Philippine Airlines (PAL) will add Cairns as its fifth Australian destination and introduce flights to Auckland from December with Airbus A320s.
The new four times a week service kicks off on December 1 and will operate via a Manila-Cairns-Auckland routing, the airline said on Wednesday.
Currently, Philippine Airlines serves Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Darwin from its Manila hub.
PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would have pickup rights on the Cairns-Auckland sector and help stimulate travel between Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Moreover, PAL would offer the 40,000 Filipinos living in NZ a convenient link to their home country.
“The new service allows PAL to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travellers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality,” Bautista said in a statement.
“In the long term, the service will drive traffic between Southeast Asia and New Zealand.”
PAL’s A320s are configured with either 150 seats (12 business and 138 economy) or 156 seats (12 business and 144 economy).
Currently, Cairns Airport receives international service from Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Jetstar (Denpasar, Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita) and United (Guam).
The airport also has seasonal international service to Auckland with Air New Zealand, while China Eastern and China Southern have also served Cairns on a seasonal from their hubs Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively.
In addition to PAL’s arrival, Singapore Airlines’ regional wing SilkAir was due to commence flights to Cairns from Singapore on May 30.
Cairns Airport chief executive Kevin Brown said the new PAL service would help boost tourism both in Australia and the Philippines.
“Through Manila the new Philippine Airlines service will offer even more Asian connections for visitors coming to Cairns and Great Barrier Reef,” Brown said in a statement.
“The Auckland service will provide us with year round direct connectivity with New Zealand once again linking us with this important neighbouring tourism market and through connections via Auckland.
“Resort islands such as beautiful Boracay are sure to prove popular with Cairns locals.”