MANILA – Philippine Airlines will expand its route map in the Pacific this summer with the launch of a new route to Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Commencing on June 15, the national carrier will operate the route twice a week, departing Manila every Wednesday and Sunday at 9:20 p.m. and arriving in Saipan at 3:35 p.m. The return service will then leave Saipan every Monday and Thursday at 4:35 a.m. and arrive back in Manila at 6:45 a.m.

All flights will be operated using a two-class, 156-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.

The airline’s president and chief operating officer, Jaime J. Bautista, said the new route was aimed at “kababayans,” or Filipinos living overseas in Saipan.

“The service is much awaited by our countrymen working in the island-territory of the ... Northern Marianas. With Filipinos comprising close to 36% or 22,000 of the population, the planned flights will provide them a convenient link to their home country,” Bautista said.

Saipan is the latest addition to Philippine Airlines’ route network. In recent months the airline has launched new flights to several destinations, including Port Moresby, Cairns, Auckland, Doha, Jeddah and Kuwait. It also started flying direct between Cebu and Los Angeles in March 2016.