MANILA - Philippine Airlines said Tuesday it flew non-stop over the Polar region from Toronto to Manila, the first for a Filipino carrier.
The flight, PR 119, left Pearson International Airport at 12:53 a.m. on Dec. 17 and arrived in Manila 16 hours later at 6:10 p.m. on Dec. 18, the flag carrier said in a statement.
The new Polar route will cut travel time between Toronto and Manila by 4.5 hours, PAL said, adding it would now operate flights between the 2 cities 4 times a week.
"I am truly honored to have been given the privilege to lead this milestone flight. More than that, I was glad to be part of a journey that brought much happiness to passengers on board as they were given a rare treat of the Northern Lights," said Capt. Florendo Jose Aquino, who flew the Boeing 777 jet.
The plane traveled 13,300 kilometers at an altitude of 29,000 to 37,000 feet over Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China, PAL said.
"Kudos to the PAL team which made this flight a reality and most importantly, congratulations to our PAL flight deck crew under the leadership of Capt. Chuck. You make us proud," PAL president Jaime Bautista said.
Aside from the Boeing B777, the ultra-long range Airbus A350s, which will be delivered starting 2018 will also serve the Polar route, PAL said.