PAL realigning Australian operations

Temporarily suspends Brisbane

October 15, 2010

By Mary Ann LL. Reyes

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is realigning its Australian operations starting with the temporary suspension of flights to and from Brisbane effective Oct. 31, 2010.

Consequently, the flag carrier’s five times a week flights to Melbourne will be adjusted to thrice weekly, while flights to Sydney – one of PAL’s most popular Australian destinations – remains unaffected with five times weekly services, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.

She explained that the decision to temporarily halt its Brisbane services was due to marketing considerations.

Passengers to be affected by the flight realignments shall be properly notified by PAL’s contact center and advised on the best options to proceed to their respective destinations, she said.

Villaluna stressed that Australia remains an important market for PAL, recognizing the route’s growth potential as a vital component of their long-term commitment to the island-continent.

However, market conditions and the onset of the lean season necessitated some changes in the number of destinations and frequency of flights the flag carrier mounts to Australia, she pointed out.

Meanwhile, airline passengers from the Philippines bound for the United States are now required to provide detailed personal information before taking their flight in compliance with the Secure Flight Program, a new security measure being implemented by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Starting today, US-bound PAL passengers will be asked to give their complete name (as reflected in the passport), date of birth, gender, nationality, passport number, visa number and address at destination in the US.

These information will be asked when booking for a flight or buying a ticket either by phone through PAL Reservations, the PAL website, at any PAL ticket office or any accredited travel agent.

The information shall be transmitted by PAL through its Departure Control System (DCS) for matching against the US DHS database. Results of the data matching would be reflected in the PAL DCS when a passenger checks in for the flight.

The Secure Flight Program requires specific data from passengers of all flights (including code share flights) by US-based and non-US-based carriers that fly to/from/within/over the US, including Guam and Saipan.

The program seeks to facilitate passenger handling by screening out those tagged as inhibited/prohibited from entering the US, starting at point of origin.

Passengers who would be misidentified for someone else in the database and eventually cleared to take their flight should submit a Redress Control Number (RCN) issued by the US DHS. Affected passengers are advised to always give their RCN in subsequent bookings or ticket purchases to avoid any future mismatch and inconvenience.

According to the US TSA website, “Secure Flight is a behind the scenes program that enhances the security of commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. By collecting additional passenger data, it will improve the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.”

PAL is implementing the program starting Oct. 15 for flights beginning Nov. 1, 2010.

The company added that passengers who may experience being unfairly delayed or prohibited from boarding the flight due to the new security program, should direct their complaints to the US DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP).

The total number of passengers from Manila to the US, including Honolulu, on PAL flights for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010, reached 303,980 to date.

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