PAL Retains Middle East Code Shares

16 October 2013

By Lenie Lectura

PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) maintains its code-share deal with Middle East carriers despite having recently launched its return flight to Abu Dhabi.

PAL President Ramon Ang, in an interview, said the code-share arrangement with Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways stays. “Yes, we will continue. There will be no conflict. The market is big enough for everyone,” he said.

Code share is an aviation business term in which two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by another airline under a different flight code.

Etihad currently mounts two flights per day, or a total of 14 weekly flights, via a code-share agreement with PAL.

PAL, on October 1, flew to Abu Dhabi. It mounts five weekly flights.

Four other cities in three Gulf countries will be linked by PAL and its affiliate PAL Express to Manila before the year ends—Dubai and Doha in November, and Riyadh and Dammam in December.

“The return of PAL to the Middle East will not only offer Filipino workers the most direct link to the Philippines but also provide travelers convenient connections with PAL’s extensive international and domestic route network from our hub in Manila,” Ang said.

With PAL and Qatar Airways on code-share cooperation, Doha will be served by both airlines.

Meanwhile, PAL Express will operate its first long-haul flight to Dubai on November 6 via a code-share arrangement with Emirates. PAL Express will also use the new A330-300 on a five-times-a-week service to Dubai.

Etihad President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said PAL’s return to the Middle East will not affect the good relationship between the two airlines.

“The more entrants the better, because it stimulates activity. It may take away some share but it will be good for the people because they will be aware that Abu Dhabi is a transfer point. It’s just a matter of lining up the flights,” he said in an earlier interview.

Besides, Etihad is looking to add more flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi to service the growing demand for travel.

From twice daily, Etihad wants to mount three daily flights. “Obviously, the Philippines is a very strong market. At some point in time, we would like it to become thrice daily,” Hogan added.

Emirates Philippines Country Manager Gigi Baroa, likewise, said the code-share deal with PAL remains unchanged for now. “It is still in place, that’s what I can say,” she replied, when asked if there are negotiations to extend or discontinue the deal.

An industry source said, though, that some of PAL’s code-share contracts “is good until end of November.” PAL officials declined to comment on this.

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