PAL upbeat on 2017 prospects


The Philippine Star

Philippine Airlines is gearing up for another robust year as it takes on more aircraft deliveries and introduces new flights, products and services in line with its goal to become a five-star carrier.

PAL is looking at new routes that will fly passengers direct to their destinations without transiting in Manila, starting with Clark to Incheon on Jan. 1.

The Lucio Tan- led airline will also start retrofitting its fleet of A330 with new economy seats, lie-flat business class seats and the latest inflight entertainment system through individual seat monitors.

By removing more than a hundred seats, all passengers get more legroom, PAL said in a statement.

These initiatives form part of PAL’s five-year plan to join the elite circle of carriers with a five-star rating.

PAL saw its comprehensive earnings grow six-fold to $134.42 million in 2015. This is one of the reasons why the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation named PAL as Airline Turnaround for the Year 2016.

Last year, the airline took delivery of seven new aircraft – two Boeing 777300ERs and five Airbus A321s – bringing its PAL fleet to 81 by yearend.

Aircraft deliveries would continue until year 2024, PAL said. Four A350s will be delivered in 2018, the last two in 2019.

An expanded fleet allowed PAL to fly to four new international destinations (Kuwait, Jeddah, Doha, Saipan), open new routes (Cebu-Singapore, Cebu-Los Angeles, Manila- Taipei- Osaka, CebuCaticlan-Clark) and increase flight frequencies ( Manila- Los Angeles – twice daily; Manila-Toronto – 3x to 4x weekly; Manila-Beijing – 4x to 6x weekly; and Manila-Vancouver – 7x to 10x weekly).

In January 2016, PAL ordered six A350- 900 , a twin-engine designed for long-haul flights, fitted with luxurious cabin amenities that will redefine the standards of premium travel.

PAL likewise ordered five new generation Bombardier Q400 turboprop airplanes, configured with 86 seats (10 seats more than the existing Q400 fleet) and choice seats in the forward section.

Meanwhile, the airline introduced a series of product innovations topped by an enhanced inflight connectivity system called the myPAL Inflight Entertainment System, which consist of myPAL eSuite, myPAL Wifi, myPAL Mobile and myPAL Player apps.

With myPAL eSuite, passengers can catch up on the latest movies, TV shows and music while flying. With myPAL Wi-fi, passengers can surf and browse the internet, update and check social apps at 30,000 feet above ground.

Meanwhile, myPAL Mobile allows passengers to call and text loved ones while myPAL Player app enables passengers to stream the latest movies, TV shows and music on one’s own device.

Other service enhancements include myPAL Upgrade, which allows passengers to bid online for upgrades to Business Class; myPAL Roam, which is a global mobile hotspot that provides fast and affordable mobile data around the world; Mabuhay Miles Travel Card that serves as a travel wallet, and the PAL Boutique that sells exclusive co-branded items essential for travel.

Last year, PAL opened its first contact center in China, serving passengers from seven mainland cities – Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Jinjiang, Shanghai, Xiamen.