Philippines Airlines Delhi foray was announced with the launch of non-stop flights in December 2018. At that time, Philippine Airlines planned on launching 4x weekly A321neo flights on Manila-Delhi route from March 31, 2019, with rather odd timings.
Then in late January 2019, Philippine Airlines opened up booking for Manila-Delhi route with a change in timings and frequency. Philippine Airlines pushed back the launch of flights to April 16, 2019, from March 31, 2019. Further, they planned to operate 3x weekly flights on Delhi – Manila and increase it to 4x weekly from May 4, 2019, with an A321neo.
Philippine Airlines also shifted the timings to a more convenient morning arrival and late departure from Manila. They published attractive fares starting at INR 29k roundtrip to Manila and other destinations from Manila as well.
According to Airline Route, now, Philippine Airlines have stopped accepting bookings for the planned Manila-Delhi route. Philippine Airlines updated its timetable on March 8, 2019, where they removed the Manila-Delhi route altogether. They cancelled the route a month after starting bookings for the same.
So what could be the reason behind Philippine Airlines pulling out of the route even before starting it?
According to OAG, in a report published by Anna.Aero, the estimated indirect two-way traffic between Delhi and Manila stood at 63,606 passengers from October 2017 to September 2018. Maybe there wasn’t enough demand/bookings to operate the route profitably as per the forward booking data? Keep in mind, the timings weren’t ideal for a lot of connections on Philippine Airlines’ route network. However, I think it is very hard to assess demand until you don’t launch on the ground and run awareness campaigns with the local travel partners.
A possible reason could be that Philippine Airlines doesn’t have enough A321neos yet. Philippine Airlines have taken delivery of 6 A321neo from the first batch with the last delivery in December 2018. They have a further 15 A321LR on order with deliveries starting in 2019; of which they have received none yet.
Why do you think Philippines Airlines cancelled their Delhi foray?