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25
Apr

Philippine Airlines to use two B777s for flights to London, United States

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BusinessWorld Online

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL) on Monday said the two new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft set for delivery in December will be deployed for flights to London and the United States.

“The Boeing aircraft will serve the Manila-London route, a move designed to primarily enhance the total passenger travel experience and inflight service delivery. While we already have eight triple 7s serving the West Coast, the incoming units will also augment other trans-Pacific flights,” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday.

The Lucio C. Tan-led carrier earlier earmarked around P700 million for its capital expenditures this year, almost similar to its budget last year to take delivery of two Boeing 777-ER, five Q400 Bombardier turboprops, and two Airbus A320-Neo.

Mr. Bautista noted that the Boeing 777 is PAL’s flagship aircraft for long-haul operations.

“With its range and operational capability, the flag carrier will be at par with other full service carriers along the route. We will also increase capacity as the aircraft will have a 370-seating capacity on a two -- class configuration (42 on business and 328 on economy) as compared to the 254-seating capacity of the A340,” he added.

The acquisition of the carrier’s 9th and 10th Boeing 777 is based on a long-term lease agreement with Intrepid Aviation.

Intrepid President and Chief Commercial Officer Doug Winter was quoted as saying the Philippines is among “the fastest-growing economies in Asia” and PAL “has been enjoying a strong, profitable growth trajectory over the past few years.”

Aviation think tank Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) earlier said PAL is planning on expanding its international network further in the next two years, adding more flights to Australia, China, the US and Europe.

PAL currently is in advanced discussions with an airline interested in taking a “less than 40%” stake in the company, with a deal seen within the first half of the year. The strategic investor is expected to help PAL better manage its fleet and reach five-star full service carrier status by 2020. PAL currently has a three-star rating.

In a related development, PAL said confirmed its PR 212 flight returned to an airport in Sydney, Australia on Sunday morning after it reportedly encountered problems with its landing gear. In a statement, PAL denied a report that the flight carrying 218 passengers made an “emergency landing” shortly after taking off from the Kingsford Smith International Airport, saying it “had to return to Sydney due to a technical issue.”

PAL said the A340 aircraft “landed normally” in Sydney and was subjected to a technical check.

“No emergency landing was declared by the pilot of PR212,” PAL said. “Passengers were given hotel accommodations and are being apprised of the situation. A number of affected passengers were rebooked on available PAL Sydney-Manila flights. Other passengers have been booked on other airlines (OAL),” it added, noting that safety remains the cornerstone of PAL operations.

The flag carrier serves at least 43 international destinations, including 20 regionally within East Asia, 10 in Australasia and the Pacific, seven in the Middle East, five in continental North America and one in Europe.

PAL shares closed at P5.40 apiece yesterday, down 1.82% from its previous finish of P5.50 per share. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin