Toronto, 30 November 2012 – This afternoon at around 5.22 pm Eastern Standard Time, the very first direct flight to Toronto of the Philippines’ flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), touched down at Pearson International Airport to the warm welcome of many excited patrons of the airline, including some Filipino travel agents based in Toronto who were invited for this special occasion.
It has been a long time coming for the Philippine legacy carrier to finally decide to serve the Filipino population of Eastern Canada, who have been clamoring to have direct flights to Manila from Toronto for a long time. Toronto is home to more than 200,000 residents of Filipino roots.
The environment at the airport terminal was of much anticipation, and you can feel that the preparations done by the staff of PAL, in cooperation with the airport authorities, was a special celebration – but only to a certain degree. Because, although PAL wanted to invite more performers and more personalities, airport security alloted them only a certain number of outsiders to let in, which is understandable.
Local big names that I remembered present at the inaugural flight were: Councilor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga (man, she is hot!) and the big guys of Pearson Airport led by CEO Howard Eng.
As soon as PAL’s B777-300ER pulled-by the gate and the passengers started to alight, most of the people gathered started snapping photos and videos of people coming out of the tube.
We were expecting to see PAL COO Ramon Ang, who is supposed to deliver a speech and lead the ribbon cutting ceremony but we are told that he didn’t feel well the last minute. He was proxied by Bong Cruz, though, to grace the whole ceremony. Bong Cruz is the VP of Marketing at PAL.
The arriving VIP’s from Manila, I’m assuming, is composed of some management staff of PAL Philippines but the rest, I think, were media people from the Philippines.
After all the Manila VIP’s were done with documentation procedures, the airport authorities welcomed and introduced Mr. Bong Cruz, who spoke about the importance of this new direct route to Toronto.
After he spoke, a symbolic presentation of a PAL B777-300ER replica to Pearson International bigwigs, cake slicing and ribbon-cutting ceremony followed and this formally finalized the entry of Philippine Airlines at Canada’s biggest and busiest airport.
Like I said, security limited the entry of performers, so only one group were invited to perform at the occasion. Still, the Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe – a local group of performing artist in Toronto, entertained a lot of people and received a big applause for their performance.
The ceremony in all only took more than an hour with the remaining time occupied by the Fiesta Filipina performers as they are watched by departing passengers and other remaining guests. But after a while, most of us started to exit the airport.
We are again back to our job of promoting this new route to our customers.
Filipino travel agencies in Toronto who were there are: Travelmart, Superb Travel and Royal Vacations. Asia Connection was the only one from Western Canada.
Local media I noticed were Atin Ito, Libreto, TFC and Omni news. There are probably others I did not recognize.
On that note, the ball now is on our court to make this latest foray of Philippine Airlines to serve the Filipino residents of Eastern Canada successful. Special thank you, of course, to Allan Coo – the Country Manager of PAL in Canada for letting us become a part of this historic occassion.
Again, we welcome Philippine Airlines in Canada’s most diverse city!
Related posts: http://adoborepublic.net/philippine-airlines-to-have-direct-flights-from-toronto-to-manila.html and also http://adoborepublic.net/philippine-airlines-getting-ready-for-inaugural-manila-to-toronto-flight.html
Here’s some videos of PAL’s inaugural flight to Toronto from Youtube:
From Deo Moreno: