Thursday, April 19, 2018
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PAL set to fly to India, Sapporo

Philippine Airlines is introducing flights to New Delhi, Mumbai and Sapporo by the fourth quarter of 2018, prompted by the acquisition of new planes that will also allow it to strengthen domestic hubs.

The flag carrier outlined new routes in the next two years, noting that it would take delivery of 21 new planes during this period, including next-generation Airbus A350s and A321 neos.

PAL currently has 85 planes and its president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the carrier intended to have at least 100 aircraft by 2020.

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PAL is looking at reviving operations in India and extending its reach in Japan given favorable demand.

It noted that new planes would likewise boost operations in the Philippines, in particular, its hubs in Davao, Cebu and Clark.

“We are no longer just a Manila-centric airline,” Bautista said in a statement.

“Our new aircraft and our new hubs are a winning combination that will help expand our market reach both domestically and worldwide. This is imperative for a global airline, and we must sustain and build on our hard-won four-star rating,” he added.

PAL earlier announced its intention to become a five-star carrier by 2020.

Bautista said having at least 100 planes put PAL “in the category of a major carrier.”

“But we are not merely adding more planes, we are constantly upgrading the cabins, seats, amenities, inflight entertainment and technology,” he said.

He added that PAL’s fleet buildup would run through 2024, although details were not immediately available.

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For 2018, PAL will take delivery of five Bombardier Q400s and six new Airbus A321neos starting in May 2018, along with four Airbus A350-900 trans-oceanic aircraft starting in June 2018. For next year, to be delivered are two more Q400s, two additional A350s and A321neos.

PAL started four weekly flights between Davao and Siargao last March 25. On Oct. 28, it will launch nonstop Manila-New York flights.

“Comprehensive marketing and sales studies are ongoing for the introduction of new destinations in Europe and the US mainland, including Chicago and Seattle,” PAL noted.

Given Boracay island’s temporary closure starting April 26 this year, PAL said it was working with local and international authorities to approve new or additional flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Puerto Princesa and Cebu.

“The additional China-Cebu and Korea-Cebu flights are intended to feed more tourism travel to Camiguin, Siargao, Coron, Bohol and likewise to Butuan, rather than exclusively to Cebu. This is one positive multiplier effect of a thriving PAL hub network centered on Cebu Mactan,” PAL said in its statement.

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