PAL up­beat on 2017 prospects

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS -

Philip­pine Air­lines is gear­ing up for an­other ro­bust year as it takes on more air­craft de­liv­er­ies and in­tro­duces new flights, prod­ucts and ser­vices in line with its goal to be­come a five-star car­rier.

PAL is look­ing at new routes that will fly pas­sen­gers di­rect to their des­ti­na­tions with­out tran­sit­ing in Manila, start­ing with Clark to In­cheon on Jan. 1.

The Lu­cio Tan- led air­line will also start retrofitting its fleet of A330 with new econ­omy seats, lie-flat busi­ness class seats and the lat­est in­flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem through in­di­vid­ual seat mon­i­tors.

By re­mov­ing more than a hun­dred seats, all pas­sen­gers get more legroom, PAL said in a state­ment.

These ini­tia­tives form part of PAL’s five-year plan to join the elite cir­cle of car­ri­ers with a five-star rat­ing.

PAL saw its com­pre­hen­sive earn­ings grow six-fold to $134.42 mil­lion in 2015. This is one of the rea­sons why the Cen­tre for Asia-Pa­cific Avi­a­tion named PAL as Air­line Turn­around for the Year 2016.

Last year, the air­line took de­liv­ery of seven new air­craft – two Boe­ing 777300ERs and five Air­bus A321s – bring­ing its PAL fleet to 81 by yearend.

Air­craft de­liv­er­ies would con­tinue un­til year 2024, PAL said. Four A350s will be de­liv­ered in 2018, the last two in 2019.

An ex­panded fleet al­lowed PAL to fly to four new in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions (Kuwait, Jed­dah, Doha, Saipan), open new routes (Cebu-Sin­ga­pore, Cebu-Los An­ge­les, Manila- Taipei- Osaka, Ce­buCat­i­clan-Clark) and in­crease flight fre­quen­cies ( Manila- Los An­ge­les – twice daily; Manila-Toronto – 3x to 4x weekly; Manila-Beijing – 4x to 6x weekly; and Manila-Vancouver – 7x to 10x weekly).

In Jan­uary 2016, PAL or­dered six A350- 900 , a twin-engine de­signed for long-haul flights, fit­ted with lux­u­ri­ous cabin ameni­ties that will re­de­fine the stan­dards of premium travel.

PAL like­wise or­dered five new gen­er­a­tion Bom­bardier Q400 tur­bo­prop air­planes, con­fig­ured with 86 seats (10 seats more than the ex­ist­ing Q400 fleet) and choice seats in the for­ward sec­tion.

Mean­while, the air­line in­tro­duced a se­ries of prod­uct innovations topped by an en­hanced in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity sys­tem called the myPAL In­flight En­ter­tain­ment Sys­tem, which con­sist of myPAL eSuite, myPAL Wifi, myPAL Mo­bile and myPAL Player apps.

With myPAL eSuite, pas­sen­gers can catch up on the lat­est movies, TV shows and mu­sic while flying. With myPAL Wi-fi, pas­sen­gers can surf and browse the in­ter­net, up­date and check so­cial apps at 30,000 feet above ground.

Mean­while, myPAL Mo­bile al­lows pas­sen­gers to call and text loved ones while myPAL Player app en­ables pas­sen­gers to stream the lat­est movies, TV shows and mu­sic on one’s own de­vice.

Other ser­vice en­hance­ments in­clude myPAL Up­grade, which al­lows pas­sen­gers to bid on­line for up­grades to Busi­ness Class; myPAL Roam, which is a global mo­bile hotspot that pro­vides fast and af­ford­able mo­bile data around the world; Mabuhay Miles Travel Card that serves as a travel wal­let, and the PAL Bou­tique that sells ex­clu­sive co-branded items es­sen­tial for travel.

Last year, PAL opened its first con­tact cen­ter in China, serv­ing pas­sen­gers from seven main­land cities – Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Ma­cau, Jin­jiang, Shang­hai, Xi­a­men.

1ST INT’L PAL FLIGHT AT CLARK: A Philip­pine Air­lines Air­bus A321 ar­rives at Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port from In­cheon, South Korea to com­plete the first new route (Clark-In­cheon) of the year and first in­ter­na­tional flight out of Clark for the flag car­rier. More new routes out­side of Manila have been lined up in the com­ing weeks.

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