PAL urges gov’t to seek more flight rights

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01:26 AM January 21st, 2013

By: Paolo G. Montecillo, January 21st, 2013 01:26 AM

Philippine Airlines has urged the government to ramp up efforts to negotiate for more flights to various countries considered as untapped or underserved markets for local airlines. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has urged the government to ramp up efforts to negotiate for more flights to various countries considered as untapped or underserved markets for local airlines.

In a recent letter to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), PAL said the new destinations in four different continents would support the airline’s current expansion plans as it takes delivery off brand-new aircraft.

“We are continuing to accept deliveries of Airbus A320s and Boeing 777-300ERs in the coming months. We expect to place further aircraft orders in the near future to bring us progressively to a 100-plane fleet,” said the letter, signed by PAL senior vice president for external affairs Socorro Gonzaga.

In its letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, PAL said the multi-agency Philippine air panel should prioritize Italy, Brazil, France, Israel, South Africa, Russia and Japan in negotiations for new flight rights.

PAL said it was planning to mount flights to the commercial hub of Milan, Italy, daily using its Boeing 777 or Airbus A330 aircraft, both of which are capable of long-haul flights.

“However, negotiations are urgently needed because our existing air agreement with Italy does not grant access to Milan or any Italian points outside Rome,” PAL said.

The airline also called for negotiations with Brazil, which represented “untapped potential” given the country’s 195 million population and status as an emerging economic power.

PAL said it was also flying to France, but cited the need for an update to the existing bilateral deal with Paris that was signed in 1989. “We hope to capitalize on the enhanced bilateral relations flowing from the recent official meeting between President Aquino and the French Prime Minister in Manila, as well as the significant contributions represented by PAL’s mega-order of 64 aircraft from France-based Airbus/EADS,” PAL said.

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