PAL 777 start flying downunder

Launch service today

February 20, 2010

Manila- The oldest airline in Asia is set to upgrade its Australian service one month ahead of its planned launch as Philippine Airlines is set deploy its latest brand new Boeing 777-300ER on its Sydney and Melbourne services today, February 20.

The company said that the response from the Australian market has been phenomenal with the introduction of its latest aircraft that they have recorded impressive growth in its reservation surpassing the capacity of the current A330-300 which can accommodate only 302 passengers.

This prompted the airline to advance services arrival one month ahead of schedule. The service will set new standards on the Australian routes, offering a larger and more spacious aircraft with wider seats, wider aisles, more headroom and seat-back video on demand in all cabins.

The 370-seat aircraft upgrade in the Australian market by Philippine Airlines will be followed by the March 18 launch of the carrier’s new twice-weekly A330-300 services from Brisbane.

Qantas Airlines also fly the route four times weekly utilizing Boeing 767-300's to Sydney and Brisbane. With the service upgrade, Philippine Airlines could potentially strengthen their hold of the Philippine-Australian market from the current 56% to as far as 70%.

The airline's new business class will offer the most modern features available on direct flights between Australia and Manila, including the only fully flat beds amenity.

A new triangular schedule in March will see the 777 fly five times a week from Sydney to Manila and three times a week from Melbourne, in addition to another two Melbourne services each week aboard an Airbus A330 which also connects from its Brisbane service.

Meanwhile, PAL narrowed its losses in the first three quarters of its current fiscal year as it reported a “total comprehensive loss” of $40.2 million for the April to December 2009 period of its 2009-2010 fiscal year down from the $330.2 million loss recorded in the same period a year earlier.

The airlines total revenues for the period decreased by 15 percent to $1.08 billion, with both passenger and cargo revenues showing declines of 26 percent to $805 million and 14 percent to $73.5 million, respectively.

Its total expenses as of December decreased 30 percent to $1.1 billion as compared to the previous year’s $1.56 billion which is mainly attributed to the sharp decline in fuel prices last year.

However, its revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) numbers are down 3.2 percent despite a 7.3% increase in passenger numbers as it transported 7.02 million passengers compared to 6.54 million passengers carried a year earlier. Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) is an airline yardstick for profitability as it reflects the revenue generated based on passenger sales volume indicating sluggish sales and stiff competition from low cost carriers. The airlines Passenger load factor (PLF) was 73.91 percent, further sliding from the 76.12 percent recorded in the same span in 2008.

PAL in a statement said the result “fell below expectations, but was still noteworthy, being a significant reduction” from the $330.2 million loss it posted for the same period in 2008.

PAL has currently two Boeing triple seven in service with four others on order for 2012 delivery.

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