PAL expects Seoul to approve flights from Cebu

By Emilia Narni J. David
March 21, 2010

Manila - FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) is optimistic Seoul will approve its planned chartered flights to South Korea from Cebu.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista told reporters the airline was expecting a favorable decision from the Korean government. "We are expecting a favorable decision for our planned charter flights from Cebu to Korea. The [Philippine] government has already explained the strides the country has [achieved] in civil aviation to the Korean government," said Mr. Bautista.

The Korean Civil Aviation Board had denied PAL’s application to expand flight operations in Korea because the Philippines is classified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a "significant safety concern."

The Philippines has also been demoted by the United States Federal Aviation Authority as a Category 2 country, limiting the activities of Philippine carriers in the United States.

PAL already flies to Korea via Manila.

Mr. Bautista also said the airline is expecting the delivery of two more Boeing 777 aircraft in 2013. The Boeing 777 will be used for long-haul flights.

PAL is expecting a net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. The airline will end the year having served more than nine million passengers. PAL had a 10% growth in domestic passengers for 2009-2010 but suffered a decline in overseas passengers.

"We’re hoping that there will be recovery next [fiscal] year. We are seeing good signs. Cargo is improving and hopefully passenger profit will also improve. For international passengers, we will be happy with a 5% increase and for domestic, we are expecting modest growth," Mr. Bautista earlier said.

The airline reported a net loss of $40.2 million in the nine months of its fiscal year ending December 2009, an improvement from the $330.2 million the previous year. It carried 7.02 million passengers during the period, up by 7.3% from 6.54 million previously.

Revenue rose by 15% to $1.08 billion but expenses reached $1.1 billion. -- Businessworld

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