Air New Zealand will further expand its Pacific Rim network with the launch of direct flights to Manila in the Philippines from December.
The new year round service will operate three times a week using Boeing 767-300 aircraft with a flight time of around 10 and a half hours in each direction.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline expects the service to be popular at both ends of the route.
“The Filipino population in New Zealand has more than tripled since 2001 and is now the third largest Asian ethnic group, with around 40,000 Filipinos resident in New Zealand. The number of visitors from the Philippines is also continuing to grow rapidly, up more than 20 percent in the past year alone so we’re anticipating that demand for this service will be steady in both directions.
“As the only non-stop service between New Zealand and the Philippines, our flight will be quicker and more convenient for travellers than the fastest current option which flies indirect, potentially saving up to two and a half hours each way,” says Mr Luxon.
From a tourism perspective, the capital of the Philippines has plenty to offer visitors including historic Spanish colonial architecture and cultural landmarks, activities and extensive shopping options. Beyond Manila, the Philippines boasts more than 7,000 islands including the famous Boracay and Palawan islands.
The addition of Manila brings the total number of Air New Zealand’s international destinations to 32.