PAL confident on double daily flights to LAX by December

Continues expansion mode amid recession

Manila - The Philippines flag carrier will seek modest expansion to the United States as it intend to fly double daily to Los Angeles in the United States upon arrival of their new wide body aircraft in December this year despite the recession plaguing the aviation industry.

PAL President Jaime Bautista said that Philippine Airlines will push through with its expansion plans this year as they are very confident that the United States Federal Aviation Administration will upgrade the safety standard rating of the Philippines to category 1.

"All the six new Boeing 777-300ERs will be deployed for US and Canada flights," he said at the launching of the latest promotional deal of the airline over the weekend.

He added that PAL remains optimistic about its modest expansion plan despite the influenza A (H1N1) virus scare having survived the SARS pandemic more than 5 years ago. He also suggested the possibility of flying instead the A340 for double daily to Los Angeles should the FAA retains its category 2 rating by year end while sending the triple seven to Vancouver and Sydney.

When asked about plans on going back to Europe, he said that the current market condition makes it very difficult for them to fly there but they are not closing the door yet as they are hoping to fly to at least two destinations in the near future but refused to divulged where.

In 2008 the airline managed to increase its flights to its US West Coast gateways of Los Angeles and San Francisco, adding up to 1,320 seats weekly on the airline's US trans-Pacific routes and two additional flights to Vancouver in Canada despite global recession. It also added Australian destinations with two additional flights.

According to PAL Vice President for marketing Felix Cruz, the airline will open additional jobs for reservation, ground crew, and flight staff as it prepares for the delivery of its new plane in December.

Cruz further said that they might fly to Europe within the next two years when four of the new Boeing planes arrive as the two A340 serving Los Angeles and San Francisco will be replaced by triple seven to complement the existing Boeing 747, and the plan is for them to fly the two relieve aircraft to Europe after a cabin upgrade.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) earlier reported an 11.1% drop in air passenger demand for the first quarter of 2009 due to dwindling passenger traffic prompting legacy airline giant Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines to cut passenger capacity further by 4.4 percent.

Other airlines that cut capacity are Korean Air, Northwest Airlines, Air China, China Eastern, and EVA Air.

Surprisingly, Philippine carriers Philippine Airlines together with LCC Cebu Pacific are increasing capacity in the Asia-Pacific region which according to IATA Director General Giovanni Bisigniani was said to be hit by global slump in international air travel, with a 14.5-percent drop in passenger demand.

Other airlines that managed to increase capacity are low cost airlines Tiger Airways, AirAsia, Flyflyer (Malaysia), and legacy airlines Emirates, Gulf Air, Qatar Air, Hong Kong Air, Je Ju Air (South Korea) and China's Shenzhen Air.

No comments:

Post a Comment