PAL expands services; targets SMEs

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

March 15, 2023, 8:31 pm

<p><em>(File photo) </em></p>

(File photo) 

MANILA – As it marks its 82nd year, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Wednesday shared its plans to continuously expand services, especially now that the industry is recovering from the pandemic.

For one, PAL will continue boosting its cargo services, which the airline's president, Stanley Ng, said kept the business afloat during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Aside from cargo services, PAL also used its fleet for repatriation flights as well as in transporting Covid vaccines at the height of the pandemic.

"We will soon roll out a new feature called Port-to-Door Service, where cargo customers can have their shipments delivered to them, hassle free. We are proud of this innovation, because it will be very useful for SMEs (small and medium enterprises)," he said in a press conference.

Ng said the new service will make shipment and last mile delivery seamless and convenient.

Expansion of global and inter-island connectivity is also in the pipeline.

Nonstop flights between Manila and Perth, Australia will be offered starting March 27.

Daily flights between Seoul, South Korea and Kalibo in Aklan province will resume in April, although Ng did not specify the specific date. Further, he said PAL will resume regular flights between Manila and Macau, and will ramp up flights between Manila and Beijing, China to six weekly by May.

"Our decision to invest in these nonstop flights means that we can help boost tourism and introduce more foreign visitors to enjoy our local attractions and some of the world’s best beaches and adventure destinations," Ng said.

By April, PAL will ramp up its operations in Clark. Three to four flights weekly to Caticlan, Coron and Busuanga will be offered via Clark beginning April 1. Currently, PAL flies daily between Clark and Incheon, South Korea, as well as the Clark-Cebu-Clark routes.

The executive said that PAL is already back to 100 percent of its pre-pandemic flights via Manila and Cebu.

Meanwhile, PAL Director Lucio Tan III said the airline is expecting a continued strong market recovery, hence there are plans to enhance and upgrade the fleet.

"We’re taking back some of the aircraft we relinquished during the Chapter 11 restructuring," he said, adding that an Airbus A330 was delivered back to them last January, and PAL is working to get back the other airplanes.

Tan said PAL is reactivating more of the aircraft that were parked during the pandemic, with all of them going back in service between now and the fourth quarter.

"We are working on upgrades to our widebody fleet. Our fleet expansion will require big investments, but we are determined to take the needed actions to ensure that PAL offers a reliable and competitive product that’s responsive to our market," Tan said. (PNA)