Philippine Airlines well on its way to reach five-star goal

January 10, 2019

BY the end of 2020, Philippine Airlines (PAL) would already be a five-star global airline.

This is the goal which, according to PAL officials led by president and chief operations officer Jaime Bautista, vice president for sales Ryan Uy, senior vice president for airline operations Nicky Gozon, vice president for marketing Ria Domingo, vice president for corporate communications Josen Perez de Tagle and PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna, will definitely be reached by the currently four-star flag carrier as it already put in place several measures toward that end.

Bautista particularly shared that PAL is continuously training its ground personnel, cabin crew and employes for them to be able to deliver nothing but the desired customer experience.

PAL, still according to Bautista, has also invested in modern technology and the acquisition of modern planes.  In fact, 15 new airplanes have been delivered to PAL last year alone and they expect more advanced fleet this year.

This comes at the heels of ramped-up operations in the Asian region with PAL’s launching of new routes from its Manila hub to three Asian cities namely, Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and New Delhi (India).  Villaluna announced a welcome increase in PAL’s flight frequencies within the year apart from the new addition to the airline’s aircraft fleet and a ‘New Year ultimate sale’ of tickets for both domestic and international destinations.

According to Uy, the ticket sale covers 30 domestic and 40 international destinations beginning at P99 for one-way economy base fare with travel period of from January 21 to November 30, 2019. The international roundtrip basefare meantime, starts at only US$79 for economy with travel period of from February 1 to November 30, 2019. Sale period is up to January 13 for both domestic and international tickets.

Meanwhile, Bautista said the new route expansion creates the first direct air link between the Philippines and the capital of Cambodia, expands PAL’s existing Vietnam network and re-establishes a historic link to India with immense potential for tourism development.

PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna said flights between Manila and Hanoi will operate four times weekly (Monday/Wednesday/Friday/ Sunday) starting March 31, 2019 with PR 595 departing at 10:25 p.m. and arriving at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport at 12:45 a.m. the following day. Return flights via PR 596 leave Hanoi every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1:45 a.m. and touch down in Manila at 5:30 a.m.

Flights between Manila and Phnom Penh will operate five times weekly (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/ Friday/Saturday) starting April 1, 2019 with PR 521 departing at 10:10 p.m. and arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport at 11:45 p.m. Return flights via PR 522 leave Phnom Penh every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:45 a.m. and touch down in Manila at 4:20 a.m.

PAL will maintain its current 8 weekly flights between Manila and Vietnam’s commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), a city served by the flag carrier since the mid-1980s.

Villaluna said the long-heralded return of PAL to the Indian market will provide a welcome boost to the tourism industries of both the Philippines and India.  The airline previously flew the Manila -- Delhi route from 2011 to 2013, with most flights making costly stopovers in Bangkok due to the limited range of the Airbus A320 aircraft then in use.

‘PAL also served Kolkata (Calcutta) as a key stopover point on the flag carrier’s multi-stop Manila-Europe services in the 1950s,’ she said, adding that PAL is targeting April 2019 as the start of the New Delhi service subject to final slot and operational clearances with the Indian authorities. The new route is slated to run four times weekly nonstop between Manila and New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport using brand-new Airbus A321neo aircraft.

As the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi offers a harmonious fusion of East and West, combining Vietnamese and French cultures reflected in its heritage architecture and world-renowned cuisine. Vietnam has posted among the highest economic growth records in Southeast Asia, fueling an increase in overseas travel by its own citizens.

Phnom Penh is an emerging tourist mecca noted for its vibrant street life, arts scene, museums and historical Khmer architecture, including its famed Royal Palace. The capital city’s newly expanded airport serves as a gateway to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and other popular destinations in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Said PAL President Bautista: “India is the air travel growth market of the future and a new economic power, so our link to Delhi improves the Philippines’ connectivity with the global economy.

“Vietnam and Cambodia are emerging markets and economic centers that need connections to the rest of the world. We are excited to introduce their excellent tourist attractions to more and more Western travelers, including Filipino Americans. PAL also looks forward to serving the many ethnic Vietnamese and Cambodian people who are now US and Canadian citizens,” Bautista added.

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