PAL eyes 100 new planes to beef up fleet

Carrier to mount flights to Europe, East Coast

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Philippine Airlines plans to acquire up to 100 new aircraft over the next five years, marking its most aggressive refleeting effort since the mid-1990s, according to the flag carrier’s new president.

In an interview with the Inquirer, newly appointed PAL president Ramon Ang said the new aircraft would come in the form of regional single-aisle planes like the Airbus A320 and it’s higher capacity variant, the A321, as well as longer range wide-body jets.

“These 100 aircraft will include the ones we will buy to replace the old ones we have in our fleet now,” Ang said.

He declined to give an estimate of how much the new fleet would cost the airline, since pricing with aircraft makers are often subject to negotiations.

In particular, Ang said he would want to do more business with US plane maker Boeing, which only has seven aircraft in PAL’s present 37-plane fleet.

Most of PAL’s wide-body jets, like the Boeing 747-400 and the Airbus A340-300, were acquired in 1994, long before the flag carrier slipped into financial trouble.

The bulk of recent acquisitions came in the form of short-haul A320s.

The massive refleeting effort would be funded by San Miguel’s recent infusion of $500 million in the airline, plus a fresh $500 million in the “near future,” from San Miguel and the Lucio Tan group.

Each company will raise $250 million.

“I believe Mr. Tan would want to maintain his present equity position in PAL,” Ang said.

Ang, who also heads conglomerate San Miguel Corp. which acquired a 49-percent stake in PAL along with management control recently, said that the airline’s new fleet would allow it to resume flights to Europe, the Middle East, as well as the East Coast of the United States.

“We want to fly to New York, Chicago and Florida, on top of our present routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco,” he said, explaining that these US cities have large Filipino-American communities that would be a rich market for PAL.

He added that PAL would also like to fly to London, Rome, Paris, as well as Madrid.

Ang pointed out, however, that PAL’s expansion plans would hinge on the government’s ability to restore the country to “Category 1” status with the US Federal Aviation Administration. The US agency downgraded the Philippines’ status to Category 2 some years ago due to concerns about the local regulator’s ability to enforce safety standards.

Because of this, PAL has been unable to replace the aging B747 aircraft on its lucrative trans-Pacific routes with more fuel-efficient B777 twin-engined wide-body jets, of which it has two in its fleet.

“So PAL will use its resources to help the government regain Category 1 status,” Ang said. “We will help the Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines where we can.”

With the planned refleeting and the restoration of the Category 1 status, the PAL chief said the airline would have no problem in regaining market share that was lost to budget airlines in recent years, as well as boosting revenues and earnings.

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  • thrustreverser

    join One World. One World has only 2 asian flag carrier member while Star Alliance has SIA and THAI. Skyteam has Vietnam

  • Platypus09

    Good news. Hope this is true.

    More planes means more jobs, more choices, more tourists and balikbayans, and more money to boost our economy.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BD332GCOSPSYZI37YWHLKSO7YE Haroon Sangkula

    Maliwanag boladas lang ito just like the AFP modernization of 20 yrs ago.  Even with the infusion of  capital from SMC, PAL cannot afford a 100 plane fleet. While they talk big, sinisimut at tinitipid ang mga union by busting them.

    • Yxon

      donot underestimate SMC and Mr. Ang.  If you had been reading the recent progress of the company …

  • robrano

    Sounds a bit strange at a time when all airlines are reducing fleets, flights and staff.

  • quphal

    haay…again…ang masakit na IRONY para sa PAL. they will acquire aircraft from boeing (US) or airbus (Europe) pero di naman nila magagamit ang mga aircraft na yan papunta sa europe or pang-expansion sa US dahil sa blacklisted tayo sa europe and category 2 tayo sa FAA. lahat ng yan kagagawan ng CAAP. ano bang nangyayari dyan sa CAAP? ang tagal nyo nang sinasabi na makakaahon na tayo to category 1 pero bokya pa rin!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/babinski.tero Babinski R Tero

    Mas maganda pang bibili nalang sila ng fighter jets. mga unggoy…

  • Guest

    Am just wondering which Beer brand will be served to the passengers..?? hehehe..

    SMB or Asia Brewery?? hehehe

  • lufthansa49

    Mabuhay PAL! Keep shining through

    • to0

      Mabuhay ang PAL samantalang ang mga na marginalized at na contractualized na PAL employees, namamatay na………………..

  • Sergio Garcia V

    I totally agree with vir_a on this.

    Manila International Airport (NAIA) can’t even fix herself with lousy free or slow or NO internet at all, no bench to sit at NAIA Terminal 1 during peak/rush hours. The toilets though had  gone through minor facelift to look acceptable, it needs MAJOR renovations. Bring it up to date to modern design and users facility: The faucets should be automatic, soap dispenser and tissue papers should be in automatic mode, the urinals should be automatic with no-water needed ala save water.  If you need space, REMOVE the duty-free shops.

    Departure and Arrival CARDS and Customs Sheet are NOT available in any departure or arrival counters. What is NAIA Management doing? Are they all out to lunch?

    President PNOY. Wake-up! You are giving your father’s name and Philippines a bad name, after all it was named after your father. Do you call this FUN in the PH when you give so much hassles to people?

    • to0

      Paano ma modernized ang International Airport natin, eh, puro kawatan at bobo ang mga Ex Generals na appoint diyan. Imagine, just because they retired from military, they think they can do the job of modernizing our international Airport? He he he. These ExGenerals are nothing both killing machines. TheIr orientation is just that. And almost everyone of them is no longer “An Officer and a Gentleman.” They are cheaters to the first degree. They were appointed to their position through association and not qualification. 

      Being an expert in any field is a life time UNDERTAKING. It is not a matter of “Johnny comes lately.” Just because you have an MBA does not follow that you will become a good manager. Ang alam lang nitong mga Ex Generals ay “Yes Sir, and No Sir.” They are bunch of synchophants, or lap dogs. Magaling mambola. Puro Blah blah blah just like FVR.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    The Manila airport can hardly accommodate the present population aircraft. What with the additional 100, less a few to be decommissioned. More aircraft should go with the improvement of infrastructures, which is not going to happen in five years.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SEELVC6DK2B7HXWCXDMTNQXLLE Jonas

      LET THOSE DECOMMISSIONED AIRCRAFT SENT TO THE SPRATLYS AND SCARBOROUH TO SERVE AS A FYING MISSLES DIRECTLY HIT THE ENEMY OR CHINES WARSHIPS……YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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