PAL EYES MORE US FLIGHTS TO SHORE UP BOT­TOM LINE

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - BUSINESS - —RONNELW. DOMINGO

Flag car­rier Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL) is con­sid­er­ing new non­stop ultralong haul routes to and from United States cities over the next two years as it ex­pects a prob­a­ble net loss this year amid ris­ing fuel prices.

In an in­ter­view, PAL pres­i­dent Jaime Bautista ex­pressed ex­cite­ment over the es­tab­lish­ment of a non­stop flight be­tween Manila and New York, “which will hap­pen maybe third quar­ter of 2018.”

Bautista said PAL was also look­ing at new routes into the United States like Chicago and Seat­tle.

PAL an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary 2016 a deal with air­craft man­u­fac­turer Air­bus for the pur­chase of six A350-900 air­craft, with an op­tion for an­other six.

Bautista said PAL ex­pects de­liv­ery of four Air­bus 350s in 2018. As the new air­craft will be more fuel-ef­fi­cient, he said the ad­di­tions to the fleet would help the air­line do away with—for US flights—stops in Van­cou­ver in Canada that make the trips take more than 14 hours.

For a start, PAL is launch­ing this De­cem­ber di­rect flights be­tween Manila and Auck­land in NewZealand.

The move is part of a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with Tourism New Zealand, aimed at in­creas­ing the num­ber of vis­i­tors both ways.

Bautista said the non­stop flights would do away with the usual stop in Cairns in Queens­land, Aus­tralia.

He­said this would re­duce travel time by two hours, from 12 hours to 10 hours.

“As men­tioned by [ Tourism New Zealand], most Ki­wis want to travel non­stop,” he said.

PAL re­ported an unau­dited P3.29-bil­lion net loss for the third quar­ter of 2017, wors­en­ing by 63 per­cent the year-ago pe­riod’s P2­bil­lion net loss.

The third-quar­ter per­for­mance brought PAL’s net loss in the first nine months of the year to P4.95 bil­lion, a down­turn from a net in­come of P2.6 bil­lion pre­vi­ously.

“Oil prices have gone up by more than 20 per­cent com­pared with last year, but fares are still go­ing down and that’s the rea­son why we are not do­ing very well fi­nan­cially,” Bautista said.

In 2016, PAL re­ported a P3.59bil­lion net in­come af­ter tax, a 39per­cent drop from P5.87 bil­lion in 2015.

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