PHILIPPINE Airlines will commence direct flights from Manila to Port Moresby in October as the number of Filipino workers in Papua New Guinea steadily increases.

Company president and chief operating officer Jaime J Bautista said he was pleased to launch flights to a new destination in Oceania, bringing the commencement date forward from 18 December.

“The robust investment climate and the upsurge of business travel to and from Papua New Guinea make it ideal for PAL to open services between Manila and Port Moresby,” he said.

Flights between the two cities will operate twice a week from 25 October, with flight PR215 departing Manila every Friday and Sunday at 2:10 am.

Arrival at Port Moresby’s Jackson International Airport is at 9:20 am local time.

The return flight, PR216, departs Port Moresby on the same days at 10:10 am, arriving in Manila at 1:20 pm.

PAL will field modern Airbus A320 planes, which seat 12 in business and 144 in economy, on the five-hour-and-ten-minute-journey.

After the planes land in Port Moresby, they will fly to Cairns, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, starting from 2 December.

PNG’s national carrier Air Niugini already has non-stop flights from Manila to Port Moresby departing four times per week.

Flights from the Philippines state-owned carrier commence as the number of Filipinos arriving in PNG for employment increases.

According to research put together by Carmen Voigt-Graf of the Development Policy Centre, the number of people arriving in PNG from the Philippines for employment purposes increased from 1,232 in 2000 to 15,067 in 2012.

This was as much as 82.3 per cent of all Filipino visitors, she wrote in a study published in March.