PAL beefs up London, US flights


By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it planned to use new Boeing 777-300 ERs, the flagship of its long-haul fleet, for flights to London and the United States.

PAL, whose fleet of about 80 aircraft includes eight B777s, earlier said new planes would replace its aging fleet of Airbus A340s.

The two new B777s will be delivered by December this year, the flag carrier added.

“The Boeing aircraft will serve the Manila-London route, a move designed to primarily enhance the total passenger travel experience and inflight service delivery,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said in a statement.

“While we already have eight Triple-7s serving the West Coast, the incoming units will also augment other trans-Pacific flights,” he added.

The B777 is the longest range wide-body aircraft in PAL’s fleet.
New flagship aircraft

“The Boeing 777 is our 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,” Bautista said.

Each of the new planes can carry 370 passengers, or 42 business-class seats and 328 economy-class seats.

The plan is linked to PAL’s ambitions to become a five-star carrier by 2020.

The B777 planes will be acquired via a long-term lease with Intrepid Aviation, PAL said.

Other major steps in its re-fleeting include buying six new Airbus A350s wide-body planes, which will be delivered starting next year, and reconfiguring eight A330s from the current monoclass setup to three classes by mid-July 2017.

PAL is also acquiring more aircraft as it foresees continued growth in demand.

The company earlier announced that it planned to serve about 15 million passengers this year, from 13.3 million in 2016.

The carrier is also anticipating the potential entry of a new investor this year.

Bautista had said operator PAL Holdings was in advanced talks with a foreign airline, which could buy a “less than” 40-percent stake in the listed company.

PAL Holdings earlier said profit for the full-year 2016 slid 38 percent to P3.53 billion while revenues rose 7.2 percent to P116.6 billion. Passenger revenues, accounting for 80 percent of the total, rose 7.1 percent to P96.3 billion. Cargo revenues dropped almost 4 percent to P6.9 billion while ancillary (nonticket fare) sales jumped 24 percent to P9.76 billion.

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