Dabawenyos in fam tour savor PAL’s first 777-300ER airplane

MORE than a dozen travel and tour operators from Davao savored a high level of comfort and reliability of Boeing 777-300ER, the newest addition to Philippine Airlines’ fleet, during a four-day familiarization tour of Hong Kong last December 9-12.
The fam tour, led by no less than lawyer Domingo Duerme, PAL senior assistant vice president for Mindanao, brought the travel operators around Hong Kong’s most     frequented tourist destinations and exposed them  to the amenities and services of nine 4-star and 5-star hotels, mostly in the Tsim Sha Tsui area, the so-called “heart and soul” of Hong Kong located at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula.
Organized by Ms Dolly Marques, managing director of New World Travel Corporation, who made the arrangements with Hong Kong’s Global Travel Service headed by John Choi, director, used the 365-seat 777-300ER to Hong Kong on December 10 and back on December 13.
The new airplane was delivered by Boeing to PAL only last November 18. The tour agents, 16 in all, including Mrs. Connie Duerme, wife of the SAVP, Moises Alvarez of Royal Achievers of Zamboanga City, Johnson Wee of Airtime Ticketing in Cotabato City and Crisel S. Medalla, CEO of Manila-based Destinations Unlimited, were lucky it is initially deployed in the regional area, while awaiting the go-signal from aviation authorities to fly to the United States and other international routes.
Duerme said PAL has four more 777-300ERs on order directly from Boeing to add to the airline’s long-haul fleet. It is reputedly the most efficient airplane in the 300-400 seat segment.  
He said the “Triple Seven” is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner, whose distinguishing features include the largest diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on its main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and blade-shape tail cone.
It is 19 percent lighter than its closest competitor, greatly reducing its fuel requirement, and produces 22 percent less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20 percent less to operate per seat, Duerme said.
The 777-300ER is also well-known for its cargo capacity of up to 7,120 cubic feet or 201.6 cubic meter.
Others who joined the four-day pre-Christmas fam tour were Jorge Marques, president of New World Travel Corp, Lito Tan of CMT Travel and Tours, Eng Yao Tan of Frontier Travel and Tours, Laverne Rodrigo of Kontours, Davao, Cheryl Cagumban of Mt. Apo Travel and Tours, Cipriano Edayan Jr. of House of Travel, Noel Sagot of AME Travel and Tours, M Ann M. Sarmiento of Lite Travel and Tony Ajero of Edge Davao.
Aside from the very spacious cabin and the good hot food served during the 90 minute-flight, the tour and travel operators, especially the young ones, were thrilled by the movie screen and music player provided each seat.
PAL has five flights to Hong Kong a day, according to Ms Dina May F. Flores, PAL  country manager for Hong Kong, Macau and Southwest China.