By Ariel Fernandez
Philippine Airlines (PAL) flew a milestone ultra-long polar flight from Toronto, Canada nonstop to Manila, which was the first-ever crossing of the Polar region by a Filipino airline.
PAL flight PR119 took off from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at 12:53 a.m. local time last December 17, and arrived in Manila the next day at 6:10 a.m., after a 16-hour journey across the Arctic Region.
The historical flight was led by PAL Vice President for flight operations Captain Florendo Jose “Chuck” Aquino III, together with Captain Raymond “XP” Casambre, First Officer Paul “Boom” Domingo and Second Officer Jhonathanne “Jo” Hizon.
The state-of-the-art 370-seater Boeing 777-300ER – with registry number RP-C7779 – flew 7,200 nautical miles or 13,300 kilometers and traveled over Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. The flight was conducted at cruising altitudes ranging from 29,000 to 37,000 feet.
PAL President and COO Jaime J. Bautista proudly said: “This was the first non-stop direct flight from Toronto to Manila over the polar region (north pole). Congratulations 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.”