Philippines Airlines has put on hold its 4x weekly service to New Delhi from Manila. The news was first tweeted by Airlineroute on Friday. This comes just a month before the flights were to begin.
Manila is one of the top 10 markets from New Delhi which is not served by a direct flight. The airline amended its schedule after announcing the flights to better connect to its long haul network.
While the airline website is still advertising the flights, in an official response the airline has said that they are putting the flights on hold due to current security issues in Pakistani airspace. The response comes as a surprise since Manila – Delhi sector would not see getting anywhere closer to the Pakistani airspace.
The airline already has 6 A321neo in its fleet, one of which was to operate to New Delhi. Low forward loads and business viability could be one of the reasons which may come out at a later date. It needs to be seen if the airline will go back to one-stop operations and find merit in flying via Bangkok or will try and re-launch the route at a later date. This website has been keenly tracking the route and airline because it is one of those routes which has demand, but a non-stop was not possible till the A321neos came in operation. It will also be one of the routes which Indian low cost carrier IndiGo might look at for future expansion.
New Delhi has become a hub in the last few years with rapidly expanding connectivity. The unfortunate events at WOW air led to the airline pulling out its service to Reykjavik prematurely and Air Italy has pulled out their Milan services from both Mumbai and Delhi. Philippines Airlines will be the third loss for New Delhi International airport. The airport has been expanding rapidly and aims to have a fourth runway by 2022 along with an expanded Terminal 1, before another terminal comes up.