Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is acquiring 15 planes this year as part of a massive re-fleeting deal with France’s Airbus S.A.S. that will help bring down operating costs while the airline expands capacity, a company official said last week.
PAL senior vice president for operations Ismael Augusto Gozon told reporters that the airline was expecting the delivery of seven long-range Airbus A330s and eight mid-range A321s before the year ends.
PAL, jointly owned by the group of tycoon Lucio Tan and conglomerate San Miguel Corp., is in the midst of a $9.5-billion refleeting strategy involving 64 mid-range and long-range Airbus planes.
It is likewise keen on expanding its presence in the region through partnerships with other carriers.
Last Friday, Hideaki Izumi, general manager of the domestic office of Japan’s All Nippon Airways, told reporters the company was open to exploring so-called special prorate agreements with Philippine Airlines to tap each other’s domestic markets.
PAL also started new flights to Japan Sunday and it now serves the North Asian economic powerhouse with 11 flights daily.
He added that the airline was also anticipating a United States Category 1 aviation upgrade.
US Federal Aviation Administration inspectors were in the Philippines last week for a validating visit in a development the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said would finally pave the way for an upgrade after six years.