Philip­pine Air­lines to re-en­ter In­dia?

Philip­pine Air­lines is mulling to re-en­ter the In­dian mar­ket with a di­rect flight. In an in­ter­view, Ryan Uy, Vice Pres­i­dent- Sales, Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL), shares more

Micetalk - - Contents -

Cur­rently en­gaged in fleet ex­pan­sion, the air­line aims to be ranked as a 5-star air­line by Sky­trax by 2020 and is im­prov­ing flight ex­pe­ri­ence for this. PAL is the only air­line in the Philip­pines that of­fers busi­ness class ser­vice which caters to high-end MICE and busi­ness trav­ellers alike.

In 2016, the Philip­pines re­ceived a record ar­rival of 90,000 In­dian tourists, reg­is­ter­ing a 21 per cent growth over 2015. Dur­ing Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary, 2017, the des­ti­na­tion reg­is­tered 27.99 per cent growth over the same pe­riod in 2016. The des­ti­na­tion is aim­ing to cross the one mil­lion mark from In­dia.

Ryan Uy, be­lieves that once PAL en­ters the In­dian mar­ket with a di­rect flight, this growth will be fur­ther stim­u­lated.

PAL FOR FLEET EX­PAN­SION

He elab­o­rates, “We are as­sess­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of Philip­pine Air­lines en­ter­ing the In­dian mar­ket again. We are re­ceiv­ing a brand new air­craft that can ably serve the In­dian mar­ket and once it is de­liv­ered, we are hope­ful that we will en­ter the In­dian mar­ket next year. The Philip­pines wit­nessed a dou­ble digit growth in the last five years in In­dian ar­rivals to the des­ti­na­tion and we are hop­ing to wel­come 125,000 In­di­ans in 2017.

In 2016, the record ar­rival of 90,000 In­dian tourists to the des­ti­na­tion means on an av­er­age 246 pas­sen­gers per day, which is a great fig­ure for us.” Uy in­formed that last year, the air­line em­barked on a 5-star in five years pro­gramme. He ex­plains, “We are re­flect­ing on and im­prov­ing our ser­vice and are hop­ing that this year we will re­ceive the 4-star rank­ing from Sky­trax. We look for­ward to Philip­pine Air­lines be­com­ing a 5-star air­line by 2020. We have in­vested a lot in terms of our fleet. We or­dered six brand new A350, A321­neo, both long range and are re­ceiv­ing two brand new 777 by the end of this year, tak­ing the to­tal num­ber of wide body air­crafts to 31. The av­er­age age of the fleet is only four years which is one of the youngest in Asia.”

GEARED FOR MICE

The air­line is tar­get­ing both leisure and busi­ness trav­ellers from In­dia. Cur­rently, PAL does not op­er­ate any code­share flights but is con­sid­er­ing ap­proach­ing In­dia's na­tional car­rier — Air In­dia and other In­dian car­ri­ers for strong part­ner­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion. Its tran­sit hubs at Bangkok and Sin­ga­pore have seen max­i­mum load fac­tor as the air­line has more fre­quen­cies from th­ese hubs and th­ese tran­sit hubs also of­fer at­trac­tive two coun­try travel op­tion to In­dian trav­ellers. He says, “The new air­craft that we have or­dered the, A321­neo, long range will have a flat bed, busi­ness class seats that will eas­ily cater to the high-end MICE mar­ket. Cur­rently, since we are off­line we are of­fer­ing the Asian gate­ways that we do serve, Bangkok, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong and by June we will be­gin op­er­a­tions to Kuala Lumpur daily. Those flights do have busi­ness class seats. We are the only air­lines in the Philip­pines that of­fer a busi­ness class ser­vice. So, in terms of ex­plor­ing the Philip­pines both for MICE and high end traf­fic, we have the right prod­uct for each mar­ket seg­ment.”

DO­MES­TIC FLIGHTS

Talk­ing about the car­rier’s ser­vice on the do­mes­tic Philip­pines routes, he adds, “The high­est seat-load fac­tor that we have is for the do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions, which is around 80 per cent and up.

"We do have a wide-bod­ied air­craft and can eas­ily use it when there is a high de­mand. For a de­mand for MICE, we cur­rently have A330 and 777 and next year we will be re­ceiv­ing our brand new A350, wide-bod­ied air­craft," he says.

"We do have the fa­cil­ity to up-gage or down-gage an air­craft when­ever its needed. The city that gets max­i­mum num­ber of flights is Cebu. Cebu is the sec­ondary ma­jor city of the Philip­pines. There are a lot of fre­quen­cies be­tween Cebu and Manila.”

As far as the prospec­tive di­rect flight is con­cerned, the air­line is se­ri­ously look­ing at Delhi and is aware of the at­trac­tive­ness of Mum­bai. De­pend­ing on the re­sult of their study, num­bers, sus­tain­abil­ity, the fi­nal de­ci­sion will be taken as to which city will be more prof­itable to start op­er­a­tions from when the air­line en­ters the In­dian mar­ket.

He con­cludes, “Philip­pines not only caters to leisure trav­ellers, but, also to busi­ness trav­ellers, and for MICE. Some of the most pop­u­lar cities that In­di­ans travel to in­clude Manila, which is the gate­way for the Philip­pines, fol­lowed by Cebu.

Other pop­u­lar cities, that are beau­ti­ful and world renowned, are Bo­ra­cay and Palawan. Bo­ra­cay is ex­otic with its fine sand, clear blue wa­ters, while Palawan, of­fers trav­ellers to wit­ness the unique underground river.”

A321­neo, will have a flat bed, busi­ness class seats that will eas­ily cater to the high-end MICE mar­ket

Ryan Uy

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