Thursday, January 01, 2015

Philippine Airlines looking to fly to Papua New Guinea

MANILA, Philippines - National flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) is looking at mounting flights to Papua New Guinea to accommodate the growing number of passengers.

PAL has filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) an application for re-allocation of additional entitlements on the Manila- Port Moresby from the unutilized seat entitlements previously allocated to budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific).

The Tan Group is crafting a strategic plan that would pave the way for the entry of a foreign strategic partner into PAL within the next three years after successfully retaking back the national flag carrier from diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista earlier said the Tan Group is looking at taking in a strategic partner of up to 40 percent of PAL over the medium term or within two to three years.

To prepare for the entry of strategic partner, Bautista said PAL would finalize a short term plan including the review of the airline’s fleet after SMC undertook a massive refleerting program after it bought into PAL through San Miguel Equity Investments Inc. in April 2012.

Then PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang entered into two separate agreements worth close to $10 billion for the acquisition of 65 brand new Airbus aircraft.

Likewise, he pointed out that the airline is also reviewing a proposal from Boeing for the acquisition of four brand new long-haul aircraft.

Aside from the planned return to New York via the John F. Kennedy airport where there is a potential market of 500,000 Filipinos after 18 years, Bautista said PAL has also beefed up its operations in Honolulu, Guam, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

PAL would continue to look for opportunities in the US after the country’s aviation safety rating was upgraded by the US-Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) back to Category 1 last April after being downgraded to Category 2 in 2008.

PAL, under the management of SMC, has slowed down and deferred its aggressive expansion to the Middle East including Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah and the assigned A330 aircraft were diverted to other destinations.

PAL would also be more aggressive in the domestic market including returning to its Cebu hub as budget airline Cebu Pacific has taken a 40 percent slice of the market while the national flag carrier’s market share fell below 40 percent.

The Tan Group through Buona Sorte and Horizon Global Investments bought back the 49 percent interest of San Miguel Equity Investments Inc. of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) last Sept. 15 for a total consideration of $1.3 billion.

SMC through San Miguel Equity Investments Inc. (SMEII) bought a 49-percent stake in Trustmark Holdings Corp. in April 2012 for $500 million. It embarked on an ambitious massive fleet renewal program involving the acquisition of 100 brand new aircraft.

Trustmark owns and controls 89.78 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of PAL Holdings that owns 98.27 percent of PAL.

 - Original article can be found at:

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