PAL prods gov’t for Canada air talks


By Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

August 22, 2012

The flag carrier aims to offer flights to Toronto by October and has asked for air talks to be conducted.

FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) has asked the government to conduct air talks with Canada, firming up preparations for earlier announced plans to launch more flights to the North American country by October.

“PAL asked us as if we can conduct air talks with Canada,” Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo A. Arcilla said in a telephone interview last week, noting that the request was made by PAL’s representatives. “Well, Canada has always been a growing market for us.”

This, after PAL President Ramon S. Ang told reporters last month the airline is looking to launch more flights to Canada by October, which is one of the ways seen to revert back the company to profitability.

Already, the country has seven frequencies to Canada, which are used by PAL for its daily flights to Vancouver.

Air rights negotiations with Canada is not the regulator’s priority this year, Mr. Arcilla said, but it is possible to seek temporary additional frequencies.

“Our priority for this year is South Korea, Singapore, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Thailand,” Mr. Arcilla said. “We may conduct an air talks with Canada early next year.”

The government might instead ask for “extra section flights” from Canadian aviation authorities in the meantime, to give PAL temporary frequencies.

In any case, Mr. Ang had said that PAL might just adjust its offerings to four flights to Vancouver and three flights to Toronto per week in case frequencies will remain at just seven per week by October.

Aside from Canada, Mr. Ang earlier said that PAL will be launching more flights to US and revive flights to Europe, such as Paris and London by next year, as the company is upbeat that Philippines will soon regain its Category 1 status.

In January 2008, US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 from Category 1 following a safety audit on November 2007, thus prevented local carriers from expanding operations abroad, such as in the United States.

In the wake of the FAA downgrade, the International Civil Aviation Organization designated the country as “a significant safety concern” in December 2009. The following year, the European Union banned Philippine carriers from flying to Europe.

PAL had further said it will implement a massive aircraft-route realignment to match the aircraft capacity with the carrying requirements of various destinations.

The move, Mr. Ang said, is expected to result in $300 million worth of annual fuel savings particularly as the company aims to narrow its deficit by yearend.

For its fiscal year ending in March 31, PAL Holdings, Inc., the flag carrier’s parent, posted a P3.63-billion loss attributable to equity holders of the parent company, a reversal from a P2.533-billion income realized last year due to rise in fuel cost.

To prepare for the long-haul flights to key cities in the world, the company has acquired its third Boeing 777-300ER worth $247 million, while another will come in December and two more next year.

Shares of PAL Holdings fell by 1.41% to P6.95 each on Friday.


  1. 773 from Manila to Toronto is not possible because of the designed range of the aircraft. What are the possible stop over routes of 773 between Manila and Toronto?

  2. Toronto to San Diego to Manila would be nice when the Philippines get out of FAA probation.

  3. Manila-Toronto can be done non-stop. Flying the polar route makes it possible and besides MNL-YYZ is only 8219 miles (13228 km) while PAL's Boeing 777-300ER aircraft can fly a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles/ 9,100 miles (14,690 km)