Many of you may not know this but the first Asian airline to fly between Asia and the Americas was Philippine Air Lines.
Philippine Airlines at the time was one of the most advanced carriers of the region for many reasons. Due to American influence, after WWll and the Japanese invasion to the islands, the Philippines had a larger and more developed economy than that of Japan.
The airline became the first in Asia to fly accross the pacific ocean when it won a contract from the U.S. military to transport American troops back to the U.S. mainland after the war. It was in that form that San Francisco became a destination for the first Asian airline to the United States. Pan American World Airways and Northwest Orient Airlines were the only other option for passengers in the days.
Philippine Air lines, later extended its Manila-Honolulu-San Francisco service to Mexico City. It was the airline's CEO's vision for PAL to become a world class airline with a route map resembling the likes of Pan American World Airways, BOAC, and Air France. For that matter, Philippine Airlines also set on connecting Manila and the capital of its former colonial governor Spain.
The Mexico City route, was a rather interesting one. It was the desire of the Philippine government and PAL's chairman of the time to re-establish links between the newly independent Philippine nation and Mexico. For a period of more than two and half centuries (during Spanish colonia rule) the two nations traded and exchanged with one another with the famous Manila gallons to the point that throughout this time period the Philippine Islands were under the government of Mexico City (in what was then no such thing as a country called Mexico, but a colonial territory called New Spain). There was no direct contact between Spain and Manila as everything in between the two points was taken by the other colonial powers.
At the time, Philippine Air Lines was also the only carrier flying between San Francisco and Mexico City. Mexicana's golden Aztec route at the time only went as far north as Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, the Philippines would go through political turmoil by the late 1950s, and the PAL was directly affected by this. PAL stopped flying all of its international routes to Europe and North America. The Pacific wouldn't be crossed again until the late 60s or early 70s.
Many of you didn't know this, but Philippine Airlines one day flew to Mexico City.
Sam the Lab From Ireland, joined Aug 2001, 230 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 3113 times:
Very fascinating contribution you have there, LatinPlane. Mexico sure does sound like a really interesting country. Wish I could go there sometime. I remember once taxiing in at Madrid around noon a few winters ago and how thrilled I was to see the Aeromexico 767 land in the lovely sunlight - a glorious site.
LatinPlane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3043 times:
Sam the Lab:
Yes, you are correct. Mexico holds such interesting history and culture; it's truly a fascinating country.
I have many Filipino friends too, and I have been very surprised to see that we have so many things in common, especially in the food and customs. We have many fruits that we consider tipically Mexican like the mango, tamarind, and persimmons that we originally got from them. I plan to go there next year, if everything goes as planned. For more information visit:
I have seen old PAL timetables at airliner shows with the Mexico City route map. I wish I would have bought one, but I remember from the pics that many of the pics illustrate American pilots flying the DC-6's. I guess they didn't have enough Filipino trained qualified pilots then.
Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6101 posts, RR: 11 Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 2971 times:
Quite sad we dont see alot of these prestige routes being flown as much as years ago. Airlines flying to destinations just so they could say they had a vast route network- Aeroflot, Sabena, Pan Am, Cubana, and many more- all are good examples.
On the other hand we have airlines that are somewhat afraid to reach destinations that could work very well (Mexicana and Aeromexico are very good examples.)
Jacques60 From France, joined Jul 2003, 120 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 2959 times:
Thanks very much, LatinPlane, for bringing me back to some years back !
Even though I lived in MNL from 1977 to 1981...I did not know PR did fly to MEX ! By the way do you know why they did to SFO rather than LAX ? May be a US military need, similar to PAA going MNL/GUM/HNL ?
As you pointed out I also was surprised that PR (nor IB !) did not fly to MAD even when they had developped a whole european network at the end of the 70's.
LatinPlane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2917 times:
Mi tia les llamaba persimos. No se si los conoces?
We have them in Jalisco (where my family is from), which is where the pacific ports of San Blas, Navidad, and Puerto Vallarta are located and where the Manila Galleons would dock. My aunt used to love eating them; I never really cared for them, but one day at a filipino friends house she offered me some and I was like "hey, we have those too." They also eat many of our foods that are indigenous to Mexico like camotes (sweet potatoes - the Mexican kind) tilapia (fried fish), avocados, chicharones and even champurado and many other stuff that you wouldn't believe. They also have many other stuff that is not necessarily Mexican, but Spanish that we eat too. (like flan and empanadas)
Well, I was trying to find an old PAL itinerary with the route map, but I can't find one on-line. I found some, but they don't show the back part where the route map is found. In any case, they're really good take a look at them.
Copaair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 2839 times:
It may have been that KE was planning it, i really dont know. I saw somewhere bizarre flights that continued on from the US. KE was on there, it was probably nearly a possibility. I wonder if they would consider doing it now via SFO or LAX because of the feed of SkyTeam
LatinPlane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2666 posts, RR: 14 Reply 12, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2677 times:
To answer your questions:
San Francisco has historically been the gateway to Asia for the United States (until Los Angeles took away the honor in late 70s). Many airlines flew to SFO first including Japan Airlines, Korean Air, PAL, Qantas, Air China, etc, etc. It was only until the late 70s that Southern California took off as the economic powerhouse that it is (thanks in part to trade with Asia and the Asian community) SOCal area now has a bigger airport and a larger man-made port than the bay area; therefore, more trade and business is done with Asia.
PAL's intention was to fly American servicemen back home. SFO was the natural choice. I don't know if they used OAK or SFO. The first flights were done using chartered DC-4s from a cargo/charter airline (forgot the name). Once it got its own equipment it started carrying paying passengers.
PAL did endeed fly to Madrid at the same time period that its west bound flights reached Mexico City. Both destinations were never resumed once PAL went transoceanic again in the late 60s early 70s.
Direct communication between the Islands and Spain was never too big. As you know, they were the farthest territory of the Spanish empire and only served as an outpost for their trade of chinese silk, spices, and valuable goods. That's why they kept their native language and never actually adopted Spanish as their form of communication (except for religious and legal use) Contact between the points was made through the Spanish viceroys in what is now Mexico (sounds like something out of Star Wars). When Mexico declared independence, Spain stayed in contact with Islands for only about 60 years until the Americans came invaded and took them over for themselves... (the dark side) Hence the reason why Filipinos are somewhat Americanized and use English for legal use.
That must explain why IB never really cared to serve Manila, very much unlike it did with Spain's former colonial territories in the Americas and Africa.