PAL to expand capacity to London, US destinations


By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines is looking at increasing capacity to London and the United States through 2019 via its expanding fleet of widebody planes, think tank CAPA-Center for Aviation said.

PAL is taking delivery of two additional Boeing 777-300ER planes this December, increasing its B777 fleet to 10 aircraft, and six Airbus A350-900s between 2018 and 2019.

APA expected the aircraft would be used to expand PAL’s capacity to London. Moreover, it said capacity in North America would increase by around 50 percent as PAL phases out its fleet of smaller-capacity and less efficient A340s.

CAPA noted that PAL’s long-haul schedule for August 2017 consisted of 41 weekly flights, 33 of which are operated with B777 planes and the remainder through A340s.

It added that PAL’s long-haul schedule for the second half of December 2017 and early 2018 “also includes 41 weekly flights, but more capacity overall as 38 of the weekly flights will be operated with 777-300ERs.”

“The airline is able to increase the proportion of long-haul flights operated by the 777-300ER because it is taking two more of the type in early December 2017,” CAPA said.

The London route would soon be serviced by bigger planes. The carrier had announced that B777s would be used for Manila-London flights starting Sept. 19, 2017, and that the four weekly flights would be upgraded to a daily flight by December this year.

PAL revived its Manila-London route in 2013 after being removed from a European Union safety blacklist. Still, it would take several more years to grow that business.

“PAL stopped operating 777s on London in 2014 because the 777 was too big for the London market, given the initial demand, and the airline was better off redeploying the aircraft on US routes,” CAPA noted.

This came in the wake of the restoration of the Philippines’ category 1 safety status by the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2014. This allowed PAL to once again expand in the US.

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