PAL PLots Return To Full Fleet, Sees Continued Profit In 2023
The airline targets to grow its passenger traffic at the same rate, banking on the so-called revenge travel as many trips were called off due to the pandemic.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) plans to redeploy all 75 of its aircraft back into service by the end of the year to raise its passenger count and keep its operations profitable.
In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, March 15, PAL president and chief operating officer Stanley Ng said the Lucio Tan-owned airline expects to spend almost double for capital expenditures in 2023, although no exact figures were given how much the budget for the year would be.
Bulk of the capex would go for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, as PAL aims to reactivate its full fleet of 75 units within the year.
PAL vice president for fleet and network planning Christoph Gaertner said the airline operates 68 aircraft in its fleet at present and plans to redeploy an additional seven units mainly for Chinese routes. In particular, Gaertner said PAL will reactivate Airbus A320s and A321s back into service, as it looks to boost its long haul flights moving forward.
As such, PAL expects to close the year with a 40 percent increase in flight volume. The airline targets to grow its passenger traffic at the same rate, banking on the so-called revenge travel as many trips were called off due to the pandemic.
According to the Civil Aeronautics Board, PAL flew more than 9.2 million passengers last year, in which 5.85 million went to domestic destinations and 3.35 million headed to foreign routes.
With this, Ng expressed optimism that PAL will keep its head above water in 2023, especially as demand for air travel appears unfazed by economic challenges such as rising inflation.
Awaiting full year data, PAL recorded a profit of P6.76 billion from January to September 2022, reversing its net loss of P21.83 billion during the same period in 2021.
Ng said a preliminary look at PAL’s performance in the first quarter of 2023 signals that it is headed for a year in profitability. The carrier has come a long way from the breakdown it suffered at the height of the pandemic, he said.
In 2021, PAL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court to clear more than $2 billion in outstanding debt. The restructuring compelled it to decrease its fleet by 25 percent to 70 aircraft and to infuse $505 million in debt financing from majority shareholders.
Ng said the future looks bright for the flag carrier, with load factors of as high as 90 percent for US flights and 85 percent for domestic services.
The flag carrier, which marked its 82nd anniversary on Wednesday, is undergoing transformation. It is rolling out new routes and working on fleet expansion, digital innovations, customer service enhancements and a last-mile cargo delivery service, while adopting a younger look and more vibrant feel.
“At 82, Philippine Airlines is younger than ever and focused intently on enhancing the travel experience of our valued customers. We face the great challenge of rebuilding tourism and economic growth, and we are responding by ramping up flights, introducing routes to Australia and China that enable us to fly in more tourists and generate more business, and developing exciting products and services that will make bring value to our passengers,” Ng said in a press statement following a media gathering in Manila on Wednesday.
“We are grateful for the support of our customers in this time of continuing transition and renewal. We look forward to serving them well and inspiring more people to fly and discover new experiences with PAL,” he added.
According to PAL, travelers will see more of the flag carrier’s refreshed look in airports and on digital platforms starting this month, echoing the airline’s dynamism and energy with 82 years of service and experience.
PAL’s anniversary seat aale has also been extended until March 19, allowing more passengers to enjoy great deals as low as P182 one-way base fare for domestic flights and as low as $99 roundtrip base fare for international destinations, available on all PAL routes.
Travelers may explore new destinations and travel experiences as PAL continues to expand its global flight route network to serve growing passenger demand and support the recovery of tourism and business. Travelers can now fly directly to Perth, Australia, the first nonstop flight to link the Philippines with Perth and the Western Australia region, starting March 27, PAL said.
PAL is introducing non-stop flights linking Kalibo, Aklan with Seoul in South Korea starting April 2023, a new regional service targeting tourists visiting Boracay and the central Philippines. The new route will complement recently expanded PAL flights between Clark in Pampanga and Seoul.
Having restored most of its mainland China routes in recent weeks, PAL will build up to daily flights to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Jinjiang and Xiamen this April, while increasing service to Beijing to six weekly flights in May.
New island-hopper routes from Clark to Coron (Busuanga) and Boracay (Caticlan) in April are expected to further stimulate domestic tourism, the airline said.
PAL is resuming regular flights between Manila and Macau this April, completing a major expansion of services to eight cities in Greater China. PAL now offers a combined 42 weekly flights to Hong Kong and Taipei from Manila.
Travelers may score the lowest deals via the new Flights Deals Portal, a more searchable platform that passengers can easily access and navigate.
PAL announced it is upgrading its widebody fleet to significantly improve the experience of traveling on long-haul flights. Additionally, the airline is reactivating more aircraft that had been parked during the pandemic, with its entire fleet of 75 aircraft expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2023.
PAL will soon be offering a new port-to-door service, where cargo customers can have their shipments delivered to their doorsteps, hassle free. It will also open an expansive New Mabuhay Lounge for international departures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 later in 2023, featuring a contemporary design and a younger, trendier vibe to go with PAL’s brand of customer service. The lounge will offer a food and beverage buffet service, shower rooms and free Wi-Fi in a premium haven good for pre-flight work or relaxation.
Part of wider efforts to elevate the flight experience, PAL said passengers flying in business class to North America and Australia can look forward to PAL’s anniversary Menu, a gastronomic journey of bolder flavors and textures launched by PAL’s inflight catering experts led by PAL assistant vice president, Chef Vallerie Castillo-Archer. The menu includes delicious offerings like “tiger prawn sinigang,” “adlai champorado” and many more.
PAL is launching the MilesBack program, an online service portal that allows passengers to earn Miles by shopping through PAL’s partner merchants.
Travelers can fly more confidently with YourPAL, a reworked customer service hub that allows passengers to search for needed information such as luggage restrictions, safety protocols, check-in and boarding procedures, and many more. Travelers can chat with or call YourPAL for any flight needs and inquiries.