PAL to add flights to other tourist destinations in PH
DAVAO CITY–The country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), said it has expected to lose 60 to 70 percent of its domestic passenger figure due to the six-month planned closure of Boracay Island.
Industry figures indicated PAL accounts for 23 percent of the estimated two million foreign and domestic visitors to Boracay in 2017.
Jaime Bautista, PAL president and chief operations officer, said to compensate for the projected loss, the airline would help promote the country’s other destinations among foreign tourists.
This, he said, would include increasing the number of flights to such alternative destinations as Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan.
“We will increase flights to different vacation destinations throughout the country. We expect Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan to benefit as we re-direct more flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Cebu and Puerto Princesa with some traffic flowing on to Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan,” Bautista told reporters here on Thursday.
“We are doing this to convince passengers to explore tourism destinations,” he added.
Bautista said the closure of Boracay would “really impact a lot of markets.”
Under its plan, Bautista said PAL would also give more priority to its new hubs of Davao, Cebu, and Clark.
The increased flights would focus on these hubs, he said.
For example, Bautista said PAL is increasing the frequency of its Davao-Bohol flights to daily. PAL also had plans for more flights for its Davao-Clark route.
He said the additional flights and new routes that PAL would open would be serviced by additional planes as well, such as five more Next Generation Bombardier Q400s and six new Airbus A321neos starting in May.
“We are no longer just a Manila-centric airline,” he said. “Our new aircraft and our new hubs are a winning combination that will help expand our market reach both domestically and worldwide.
PAL was also assessing the request of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo for the opening of international flights directly from the Davao International Airport possibly to Bangkok or a point in Japan, possibly Narita.
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