Speaking during the panel on the regional experiences of top Philippine corporations, PAL president Jaime Bautista said with ASEAN as a hotspot for trade, PAL intends to connect the emerging region to its vast global network.
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PAL set to expand global network
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Lucio Tan-led Philippine Airlines is poised to significantly expand its network with the ASEAN Open Skies regime now in place, its top executive said during the BusinessWorld ASEAN regional forum last week.

Speaking during the panel on the regional experiences of top Philippine corporations, PAL president Jaime Bautista said with ASEAN as a hotspot for trade, PAL intends to connect the emerging region to its vast global network. 

As such, Bautista said, PAL as a legacy airline would pursue its expansion to the rest of the world and showcase not just the Philippines but also the ASEAN region. 

“Do we go regional instead of expanding elsewhere?  For a legacy airline like PAL, however, the question is not whether we go regional. Rather, the question is how do we connect this emerging region to the rest our network?  It makes more sense, therefore, for PAL to pursue its intended expansions to the rest of the world and showcase not only our beautiful places in the Philippines, but also in neighboring ASEAN countries.  The geographic proximity of ASEAN and at the same time the diversity in language, politics and culture in the ASEAN region makes it a very good product to offer.  Only ASEAN carriers like PAL can offer this,” Bautista said. 

Under the ASEAN Open Skies framework which is the region’s aviation policy, PAL will be allowed to mount unlimited passenger and cargo flights between any Philippine airport to any ASEAN city, and vice versa. 

The policy also allows PAL unlimited fifth freedom rights to fly from the Philippines to any ASEAN city, onward to a third city in the region.

“While the region’s Open Skies will intensify competition among airlines, including increased presence of low-cost carriers, PAL is ready to take advantage of the single market access policy which is the end goal of the ASEAN,” Bautista said. 

For PAL to be able to compete, the airline is undertaking a major fleet expansion program.

“We are currently expanding our fleet. We expect 33 more airplanes until 2024. We are also taking delivery of two Boeing 777-300ERs, our flagship aircraft,” he said.

Early this year, PAL also placed an order for six new Airbus A350-900’s. 

“The A350 is an ultra-modern aircraft with luxurious cabin features that will redefine passenger comfort,” Bautista said.

In addition, PAL will reconfigure its A330 aircraft cabin from mono-class to tri-class and reducing the number of seats to 309 from 414 to enhance passenger comfort. 

LUCIO TAN
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