MANILA, Philippines-The country’s flag carrier will expand more route to carry bother domestic and international flights starting 2017.
The Philippine Airlines (PAL) expansion plan includes expansion of China operations with direct flights to Boracay and Cebu. Chengdu will be added again to the China network.
PAL added seven new aircraft to the fleet in 2016 (Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A321-231), bringing to 81 the total number of airplanes.
The Airbus A330s are being retrofitted with lie-flat Business Class seats, while reducing the number of seats to create space for more legroom. These aircraft will have full service Premium Economy and more spacious Regular Economy seats. These refurbished A330s will be deployed on routes to Australia, Hawaii, Japan and other premium Asian cities.
New generation Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2017. The new 86-seater Q400s (10 seats more than those already in the fleet) are fitted with Premium Economy section. PAL bought five Q400s, with option for seven more. The fleet of Q400 and Q300 turboprops are utilized on short inter-island routes especially to airports with short runways.
Late this year, the airline initially operationalized the Clark hub with domestic flights – Clark-Cebu, Clark-Davao and Clark-Puerto Princesa.
Next year, they expect an increased domestic routes via Cebu.
In 2016, PAL flew to four new destinations (Kuwait, Jeddah, Doha, Saipan) while opening the same number of new routes (Cebu-Los Angeles, Taipei-Osaka, Abu Dhabi-Doha, Cebu-Singapore) and three new domestic links (Cebu-Caticlan, Caticlan-Clark, Cebu-Kalibo).
PAL started the year with the launch of another new route – Cebu-Incheon.
Gauging from last year’s number of new routes opened, new airplanes acquired and new service innovations, Philippine Airlines (PAL) is raising the level of excitement for 2017.
The flag carrier will gradually unwrap details of these expansion plans – under the over-all thrust of becoming a five-star airline – so as to generate suspense among its loyal passengers.
Those who keep tab on PAL expect the opening of new European and US destinations, as announced in the past by PAL President Jaime J. Bautista.
PAL is riding the crest of favorable industry forces such as stable fuel prices and the strong travel demand within the region.
PAL succeeded at tapping the region’s growth when it registered a nearly 600% increase in net income in 2015 over the previous year.
Barring any global interference to this travel boom in the region, the airline company expects only minor fine-tuning to its strategy of route and fleet expansion as well as exciting service enhancements.
The airline further increased frequencies to Los Angeles (twice daily), Toronto (from three to four times weekly), Beijing (four to six times weekly) and Vancouver (seven to 10 times weekly).
Inflight entertainment system was upgraded while providing wireless connectivity (myPAL eSuite, myPAL Mobile, myPAL Player and myPAL Wifi) so passengers stay connected up while flying.
There is much anticipation where PAL will fly next, although the company is not yet done with regional expansion due to the onset of Open Skies in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
The excitement will also build up for the delivery of the first Airbus A350-900, an ultra-modern jet that will redefine the standards in passenger comfort on long-haul flights.