Philippine Airlines (PAL)

Philippine Airlines

PAL 777

Boeing -777

PAL starts direct flights to Toronto

PAL takes delivery on its brand-new, long-range flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER, that will be used on the new 17-hour, nonstop route to Toronto, Canada.

Philippine Air lines, Inc. which is abbreviated as PAL and also known historically as the flag carrier of the Philippines. Headquartered at the Philippine National Bank Financial Center in Pasay City, the airline was founded in 1941 and is the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name. PAL operates out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila and Mactan at Cebu International Airport of Cebu City. Philippine Airlines serves over twenty destinations in the Philippines and approximately 28 destinations in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania and North America and continues to grow in the world wide market. 

Formerly one of the largest Asian airlines, PAL was severely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. In one of the Philippines’ biggest corporate failures, PAL was forced to downsize its international operations by completely cutting flights to Europe and Middle East, cutting virtually all domestic flights except routes operated from Manila, reducing the size of its fleet, and laying off thousands of employees. The airline was placed under receivership in 1998, and gradually restored operations to many destinations. PAL exited receivership in 2007 and is currently in a full recovery mode to recapture and surpass its previous position as a world class carrier. PAL carried more than 9 million passengers during 2010-2011. 

Philippine Airlines launched a pioneering service between Manila and Toronto on November 30, 2012 giving the flag carrier a direct link to Canada’s largest city and its first gateway to the vital East Coast of North America in 15 years, since they shut down their New York operation in 1997. 

“We are always keen on developing new markets and Toronto, with its diverse population, booming economy and status as one of the world’s top financial centers, presents us a major opportunity to do so,” said PAL president Ramon S. Ang. 

“There has long been a big clamor from our customers in Toronto and all along Canada’s eastern seaboard, particularly the large Filipino community, for a PAL service to their part of the country,” he added.  “We heard them loud and clear, and we’re excited to serve them.” 

The new service will trigger a revamp of PAL’s Canadian operation. From November 30, the current daily service between Manila and Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada’s West Coast, will be revised to four times weekly, alternating with a three-times-weekly nonstop from Manila to Toronto. 

On the return journey, Vancouver-Manila will have a dedicated product four times weekly along with a shared service from Toronto three times weekly. Toronto-Manila, therefore, will be a one-stop service via Vancouver. 

PAL will field its brand-new, long-range flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER, which seats 42 in Mabuhay Class (business) and 328 in Fiesta Class (economy), on the 17-hour, nonstop flight to Toronto. 

(JRH)

Pal 747

Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines (PAL) may be looking forward to launching its Manila-Toronto service on November 30, but its expansion plans for serving Europe and the US will have to be put on the back burner.

That is because the Philippines civil aviation authority (CAAP) has failed its latest safety review by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Authority) reports ABS-CBNNEWS.com.

As a result all airlines which are based in the Philippines will continue to remain on the EU blacklist which dates back to 2010. They will continue to hold Category 2 status in the US which was imposed in 2008.

Until the blacklist is lifted, no Philippine airline is permitted to enter EU airspace. Category 2 classification for the US means that PAL can continue to operate its existing flights but it cannot expand by adding additional services or routes. Neither can PAL change the aircraft type it operates when serving the US.

Until Category 2 status is lifted it also means that no other Philippine airline can serve the US.

According to ABS-CBNNEWS the ICAO inspection team found “significant safety concerns” during its ten-day evaluation. CAAP was said to have failed in “aircraft registration and flight safety inspection.”

Before the latest inspection both PAL and Cebu Pacific had announced ambitious expansion plans which would have seen new routes launched to both Europe and the US.

PAL is acquiring a brand new fleet of B777-300ERs which cannot now be used for some of the routes for which they were intended, such as Paris and New York.

It must be stressed that ICAO’s findings are not a reflection on either PAL or Cebu Pacific. Rather they refer to CAAP’s regulation of the local aviation industry.

The next ICAO inspection is scheduled for February next year.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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The History of PAL

On November 14, 1935 the Philippine Congress approved an application for the franchise of Philippine Aerial Taxi Company, Incorporated, abbreviated, (PATCO) to provide mail, cargo and passenger service particularly for the island of Luzon. The company then had scheduled four city, Manila-Baguio and Manila-Paracale, flights. Due to the lack of operating funds the company became dormant for six years on its scheduled passenger operation under the assigned routes.

On February 26, 1941 a group of businessmen led by Andres Soriano acquired the franchise of Philippine Aerial Taxi Company, Incorporated, thus the birth of Philippine Airlines. Andres Soriano, was hailed as one of the Philippines’ leading industrialists at the time, he would serve as general manager. Along with a former Senator named Ramon Fernandez, who would serve as chairman and president of the newly organized Philippine Air Lines, Inc.

The airline’s first flight took place on March 15, 1941 with a one Beech 18 on daily services between Manila from Nielson Field at Baguio. On July 22 the airline successfully acquired the franchise of the Philippine Aerial Taxi Company. Government investment in September paved the way for its nationalization.

PAL services were interrupted during World War II, which lasted in the Philippines from late 1941 to 1945. Upon the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941 the two Model 18s and their pilots were pressed into military service. They were used to evacuate American fighter pilots to Australia until one was shot down over Mindanao and the other was destroyed on the ground in an air raid in Surabaya, Indonesia.

On February 14, 1946 PAL resumed operations after a five-year hiatus with service to 15 domestic points with five Douglas DC-3s provided by the United States and a payroll of 108 names. Philippine Airlines returned to its original home, the Nielson Field in Makati. The airport, heavily damaged during the war, was refurbished and modernized by PAL at a cost of over one million pesos, quickly becoming the official port of entry for air passengers into the Philippines. The airport was operated by Manila International Air Terminal, Inc., a wholly owned PAL subsidiary.

On July 31, 1946 the US Army Chartered PAL to become the first Asian airline to cross the Pacific Ocean with a US leased Douglas DC-4 to ferry 40 American servicemen to Oakland, California from Nielson Airport with stops in Guam, Wake Island, Johnston Atoll and Honolulu. A regular service between Manila and San Francisco started in December 1946. During this time the airline was designated as the country’s flag carrier.

PAL commenced service to Europe in 1947 with the acquisition of more Douglas DC-4s, underwritten by U.S. investors. By 1948 PAL had absorbed the only other scheduled airlines in the Philippines, Far Eastern Air Transport and Commercial Air Lines. Following the government’s decision to convert Nichols Field in Pasay City, the site of a former U.S. Air Force base, into a new international airport for Manila, PAL was required to move its base of operations and passenger terminal there from Nielsen Airport. The transfer was a massive undertaking and took over five months, a period from January 31 to June 28, 1948, with PAL investing an additional P600,000 in ground installations and improvements to Nichols Field.

In 1954 the Philippine government suspended all long-haul international flights, only to resume five years later, when the government decided that it was a matter of national policy. In three years PAL started services to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Taipei using Convair 340s that would later be replaced by the Vickers Viscount 784, which brought the airline into the turboprop age.

In the 1960s, PAL entered the jet age, initially with a lone Boeing 707, later replaced with Douglas DC-8 aircraft leased from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines., used for long-haul international flights to Europe and the United States.

The DC-3 remained the mainstay of domestic services as it expanded to a total of 72 points as airports were improved or opened, but most of the airline’s rural air service was later stopped in May 1964. Two years later, PAL commenced its first turbojet services to Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao using the BAC1-11. In addition, PAL was also privatized, as the Philippine government relinquished its share in PAL after Benigno Toda, Jr., then PAL chairman of the board, acquired a majority stake in the airline.

When President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, he implemented a one-airline policy. PAL was the lone surviving airline, absorbing Air Manila and Filipinas Orient Airways. On March 10, 1973 PAL was re-designated as the national flag carrier. PAL continued its expansion with the arrival of its first Douglas DC-10 in July 1974. Three years later, the Philippine government re-nationalized PAL, with the Government Service Insurance System holding a majority of PAL shares. In 1979, the Boeing 727, the Boeing 747-200B and the Airbus A300B4, dubbed the “Love Bus”, joined the PAL fleet, while the PAL DC-8 fleet was retired.

Between 1979 and 1981, as part of a comprehensive modernization program led by then-PAL President Roman A. Cruz, PAL built a series of mammoth aviation-related facilities around the periphery of the MIA. These included the PAL Technical Center, the PAL Inflight Center, the PAL Data Center and the PAL Aviation School.

On April 2, 1982, a PAL Boeing 747-200B arriving from San Francisco via Honolulu became the first aircraft to dock at the new 800-million peso Terminal 1 of Manila International Airport. PAL would later strengthen its cargo-handling capability by building a dedicated cargo terminal building adjacent to the MIA passenger terminal and installing cargo-refrigeration equipment in 1983. The new facilities, which catered mainly to international cargo services, enabled PAL to become a fully equipped cargo handler. Services to Paris and Zürich began in November 1982.

After Cruz’s resignation to President Cory Aquino on the last day of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, Dante G. Santos became PAL president. He launched a massive modernization of the domestic fleet with the acquisition of the Short 360, nicknamed the “Sunriser”, in May 1987, the Fokker 50 in August 1988 and the Boeing 737-300 jet in August 1989. Corazon Aquino also ended the one-airline policy in 1988 that had begun under Ferdinand Marcos.

As the Manila domestic passenger terminal outgrew its capacity and ramp aircraft parking space became scarce, PAL leased the hangar of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation and converted it into the PAL Domestic Terminal 2. The terminal, which opened in October 1998, exclusively served passengers flying to destinations serviced by PAL’s Airbus A300s: namely, Cebu and Davao, with General Santos and Puerto Princesa added later on. At the same time, PAL also expanded and improved the existing terminal. The opening of the new facility cleared out the old terminal and provided greater convenience to passengers.

PAL was privatized again in January 1992, when the government sold a 67% share of PAL to a holding company called PR Holdings. However, a conflict as to who would lead PAL led to a compromise in 1993, when former Agriculture Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez was elected PAL president by the airline’s board of directors. The fleet of BAC1-11s were retired in May 1992, following completion of the deliveries of Boeing 737s, and the Short 360s in September. In November 1993, PAL acquired its first Boeing 747-400. The new aircraft arrived at Subic Bay International Airport and was carrying then-President Fidel V. Ramos, who was headed home from the United States after an official visit. The 400-ton aircraft, one of the world’s largest and most popular long-range aircraft continues to be the mainstay of PAL’s trans-Pacific services and its flagship aircraft. A new service between Manila and Osaka, launched in 1994, brought to 34 the number of points in PAL’s international route network.

The PAL Terminals were totally refurbished in 1995, with a number of facilities being added or improved, including a renovation of the Mabuhay Lounges, an exclusive check-in counter for Mabuhay Class passengers, the Express Counters, all refreshment bars, all medical clinics, the expansive waiting lounges and all baggage carousels in the arrival sections. All PAL facilities were renovated. The total cost for the renovations of the terminals reached multiplied millions.

Lucio C. Tan, the majority shareholder of PR Holdings, became the new chairman and CEO of the airline in January 1995.

The delivery of the carrier’s fourth Boeing 747-400 in April 1996 signaled the start of an ambitious US$4 billion modernization and re-fleeting program that aimed to make PAL one of Asia’s best airlines within three years. The centerpiece of the program was the acquisition of 36 state-of-the-art aircraft from Airbus and Boeing between 1996 to 1999.

The re-fleeting sought to give PAL the distinction of having the youngest fleet in Asia and allow the expansion of its domestic and international route network. The 36 orders of PAL during its re-fleeting program were for eight Boeing 747-400s, four Airbus A340-300s, two Airbus A340-200s, eight Airbus A330-300s and twelve Airbus A320-200s. The re-fleeting program enabled PAL to be dubbed the first airline in the world to operate the full range of new-generation Airbus aircraft.

In 1997, PAL rebranded itself as “Asia’s sunniest airline” to cap its new marketing and advertising thrust. PAL also commenced services to New York City, using the Newark Liberty International Airport via Vancouver. The acquisition of too many aircraft matched with unprofitable routes forced the airline to be financially unstable. The re-fleeting program was about halfway through when the full impact of the 1997 Asian financial crisis struck the airline industry early in 1998. By 31 March 1999, PAL dismantled its Mactan-Cebu International Airport hub. With massive lay-offs also taking place, disputes between the airline’s owners and the employee’s union led to a complete shutdown of PAL’s operations on September 23, 1998. Cathay Pacific temporarily took over PAL’s domestic and international operations during its fourteen-day shutdown, with Cathay Pacific also showing interest in acquiring a 40-percent stake in PAL during this period. However, no agreement was reached with the Hong Kong-based airline.

PAL resumed operations on October 7, 1998 after an agreement between PAL employees and top management, reported to be facilitated by Philippine President Joseph Estrada, was reached, with services to 15 domestic points out of Manila. On October 29, the flag carrier resumed international services with flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco, with other international services being restored three weeks later. Asian services resumed on November 11 with flights to Tokyo and Hong Kong. PAL gradually expanded its network over the next two months, restoring services to Taipei, Osaka (via Cebu), Singapore, Fukuoka, Dhahran, Riyadh and Seoul. With the aviation industry still in the doldrums, PAL continued to search for a strategic partner but in the end, it submitted a “standalone” rehabilitation plan to the SEC on December 7, 1998. The plan provides a sound basis for the airline to undertake a recovery on its own while keeping the door open to the entry of a strategic partner in the future. PAL presented the new proposed rehabilitation plan to its major creditors during a two-week marathon meeting that started on February 15 in Washington D.C. and ended on March 1 in Hong Kong.

In 1999, PAL submitted its amended rehabilitation plan to the Securities and Exchange Commission that comprised a revised business plan and a revised financial restructuring plan. The plan also required the infusion of US$200 million in new equity, with 40% to 60% coming from financial investors and translating to no less than 90% ownership of PAL. That same year, with the unprecedented boom in air travel, PAL operations were moved to the new Centennial Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, located at the site of the old MIA terminal building. On August 9, 1999, PAL moved selected domestic flights to the P5.3 billion terminal. Full domestic operations operated from the new terminal on August 10, while international services followed soon after, thus consolidating PAL’s flight operations in one terminal for the first time.

In 2000, PAL finally returned to profitability, making some ₱44.2 million in its first year of rehabilitation, breaking some six years of heavy losses. On September 1, 2000, PAL formally handed over its ownership of its maintenance and engineering division to German-led joint venture Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), the world’s largest provider of aircraft maintenance services in accordance with the provisions of its rehabilitation plan, which mandates the disposal of the airline’s non-core assets. In August of the same year, PAL opened an e-mail booking facility. In 2001, PAL continued to gain a net profit of P419 million in its second year of rehabilitation. In that year alone, PAL restored services to Bangkok, Taipei, Sydney, Busan, Jakarta, Vancouver and Ho Chi Minh City, while launching new services to Shanghai and Melbourne. A year later, PAL restored services to Guam and Tagbilaran.

Like other airlines, PAL was severely affected by September 11 Attacks in 2001. In 2000s, PAL also experienced another financial problem, loss jobs, and failure of restructuring caused by the horrors 9/11 attacks in United States. But, in 2003, PAL was restructured yet again.

The PAL RHUSH (Rapid Handling of Urgent Shipments) Cargo service was also re-launched during the same year. An online arrival and departure facility and a new booking system were then launched in 2003. In December, PAL also acquired a fifth Boeing 747-400.

In 2004, PAL launched services to Las Vegas to mark its 63rd year of service. PAL also returned to Laoag and started services to Macau on codeshare with Air Macau. In that same year, the PAL entered into code share agreements with Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for services to Paris and Amsterdam, respectively. Code share service to Paris was cut due to the merging of the two European airlines and the formation of Air France-KLM. Service to Amsterdam remained, operated by KLM. PAL also continued an overhaul of its fleet with the arrival of two new Airbus A320-214s and continued modernizing its ticketing systems with the launch of electronic ticketing. For the first time in Philippine history, the airline flew President-elect Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice-President-elect Noli de Castro to their inauguration in Cebu City. Arroyo rode a chartered PAL Airbus A330-300, while de Castro was aboard a separate Airbus A320-200.

In March 2005, PAL started services to Nagoya and restored scheduled flights to Beijing after a 15-year hiatus. In response to rival Cebu Pacific’s increasing domestic market share, mainly due to its massive re-fleeting program and its own aging Boeing 737 fleet, PAL signed an agreement for the purchase and lease of up to 18 Airbus A319-112s and A320-214s from Airbus and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) on December 6, 2005.

The first brand-new, GECAS-leased Airbus A319-112s were delivered to and inaugurated by PAL and President Arroyo on October 20, 2006. It was the first aircraft in the airline’s history to offer AVOD-capable inflight entertainment on its Mabuhay Class cabin. In December, the airline initiated its wide-body re-fleeting program by signing a deal with Boeing for the purchase of two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to be delivered in 2009, with an option for two more planes in 2011. PAL also signed a separate agreement with GECAS to lease another two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for delivery in 2010. The purchase of the new 777-300ERs effectively canceled previous orders for new 747-400s, ending the production of said aircraft. PAL later signed a memorandum of understanding that opens the way for the introduction of flights to the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing. Service to Chongqing began on March 14, 2008, while service to Chengdu commenced on March 18, though the routes have been terminated after the Sichuan earthquake.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, on October 4, 2007, ordered the release of PAL from receivership. This move came nine years after coming within proximity of liquidation amid mounting bills due to the Asian financial crisis. Moments after PAL’s formal exit from rehabilitation, the airline announced plans to attract foreign investments through an international road show to tour around Asia, Europe and North America.

Philippine Airlines was named “Airline Turnaround of the Year” for 2006 and 2007 by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation for its “strategic contribution to the aviation industry through a significant transformation by successfully restructuring its operations through innovative cost-cutting measures resulting in operating profits”.

Despite PAL’s successful exit from receivership, with the downgrading of the standard of Philippine aviation by the United States Federal Aviation Administration from Category 1 to Category 2 in January 2008, former PAL president Jaime Bautista stated that as a consequence of the downgrading, its 2008 growth targets would be lowered. The FAA decision prevents PAL from increasing its flights to the United States from 33 per week or from switching the type of aircraft used unless the airline undertakes a wet-lease agreement with a different carrier. This is in spite of PAL’s efforts to expand its presence in the US market, with intentions to commence services to San Diego and Seattle and also restarting service to Chicago, and later New York City, as well as Saipan.

On March 31, 2008, PAL announced that it had ordered nine aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace: three 50-seat Bombardier Q300 and six 78-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft at an estimated value of $150 million, all in preparation for the launch of PAL Express, its new regional subsidiary, which was unveiled on April 14, 2008. Using the recently ordered fleet, PAL Express was to primarily fly intra-regional routes in the Visayas and Mindanao from Cebu City, as well as secondary routes to smaller airports in island provinces that are not able to accommodate PAL’s regular jet aircraft: the first time PAL launched a sub-brand in its history, and also the first time since the Asian financial crisis that turboprop aircraft were incorporated into the mainline PAL fleet. PAL Express operations began on May 5, with eight flights daily between Manila and Malay, while hub operations from Cebu City commenced on May 19 with flights between Cebu and five points in the Visayas and Mindanao. Services to other destinations, including many destinations formerly served by PAL prior to the Asian financial crisis, began in June and July 2008.

In March 2010, Philippine Airlines again expanded its route network, resuming services to Riyadh with a four times weekly Boeing 747 service four years after it was suspended, as well as adding a twice weekly Airbus A330 service to Brisbane, however both routes were suspended in 2011.

In December 2006, the airline initiated its widebody re-fleeting program by signing a deal with Boeing for the purchase of two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to be delivered in 2009, with an option to purchase two more planes in 2011. PAL also signed a separate agreement with GECAS to lease another two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for delivery in 2010. The airline later exercised its options for the two planes. Originally intended for flights to the United States, the FAA category 2 downgrading has made expansion in the US impossible until Philippine aviation is restored to Category 1. They will also use the 777 for the Vancouver service on flights not continuing to Las Vegas (PR116/117) starting March 28, 2011.

Philippine Airlines’ first Boeing 777-300ER first flew on November 2, 2009, and was delivered to Philippine Airlines on November 19, 2009. The second 777 was delivered in January 2010 and the third 777 was delivered in June 2012. 5 more 777s will be delivered in November 2012 and the rest of 2013. The 777-300ER jet features 42 fully flat Business Class seats (2-3-2 Layout) and 328 Economy Class seats (3-4-3 Layout) with a total of 370 seats.

In July 2010, 25 of Philippine Airlines’ pilots resigned and left to seek employment abroad without informing the airline. After calls to return to work by both the airline and Philippine Government, PAL subsequently sought to file charges against the pilots involved for breach of contract. In the same month, PAL announced that it would be outsourcing jobs, with retrenchments resulting. Disputes with flight attendants, ground crew, airport staff as well as reservation agents escalated, with threats of potentially disruptive strike action, which took place in October. On Friday 12 November 2010 the Department of Labor and Employment approved the lay-off of 2600 employees of Philippine Airlines.

On April 4, 2012, San Miguel Corporation bought a 49-percent stake in Philippine Airlines for $500 million as part of a strategy to move away from its beer and food businesses. San Miguel, one of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates, said it planned to help modernise PAL’s aging fleet and rejuvenate Asia’s oldest commercial airline, which has lost its status as the nation’s top carrier in recent years. San Miguel president Ramon Ang said the $500-million investment had bought his company a 49-percent stake in PAL and its low-cost offshoot, Airphil Express (AirPhil). “The new investment will allow the two airlines to strengthen operations and stay competitive with the implementation of PAL and AirPhil’s fleet modernization,” said a joint statement from PAL chairman Lucio Tan and San Miguel. And also stated that they are planning to join a global airline alliance. Billionaire Tan, the country’s second wealthiest man, is PAL’s controlling shareholder. Cash-rich San Miguel, one of the country’s largest companies, began as a Manila brewery in 1890 and grew into Southeast Asia’s largest food company. Over the past decade, it has diversified into a wide range of businesses.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) ordered 54 Airbus aircraft with a list price of $7-billion on August 28, 2012. The order consists of 44 Airbus A321, 34 are which A321-200 with sharklets and 10 are A321 NEO and 10 Airbus A330-300. PAL will begin taking delivery of the first batch of aircraft in 2013. The A321 was ordered to enhance domestic and regional routes while the A330-300s are to be flown on Australian and Middle Eastern routes.

On September 28, 2012, Philippine Airlines announced its second deal to buy another 10 A330-300 wide-body aircrafts from Airbus worth $2.5 billion. The is on top of the previous order announced in August 2012 worth $7 billion for the acquisition of 54 aircraft consisting of 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo, and 10 A330-300s. Deliveries will start next year.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) unveiled their plan of building their own airport after acquiring 64 Airbus aircraft on August 30, 2012. They said that it will be the largest airport in the Philippines occupying 2,000 hectares of land near Makati City and if approved will be constructed in 2013 with four runways which can hold 1,500 take-offs and landings an hour. The airline said that a Korean Contractor will build the project. The new airport will be built just north of Manila not near Makati. Detail plans will be displayed in early 2013.

In 2012, Philippine Airlines entered into negotiation with Cayman Airways for a 50 percent equity share in the Caribbean-based airline. Under the deal, Cayman Airways will issue new preferred shares to PAL’s majority shareholder, San Miguel Corporation. As part of the proposed plan, Cayman Airways will use the fresh capital to acquire new aircraft which will then be leased out to Philippine Airlines under a wet lease agreement. The planes will be registered and domiciled in the Cayman Islands, and to be flown, operated and maintained completely by Cayman Airways.

Oneworld, one of the world’s three largest global airline alliances, has expressed interest in having Philippine Airlines join.

Philippine Airlines is owned by PAL Holdings (PSE: PAL), a holding company responsible for the airline’s operations. PAL Holdings is in turn part of a group of companies owned by Lucio Tan. PAL is the thirteenth-largest corporation in the Philippines in terms of revenue and the twenty-first largest in terms of assets, as stated in the Philippines’ Top 500 Largest Corporations of 2005. As of January 2005, PAL employs a total of 7,322 regular employees, including 450 pilots and 1300 cabin crew. PAL is the sixty-first largest airline in the world in terms of revenue passenger kilometers flown, with over 16 million flown for 21 million available seat kilometers, an average load factor of 76 percent.

For the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2007, Philippine Airlines reported a net income of US$140.3 million, the largest profit in its 66-year history. This allowed it to exit receivership in October. PAL had forecast net profit to reach $32.32 million for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2008, $26.28 million in 2009 and $47.41 million in 2010, but this proved difficult to achieve, with a large loss announced in early 2009 causing some concern.

Philippine Airlines operates several aviation facilities in the Philippines. These include various training facilities for pilots and cabin crew, catering services, as well as a data center and a flight simulator.

Philippine Airlines maintains training facilities both for its pilots and other crew, composed of the PAL Aviation School, the PAL Technical Center, and the PAL Learning Center.

The PAL Aviation School, located within the premises of Clark Civil Aviation Complex, provides flight training for its own operations and as well as for other airlines, the Philippine government and individual students. It currently operates ten Cessna 172Rs, five of which is fitted with a Glass Cockpit Garmin G1000 for student pilots’ training with complete training facilities including simulators for the Airbus A320 and for turboprop aircraft (FRASCA 142). More than 5,000 students graduated from the PAL Aviation School, eventually joining the ranks of pilots at PAL and other airlines.

The PAL Learning Center, located in Manila, serves as the integrated center for Philippine Airlines flight deck crew, cabin crew, catering, technical, ticketing and ground personnel.

Located at the PAL Maintenance Base Complex in Pasay City, the PAL flight simulator, designed to simulate an Airbus A320, can duplicate all flight conditions complete with sound and visual system capability for day, dusk and night operations.

PAL also maintains integrated airport ground handling services, cargo operations and a full catering service for it and other airlines. This is composed of PAL Airport Services, Philippine Airlines Cargo and the PAL Inflight Center.

Based at both the Centennial Terminal (Terminal 2) and International Cargo Terminal of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, PAL Airport Services offers ground handling for seven international airlines calling at Manila, while Philippine Airlines Cargo processes and ships an average of 200 tons of Manila publications and 2 tons of mail daily throughout the country and 368 tons of cargo abroad daily.

Established in 1979, the PAL Inflight Center is the site of fully equipped in-flight kitchens and catering center of Philippine Airlines which also offer catering services for Japan Airlines, China Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines, preparing some 6,500 meals daily.

Philippine Airlines operates two hubs in Manila and Cebu. Virtually all PAL routes are operated from its hubs, with the majority of routes operating from Manila. Domestically, PAL flies to major Philippine cities from Manila and Cebu. It flies between Manila, and Cebu to a lesser extent, and cities in Asia-Pacific, the western United States, Canada and Australia. Many destinations served by PAL, especially destinations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, are areas with large overseas Filipino populations.

PAL currently operates four non-hub routes, Bangkok-Delhi, Vancouver-Las Vegas, Singapore-Jakarta, and Sydney-Melbourne. In the past, PAL operated a number of domestic and international non-hub routes (most notably Iloilo-General Santos, Vancouver-New York and Zürich-Paris), as well as non-stop services to destinations in Europe and extensive domestic operations; those services were discontinued in light of the Asian financial crisis. Some of its previous domestic operations, namely, service from Manila to Naga, Tuguegarao, and more recently, Ozamiz have been taken over by Airphil Express, while services to others were stopped altogether. In addition, services to Legazpi City, Puerto Princesa, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato City, Dipolog, Zamboanga City, Dumaguete and Tacloban, while retaining the “PR” flight codes, have been operated by Airphil Express on behalf of PAL since 28 October 2012. Service to the Middle East continued after the Asian financial crisis; however, that was also eventually discontinued due to high fuel prices and an oversupply of seats, as well as intense competition from Middle Eastern carriers. PAL discontinued service to Riyadh, its last Middle Eastern destination, on 2 March 2006, and re-introduced flights again in 2010 but discontinued once again in April 2011. PAL maintains code-share agreements with carriers based in that region, specifically with Emirates to Dubai, Etihad to Abu Dhabi, Gulf Air to Bahrain, and Qatar Airways to Doha.

After exiting from receivership, PAL has expressed interest in increasing its frequencies to Canada such as an expansion to Toronto and Montreal, introducing flights to Dhaka, Guangzhou and Mumbai, and expanding its presence in the United States by commencing service to Saipan, Seattle, Dallas and Houston, as well as restoring service to Chicago and New York, and restoring service to India and Europe, as well as the Middle East. The downgrading of the Philippines’ aviation status by the Federal Aviation Administration however, has prevented PAL from expanding its coverage in the United States. PAL will begin Manila to Toronto service effective November 30, 2012 with a stop-over in Vancouver (YVR) on the Toronto-to-Manila leg.

On 15 October 2010, Philippine Airlines announced that its Manila–Brisbane services will be suspended indefinitely as of October 31, with Melbourne-bound services reduced from 5 flights a week to 3. The company cited marketing considerations for the suspension of Brisbane services. However, more recently, the airline has since recommenced a daily frequency to both Melbourne and Sydney using the one aircraft on a triangular routing: Manila – Melbourne – Sydney – Manila, departing Manila at night; and Manila – Sydney – Melbourne – Manila, departing Manila in the morning.

The carrier re-introduced flights to New Delhi after decades of absence in the Indian subcontinent; there were initially three direct flights while three other flights stopped at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. However, as of 18 March 2012, Philippine Airlines discontinued it direct flight to New Delhi and retained the thrice-weekly New Delhi via Bangkok flights.

On 28 April 2012, Philippine Airlines re-established its direct air links between Manila and Bali, Indonesia’s prime holiday destination, via twice-weekly flights departing Manila every Wednesday and Saturday. It is the airline’s second destination in Indonesia, following Jakarta, the country’s capital, where the flag carrier flies five times a week direct from Manila and four times a week via Singapore.

On 23 July 2012, PAL announced that it will launch non-stop flights to Toronto on November 30, 2012. The Philippines’ flag carrier is also planning to launch direct flights from Manila to New York and some key cities in Europe. However, PAL is being prevented since the FAA made PH under category 2, which prevents PAL to expand its U.S. network, and blacklisting PH aviation by EU, which stops Philippine Airlines in restoring its Europe routes before.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) permit to start flight to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in Russia Capital starting September 2013, using the high-gross variant A330-300 aircraft four times weekly. Moscow flight leaves Manila on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, with Turkey flight leaving Monday,Wednesday, and Saturday. It is the second destination in Europe to be flown by PAL after announcing flights to Turkey beginning August 5. Both destinations are outside the European Union. PAL is also slated to fly daily services on the Manila-Kuwait route by April 2013 using A330-300, while four weekly services to Phnom Penh, Darwin and Brisbane are slated to be launch from 31 March 2013 using A320’s.

September 2010, all airlines certified by the authorities of the Republic of the Philippines are prohibited from operating within the European Union. In November 2010, the EU raised the possibility of lifting the ban after a review by an EU audit team.

Philippine Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of February 2011:

Airphil Express, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways,Garuda Indonesia, Vietnam Airlines,

November 2012, the Philippine Airlines fleet (excluding Airphil Express) consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 9.6 years. All aircraft were delivered to Philippine Airlines or leased from GECAS brand new, except a Boeing 747-400 with registration number RP-C8168.

PAL started direct flights to Toronto: Philippine Air lines, Inc. which is abbreviated as PAL and also known historically as the flag carrier of the Philippines. Headquartered at the Philippine National Bank Financial Center in Pasay City, the airline was founded in 1941 and is the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name. PAL operates out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila and Mactan at Cebu International Airport of Cebu City. Philippine Airlines serves over twenty destinations in the Philippines and approximately 28 destinations in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania and North America and continues to grow in the world wide market.

Formerly one of the largest Asian airlines, PAL was severely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. In one of the Philippines’ biggest corporate failures, PAL was forced to downsize its international operations by completely cutting flights to Europe and Middle East, cutting virtually all domestic flights except routes operated from Manila, reducing the size of its fleet, and laying off thousands of employees. The airline was placed under receivership in 1998, and gradually restored operations to many destinations. PAL exited receivership in 2007 and is currently in a full recovery mode to recapture and surpass its previous position as a world class carrier. PAL carried more than 9 million passengers during 2010-2011.

Philippine Airlines launched a pioneering service between Manila and Toronto on November 30, 2012 giving the flag carrier a direct link to Canada’s largest city and its first gateway to the vital East Coast of North America in 15 years, since they shut down their New York operation in 1997.

“We are always keen on developing new markets and Toronto, with its diverse population, booming economy and status as one of the world’s top financial centers, presents us a major opportunity to do so,” said PAL president Ramon S. Ang.

“There has long been a big clamor from our customers in Toronto and all along Canada’s eastern seaboard, particularly the large Filipino community, for a PAL service to their part of the country,” he added.  “We heard them loud and clear, and we’re excited to serve them.”

The new service will trigger a revamp of PAL’s Canadian operation. From November 30, the current daily service between Manila and Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada’s West Coast, will be revised to four times weekly, alternating with a three-times-weekly nonstop from Manila to Toronto.

On the return journey, Vancouver-Manila will have a dedicated product four times weekly along with a shared service from Toronto three times weekly. Toronto-Manila, therefore, will be a one-stop service via Vancouver.

PAL will field its brand-new, long-range flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER, which seats 42 in Mabuhay Class (business) and 328 in Fiesta Class (economy), on the 17-hour, nonstop flight to Toronto.

2 Responses to Philippine Airlines (PAL)

  1. nel says:

    when and where in Bulacan will be the new PAL airport

    • haferaviation says:

      We have contacted PAL and inquired about the Bulacan airport and will let everyone know via a post here when we get the information. Thank you for your comment.

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