PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) is planning to mount nonstop flights from Manila to New Delhi and Mumbai in India and to Sapporo in Japan by the fourth quarter, as the flag carrier expects 15 new aircraft to be delivered this year.
PAL said in a statement it is accepting delivery of six new Airbus A321neos starting May. These A321neos will be used for flights to Asia-Pacific destinations, including India and Japan.
PAL said it will introduce new routes to India after Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo called for direct links to the Asian country which is seen as a possible source of tourists.
The airline is also studying Ms. Teo’s request to launch international routes from Davao International Airport to Bangkok, Thailand or any point in Japan.
PAL said it is also expecting delivery of five Next-Generation Bombardier Q400s and four Airbus A350-900 trans-oceanic aircraft starting June 2018.
The Bombardier Q400s are for domestic flights, while the A350-900s are for the polar route between Manila and New York.
PAL is planning to increase frequencies in the following routes: Cebu-Siargao (twice daily by end-April); Cebu-Busuanga (Coron) (thrice daily by April 26); and Cebu-Clark, (10 weekly flights by April 28).
It is also looking to boost flights from Clark to Davao and Cagayan de Oro to daily later this year.
PAL is also increasing frequencies between Manila and Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Cebu, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod through May.
The airline is planning to upgrade to the wide-body Airbus A330 or A340 aircraft on selected Manila-Cebu and Manila-Davao flights.
PAL is set to fly the polar route from Manila nonstop to New York (John F. Kennedy Airport) starting Oct. 28.
Meanwhile, PAL said it is presently working with local and international authorities to secure approval for new or additional chartered flights from China, South Korea and Taiwan to Puerto Princesa and Cebu.
This after the cancellation of international flights to Kalibo and Caticlan, during the six-month closure of Boracay island.
PAL said it will scale down its services to Caticlan and Kalibo airports, and will operate weekly flights between Manila and Kalibo and seven weekly flights between Manila and Caticlan until October.
“The additional China-Cebu and Korea-Cebu flights are intended to feed more tourism travel to Camiguin, Siargao, Coron, Bohol and likewise to Butuan, rather than exclusively to Cebu. This is one positive multiplier effect of a thriving PAL hub network centered on Cebu Mactan,” PAL said in a statement.
PAL currently flies to 16 domestic and seven international locations from Cebu; 14 domestic and one international from Clark; six domestic points from Davao; and one international destination (Seoul, Korea) from Tagbilaran.
PAL Holdings, Inc. reported a P7.3-billion net loss in 2017, due to higher fuel prices and ballooning aircraft and passenger expenses.
The company eyes to close a deal with a strategic investor this year. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo