Latest Stories

Foreign airlines eyed to invest in PAL

San Miguel confirms talks with ANA, Emirates



San Miguel Corp. is in talks to bring in a major foreign firm as a strategic partner in flag carrier Philippine Airlines and the prospective partners include Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Dubai-based Emirates Airline.

Inquirer sources said SMC was in talks with ANA on a prospective partnership in PAL while some exploratory talks have been conducted with Emirates.

SMC president Ramon Ang, who is also president of PAL, confirmed that these foreign airlines have expressed interest to invest in PAL and that SMC was open to taking any of them as a partner.

Ang said PAL would welcome a strategic investor and that a partnership could happen “within this year.”

Tycoon Lucio Tan earlier put his 51-percent stake in PAL on the block but as the strategic partner, SMC has the option to take up the block and consolidate its interest in the flag carrier. However, SMC is also open to getting another strategic partner in PAL, which Ang said could return to profitability as early as 2014.

“We are now actually in discussions with ANA,” said another source within the SMC group, also confirming the “initial” discussions with Emirates.

ANA is Japan’s biggest airline in terms of passenger volume and one of the largest in the region.

SMC has existing partnerships with Japanese firms, notably with Kirin group in crown jewel San Miguel Brewery and Nihon Yamamura Glass Co. Ltd. in packaging.

Meanwhile, Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East and one of the leading carriers globally.

A foreign airline, however, can buy up to only 40 percent of PAL given the existing constitutional restriction on foreign ownership in key industries.

PAL is embarking on a massive fleet modernization program, with about 100 new planes expected to be delivered over the next five years, of which 80 have been ordered to date.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Ang said that after losing an average $50 million a year, PAL could turn the corner by 2014. “We’re 100-percent positive that it will be profitable by next year,” Ang said during the television interview.

Ang said PAL would need to invest $1 billion more to become a very competitive regional airline, adding SMC could very well provide the money.

The PAL chief said the flag carrier was lucky because delivery period by aircraft manufacturers had narrowed to one to two years from five to seven years because of the economic problems in Europe and the United States. As such, he said PAL could embark on a “very, very quick” refleeting program that, in turn, could allow the airline to unlock more operating efficiencies.

He said the cost of fuel and maintenance was equivalent to about $1.2 billion or 60 percent of revenues. With the use of fuel-efficient aircraft, the ratio could go down to 40 percent, translating to $400 million in immediate savings.

He added that PAL could not be compared to a low-cost carrier, but PAL could be very competitive in terms of pricing because it has in its fleet bigger aircraft that could seat more passengers. He noted that fuel consumption and labor cost were almost the same if an airline operator were to operate a 240-seater plane and a smaller 170-seater aircraft, implying PAL’s advantage in terms of generating revenues from its bigger capacity.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Airline industry , All Nippon Airways , Business , Investment , News , Philippine Airlines

  • DonQuixoteDeRizal

    Emirates has a code sharing arrangement with PAL on mnl-dxb route but i doubt if emirates will buy the 40%. I think they had some bad experience with sri lankan airline. You dont buy a money-losing company just like that. Knowing emirates for being protective of its image and doing it alone is another why it will not go for PAL.

  • themask celestial

    I just flew to Sydney by PAL. I agree that there is no seat inflight entertaiment, but I don’t agree that the stewardess are not good in service. I really impressed by the attitudeof the new stewardess. Remember that PAL was severely affected by 1997 asian crises and the airline was placed under receivership in 1998, and only recovering a couple of years back. There are many airlines that also do not have a seat inflight entertaiment (not all route for Thai airways has). Lets give PAL a chance, if PAL will soar, Philippines will also soar. Just for FYI, PAL is one of the biggest buyer of BOEING that recently put order new planes, around 100 unit for their re-fleeting program.They also just bought a shares in another airlines in Cambodia. I wish PAL will fly high again.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Prosecutor says mate in SKorean ferry steering waters for 1st time
  • Malaysia asks world to pray for missing plane clue
  • 13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche
  • Pope sends condolences for S.Korea ferry victims
  • Drone kills 15 ‘Qaeda,’ 3 civilians in Yemen – security
  • Sports

  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Marketplace