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April 11, 2008

PHILIPPINES/AVIATION
PAL to buy 9 turbo prop planes

Philippine Airlines is buying up to nine turbo-propeller aircraft manufactured by Canada's Bombardier to tap into growing tourist interest the Southeast Asian archipelago, reported Reuters.

The turbo prop fleet would consist of three 50-seater Q300s and six 76-seater Q400 aircraft at a cost of $150 million, the airline said. The Philippines' flagship carrier currently focuses on international routes and larger domestic destinations served by jet aircraft.

But many of the Philippines' top tourist destinations, including the resort island of Boracay and the deserted tropical coves of northern Palawan are serviced by smaller airports accessible only by turbo-prop aircraft.

Last year was a record for Philippine tourism with over 3 million arrivals and the outlook is bright as increasingly wealthy tourists from nearby China seek warmer climes.


Singapore's Banyan Tree Holdings said late last year it was investing $70 million to develop two top end hotels on Dinaran Island, northern Palawan.

Philippine Airlines, owned by one of the country's richest tycoons, Lucio Tan, is also due to take delivery of five A320 jets this year and six new Boeing 777-300ER jets beginning 2009.




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