MANILA – Philippine Airlines resumes a long-awaited service to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 28, 2010, heeding the clamor of the large Filipino community in the Middle East and marking a return to the region after an absence of four years.
The non-stop service will operate four times weekly, with flight PR 658 departing Manila every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:20 p.m. It arrives in the Saudi capital at 11:00 p.m. (Riyadh time)
The return service, PR 659, departs Riyadh at 12:30 a.m. every Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Monday, and arrives back in Manila at 3:00 p.m. (Manila time)
Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which seat 50 passengers in Mabuhay Class (business) and 383 in Fiesta Class (economy), will be deployed on the service.
PAL last served Riyadh, its final destination in the Middle East, on March 2, 2006. The service was suspended for commercial reasons.
The flag carrier’s return to the region has been welcomed by Filipino expatriates, who number about 2 million – one of the largest foreign communities working there.
PAL has been traditionally favored by Filipinos in the Middle East because its direct service to Manila means that they get home faster compared to other carriers, whose flights can involve up to two stops in intermediate cities before proceeding to Manila.
PAL first flew to Riyadh on March 1, 1987 and over the decades the Saudi capital became one of its most important points.
From March 28, with the addition of Riyadh, the PAL network will count 25 international destinations as well as 29 points in the Philippines.