You may soon be able to fly direct from Winnipeg to the Philippines.
On Friday, an agreement was struck between Canada and the Philippines to double the number of direct flights allowed each week between the two countries, from seven to 14.
Pascal Belanger, vice president for the Winnipeg Airports Authority, is pushing to get at least one of those direct flights to operate between Winnipeg and Manila.
He said it just makes sense since 35,000 people travel between the two cities every year.
“Manila is our largest international market, if you take out other Caribbean and Mexico destinations. So I think for us to provide direct access to that country will actually be tremendous for the existing Filipino community,” Belanger said.
"There are ways to get here but they aren't extremely convenient because they take time and obviously the big asset would be to have a direct service between us and the Philippines."
Winnipegger Jenisis Del Monte flies to the Philippines once a year to visit family but has to fly through Vancouver to get there.
Currently, carrier Philippine Airlines routes all seven of its weekly Canadian flights out of Vancouver.
“When I do go back there, it’s very heartwarming. It’s family. Family is what matters,” said Del Monte, who added the journey to get there isn’t easy. “It’s a very taxing and demanding time, and you don’t get much sleep as well.”
The direct flight from Winnipeg to Manila would take 14 hours, but without multiple stop overs, Del Monte said it would be a nice change.
“Less worry, [a] direct flight, luggage won’t be lost,” he said. “I think that’s a fantastic idea.”
Currently, the furthest direct flights out of Winnipeg are to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Belanger said the airports authority will resume talks about the possible direct flight in July, but it’s up to Philippine Airlines to determine which extra routes will be added.
The airline has not yet responded to CBC’s requests for comment.