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Discover heart-warming tales and anecdotes from the beating heart of the airline.





Capt. Carmelo Ortiz hands over a gift and a letter from Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas to Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Alwynne Rowlands, after PAL’s first landing in Melbourne.



Melbourne. The beautiful coastal capital city of Victoria and the second most populated city in Australia, marks an aviation milestone. Philippine Airlines celebrates 52 years of connecting Melbourne and Manila.


Philippine Airlines opened its first weekly service to Melbourne on September 10, 1971, as an onward connection of a third weekly frequency to Sydney a year after Melbourne Airport opened in Tullamarine. The historic flight left the Philippine capital a day before. That historic linking of cities was sealed with gift giving and the turnover by PAL Captain Carmelo Ortiz of a letter from then Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas to Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Alwynne Rowlands. The route was served by PAL’s long-haul workhorse of the 1970s, the Douglas DC-8 four-engine jetliner.





Melbourne passengers began enjoying widebody comfort when PAL introduced the DC-10 on May 4, 1975.



Australians and Filipinos down under began to sample widebody comfort when PAL introduced larger twin-aisle aircraft a few years after, on May 4, 1975.  The PAL McDonnell Douglas DC-10 tri-jet became a staple in the market, introducing a more spacious cabin that accommodated 22 passengers in First Class and 226 in Economy. On certain times in the 1980s, PAL would even send its mighty Boeing 747s to supplement the DC-10 in serving the Australian routes as market demand grew.




Services were upgraded to the Boeing 747 on occasional flights to Melbourne in the 1980s. 



In the 90s, as PAL increased weekly flights on routes to Sydney and Melbourne, the airline replaced the DC-10s with newer-generation Airbus A330s and A340s. PAL’s iconic tailfin, with its bold display of the Philippine flag, became a regular fixture in Melbourne.

Over the years, the Melbourne route would continue to see a build-up of frequencies, meriting its own non-stop flight service from Manila, decoupled from Sydney. PAL’s Boeing 777-300ER began to trek to the city starting in 2009, to be followed by newer A330s and A350s.

In 2022, more than 89,000 Australian passengers visited the Philippines, making Australians one of the largest sources of tourist visitors for the island nation.

In addition, PAL’s current schedule from Melbourne Airport allows connectivity to points in North America and Asia as well as all over the Philippines, via the airline’s Manila hub. Outbound passengers from Melbourne enjoy the convenience of connecting to international destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as to Cebu, Davao, and various Philippine destinations in PAL’s extensive domestic network. “We expect two-way traffic between Melbourne and Manilla will continue to grow as more Australians discover the beauty of the Philippines and increasing numbers of Filipinos head to Victoria for study, work or holidays, ” said Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus.




To celebrate the 52nd anniversary, PAL partnered with Melbourne Airport to stage on-ground activities at the airport. 



From the original once-weekly service in 1971, PAL now fields five (5x) weekly flights between Manila and Melbourne. PAL currently operates the largest network and the greatest number of flights between the Philippines and Australia, having daily flights to Sydney, 6x weekly to Brisbane and 3x weekly to Perth.