Philippine Airlines suspends Kuwait route

April 12, 2018

Philippine Airlines (PAL) plans to suspend its route to Kuwait, as the Middle Eastern market continues to present challenges for carriers from the Philippines.

The Philippines flag carrier said it kept services to Kuwait operating during a repatriation program for Philippine workers in Kuwait. This year the carrier has transported nearly 900 Filipino workers from Kuwait to Manila free of charge, in an effort supported by the Philippine government.

However, with this repatriation program now complete, PAL has determined its flights to Kuwait are “economically unsustainable,” so the route will be suspended from May 16 until conditions improve. The carrier also suspended its Abu Dhabi route last year, although it reinstated it in October.

PAL has a relatively extensive network in the Middle East, catering to the large numbers of Filipino workers in that region. In addition to Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, it has flights from Manila to Dubai, Doha, and the Saudi Arabian cities Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. However, Middle Eastern carriers also have a heavy presence in the Philippine market.

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific has pulled back from most of its routes to the Middle East, citing an oversupply of seats by other airlines in this market. It suspended services to Doha, Kuwait and Riyadh in the middle of 2017. It still operates a Manila-Dubai route, however.