The first commercial flight of the world’s first dual-class turboprop airplane took off last August 1 from Mactan International Airport bound for Caticlan and Clark, marking Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) serious reassertion of its domestic market dominance.
A total of 12 next-generation bi-class Bombardier Q400, with a seating capacity of 86, including six Premium Economy seats, will be tapped to expand PAL’s domestic network using operational hubs in Manila, Cebu and Clark.
By yearend, PAL will utilize the propeller-driven Q400 and Q300 on seven domestic routes out of Clark and 12 out of Cebu.
PAL flies its fleet of turboprops to Basco, Busuanga, Naga, Calbayog, Catarman, Surigao, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Tacloban, Legazpi, Iloilo, Bacolod, and soon to Zamboanga and Jolo.
PAL is the first airline to use the next-generation Q400 with enhanced features, offering passengers full service even on short flights.
Over the last seven decades, PAL operated various types of turboprops to link far-flung islands and outlying rural communities.
For over a decade (1988-1999), the 54-seater Fokker 50 was the domestic operations workhorse. A decade later, the Bombardier Q400 and Q300 were introduced (May 2008).
Five next-generation Q400s are to be delivered before December 2017, with seven more for delivery before end of 2019.