Shiela L. Yuliong, Regional Head – EMEA and Oceania, Philippine Airlines, shares with TRAVTALK their new programmes, especially designed for the frequent flyers and business class passengers onboard Philippine Airlines. Along with Mabuhay Miles, they have a special programme crafted for kababayans called Overseas Bayani Card, she informs.
What are the new onboard product offers by Philippine Airlines?
Philippine Airlines and Mabuhay Miles have a special programme crafted for our kababayans; this is called the Overseas Bayani Card, which is a frequent flyer programme wherein they can avail of 2,000 sign up bonus miles and a one-time voucher for one free piece of baggage, which can be used to fly with Philippine Airlines. In addition to that, we also have the Balikbayani Programme, which offers our kababayans from the Middle East to fly to select destinations in the Philippines for free. Their baggage allowance is the same from the Middle East sector all the way to the domestic sector, and the baggage is tagged all the way to the final destination as well. Something to look forward to is that by December, we will be offering Middle East business class passengers a taste of the Filipino dishes, which are especially prepared by the famous chef, JP Anglo, so everyone who flies business class can taste the flavours of the Philippines dishes.
Could you share information about the current operations and frequencies from GCC to Philippines?
At Philippine Airlines, we have restored our flights from the Middle East to the Philippines because we believe that we should be the link of the Filipinos, our fellow kababayans, to the whole country. So, now we fly daily from Dubai to Manila, and we also have daily flights from Riyadh to Manila five times a week to Dammam.
Has the flying capacity been restored to the pre-pandemic levels?
We have decided to sustain a global international network. That is why we have kept our nonstop flights to the USA and Canada, restored our regular flights to Middle East, Australia and Japan. And to multiple destinations in Southeast Asia as well. We have, in fact, what we call the 2-in-1 Getaway to connect Middle East passengers to Southeast Asia leisure destinations via Manila. What is special is that they can avail of a competitive rate. For our kababayans, who live in other provinces all across the Philippines, we are operating not only in our hub in Manila, but also in Cebu. We have just expanded the network. Last September 12, we added more flights from Cebu to connect other domestic stations such as Clark, Bacolod, Iloilo, Caticlan and Puerto Princesa. Those are in addition to the existing flights.
Since the opening of borders, how has tourist arrivals been to the Philippines?
Based on the statistics provided by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism, since the borders opened last February until the end of August, there has been about 1.37 million arrivals to the Philippines, of which 940,000 were foreign nationals and the rest were our kababayans. From the foreign nationals, around 15,000 came from the GCC countries.
How important are travel agents to Philippine Airlines?
We are grateful to our travel agency partners, who have given us the support and loyalty all these years. They are, in fact, the major contributors providing about 75 per cent in terms of share for the Middle East region.