PAL sees recovery in passenger traffic this year
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expecting a recovery in passenger traffic in the coming fiscal year, thanks to the additional routes and the arrival of several new aircraft.
PAL president Jaime J. Bautista said the airline would strengthen its Cebu hub with the mounting of direct flights to Darwin, Australia, using Airbus A320 aircraft, one of the smallest planes on its fleet.
“From Cebu, Darwin is less than four hours away,” Bautista told reporters at the company’s 71st anniversary celebration Thursday. “We are developing that route using smaller planes.”
PAL is also studying the possibility of offering direct flights between Manila and the popular tourist spot of Bali, Indonesia, this year.
With the new routes and the improvement of utilization of its current fleet of 36 planes, PAL hopes to grow its passenger base to 10 million for the coming fiscal year covering April 2012 to March 2013. This would be a growth of about 10 percent from its expected passenger count for the current fiscal year that ends this month.
Bautista said the company would work on improving its average load factor, or the measure of the number of passengers on each flight relative to the number of available seats, which has slumped to unprofitable levels over the last year.
“We are averaging around the low 70s range. We want to be at around 78 to 79 percent at least,” Bautista said.
He said the company also expected to take delivery of six new planes this year. Four of these would be Airbus A320 jets to add to the company’s current fleet of 13. The two others would be long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft. This would bring PAL’s fleet of Boeing 777s to a total of four.
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