PAL marks 2019 with int’l awards, new management
MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines marked 2019 with a new wave of international awards under its belt, a strategic foreign airline investor as it transitioned into a new management.
Asia’s oldest airline took in its first foreign airline partner in February 2019, All Nippon Airways (ANA), through its parent company ANA Holdings.
This prompted the election of an ANA representative, Ryuhei Maeda, to PAL’s board of directors.
The appointment of Vivienne Tan, the daughter of Chairman Lucio Tan, also brought changes in the 15-member board.
Vivienne concurrently serves as PAL executive vice president for treasury, treasurer and chief administrative officer.
In 2019, the Tan family also mourned the untimely passing of namesake Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan Jr.
He had been appointed president and chief operating officer of parent company PAL Holdings, which owns the airline.
Following the retirement of long-time head Jaime Bautista, business processing outsourcing expert Gilbert Santa Maria was anointed as PAL’s new president in July.
Santa Maria is currently leading a digital transformation initiative to ensure that the airline’s needs are met by the most ideal technology solutions.
PAL bags awards
The year 2019 witnessed PAL bag top awards.
PAL received top honors as the World’s Most Improved Airline of 2019 based on a global survey of more than a million passengers.
The US-based Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) association also rated PAL a 4-Star Major Airline for 2020, based likewise on customer votes.
In September, PAL Express was listed as one of Asia’s Top 100 Best Employers for its employee engagement efforts.
Meanwhile, the airline’s Christmas video in 2018 titled “Regalo” bested eight other finalists to win two awards at the YouTube Ads Awards Philippines.
The flag carrier was also named a “Talent Accelerator” for its trend-setting virtual reality training for its cabin crew at the 3rd Annual IDC Digital Transformation Awards.
Opening new routes
PAL was also able to open regular flights to the capitals of Cambodia and Vietnam—five times a week to Phnom Penh and four times a week to Hanoi—as well as new domestic routes: Cebu-Zamboanga, Cebu-Dipolog, and Zamboanga-Tawi Tawi.
New aircraft were also delivered in 2019—two Airbus A350-900s (dubbed Love Bus) and new 195-seat variant of the A321neo—which completed the airline’s long-range fleet.
PAL also launched upgraded premium economy experience this year which is available on A350 and selected A330 aircraft
This would allow passengers to choose to sit in an intermediate private cabin between the regular economy and Business Class.
PAL also introduced a new automated passenger service system—Altea Suite by Amadeus—that would enhance the process of booking, buying tickets, checking-in and boarding flights
In June 2019, the PAL Foundation facilitated the transport of two Philippine eagles hatched at the Philippine Eagle Foundation sanctuary in Davao by flying them to Singapore as part of a joint international project to conserve the endangered national bird.
The two eagles are now in their new home at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.
The airline capped the year as a major sponsor of the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games hosted by the Philippines.
PAL flew in technical officials from participating countries.
PAL will celebrate its 79th year in the business in March 2020.
Edited by JE
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