PAL to lose 60% of Boracay-bound passengers

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines —PAL to lose 60% of Boracay-bound passengers The country’s flag-carrier, Philippine Airlines, is set to lose 60 to 70 percent of the total passengers traveling to Boracay via its Caticlan and Kalibo routes.

In a press conference on Thursday at the Marco Polo Hotel here, PAL president and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista said PAL last year flew about a million passengers to Caticlan and Kalibo plus its regular chartered international flights.

Bautista said the upcoming six months closure of Boracay will affect the number of passengers flying with PAL.

The airline has already announced flight adjustments as the government announced the impending six-month closure – starting April 26 – to pave the way for the island to rehabilitate.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo,  has earlier said, Boracay-bound tourists has the option to visit other tourism destinations of the country. “For those who love our beaches, they can go to Palawan, Cebu, Samal or Mati, they can have enjoy our  beaches, this time tourism activities are spread to different islands.”

As it is now, the he flag carrier operates nine weekly flights to Caticlan and Kalibo, and seven weekly flights between Manila and Caticlan.

But Bautista said to compensate for the impending closure of Boracay, PAL will increase flights to different vacation destinations throughout the country.

“We expect Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan to benefit as we re-direct more flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Cebu and Puerto Princesa, with some traffic flowing on to Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan,” he said.

Starting April 20, PAL will have additional flights between Manila and Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, and Bacolod. It will also increase flights between Cebu and Busuanga, Cebu and Siargao starting April 26.

Bautista said PAL will also convince its charterers to move to Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran and Davao.

Despite expected losses due to Boracay’s closure, Bautista announced that PAL will continue to open more routes with the delivery of new airplanes. PAL’s losses in 2017 were pegged at PHP7 billion.

Bautista said this was attributed to PAL’s not being able to sell tickets at rates higher than its competitors.

“But we are not merely adding more planes, we are constantly upgrading the cabins, seats, amenities, in-flight entertainment and technology,” he said.

PAL currently serves 76 destinations in four continents. “We just turned 77 years old, but our fleet is among the youngest in the industry. Most of all, our spirit is young and we are focused strongly on the future,” he pointed out.

PAL recently achieved a 4-star Global Airline Certification by Skytrax, an international rating organization.

“This 4-star rating was the fruit of two years of transformation in fleet, cabins, products and services that demanded millions of dollars in hard investments and the concerted efforts of all members of the PAL organization,” he stressed. –with reports from Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)

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