PAL Stops Domestic Flights

Philippine Airlines (PAL) stopped most of its domestic flights beginning Aug. 1, to concentrate on its international flights.  It transferred its passengers to budget unit PAL Express.

The flag carrier, which recently received the go signal from the European Union to mount flights to Europe, said its domestic route would now be served by PAL Express, except the Manila-Cebu, Manila-Davao and Manila-Kalibo flights.

A source in PAL said the airline would continue to serve Cebu City, Davao City and Kalibo, Aklan as passenger demand in these routes could not be accommodated by smaller planes.  Aside from Cebu and Davao, PAL used to fly to 30 domestic routes across the Philippines.

Flights to major cities like Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan De Oro, Calbayog, Cotabato, Dipolog, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Legazpi, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Tacloban and Zamboanga would now be served by PAL Express.

PAL president Ramon Ang confirmed in a statement the expanded service of PAL Express under the code share agreement with PAL.

“The expanded code share will allow PAL to continue to expand its network and optimize its existing fleet and resources while giving customers more choices in terms of destinations, flights and schedules,” Ang said.

A code share is an aviation business arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flights. 

Ang assured PAL customers that both airlines would share the same exceptional standards of safety and customer service.

“This is being done to allow the flag carrier to service more routes and ensure seamless connectivity between stops while awaiting delivery of PAL’s new Airbus aircraft to complete its fleet,” Ang said.

PAL’s route network covered 32 points in the Philippines, including 23 points under code share with PAL Express, as of March 31.

It also flies to 31 international destinations, including five points under joint service/codeshare arrangements with other airlines.

PAL said it aimed to re-establish its leadership in the aviation sector and make its operations more competitive and profitable.

The legacy airline is undergoing a major refleeting program involving 100 aircraft to modernize the fleet, increase the regional and international route networks and invest in aviation infrastructure.

The refleeting program will consist of more than 40 A321s and over 20 A330s, which will be delivered over the next three years.

PAL earlier said at least eight Airbus A333s and eight A321s would be delivered this year and another 18 aircraft next year.

Ang said with the new routes, completion of the refleeting program and reassignment of aircraft and routes, he was very confident that PAL would return to growth path in 2014.

The flag carrier was recently given the go-signal to fly to Europe following the European Union’s lifting of an air ban.

“With this, PAL is preparing to establish direct routes towards the latter part of the year to Paris, London, Rome, and Amsterdam, among others,” Ang said.

The airline posted total comprehensive loss of P4.1 billion for the fiscal year ending March, an improvement of 6 percent from P4.4 billion loss year ago.

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