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PAL award fitting tribute to outgoing chief

PARIS, France — Outgoing Philippine Airlines (PAL) president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista is set to formally retire on June 24, after 26 years of working for the multiawarded flag carrier.

Speaking to the Inquirer at the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, Bautista said the PAL board already gave its approval to his resignation letter filed May 24. However, he said he intended to stay until the end of the month to facilitate a gracious exit from the airline.

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Vivienne Tan, daughter of PAL chair and CEO Lucio Tan, took over as interim chief on Tuesday.

The announcement of Bautista’s retirement coincided with PAL bagging this year’s title for the world’s most improved airline on Tuesday during the 2019 Skytrax Airline Awards, considered the Oscars of the aviation industry.

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It’s my “finale act as president,” Bautista said. “For the last 26 years, I worked very hard, working 24/7. I have not given much time to my family,” he said. “I have traveled a lot but I haven’t visited the places I wanted to see because whenever I travel it’s always for work, so I think I really need to have a break.”

He said he looked forward to traveling the world with his family and grandchildren after his retirement.

“I’m already 62 years old and the position of the airline president is very taxing, very challenging. It’s really for young people,” he said, alluding to Tan.

PAL has been recertified as a four-star carrier this year, although Bautista said he expected the Skytrax award to boost their efforts in achieving their goal.

As he leaves the carrier, Bautista said he hoped PAL would “continue focusing on providing the best services to the passengers, to see to it that the operations are safe and to continue implementing good governance.”

“To me, No. 1 is the passenger, and No. 2 are its staff.”

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TAGS: Jaime Bautista, Lucio Tan, PAL award, Paris air show, Vivienne Tan
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