra-long range Airbus A350s, which will be delivered starting 2018 will also serve the Polar route, PAL said.

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.