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NEWS UPDATES 21 July 2009

Philippine flag-carrier hurt by crisis, fuel prices

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The global economic slowdown and highly volatile fuel prices especially during the second half of 2008 took its toll on major international airlines, including flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), the Daily Inquirer reported.

According to its financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, PAL reported total comprehensive and mark-to-market losses of $301 million for its fiscal year that ended March 31, 2009 due to higher fuel and hedging costs.

The losses masked improvements in the airline’s sales, which rose by 9 percent to $1.63 billion. According to the airline, passenger demand remained robust as it carried 8.95 million passengers during the year, representing a 17-percent increase.

Due mainly to high fuel costs, however, PAL’s total expenses for the year rose by 23 percent from last year to $1.93 billion.

PAL’s financial performance mirrors the current state of the global airline industry. As reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry lost $10.4 billion last year.

Other airlines that have reported large losses for the last fiscal year include Cathay Pacific ($1.1 billion); Korean Air ($1.5 billion); Air France ($1.1 billion); Continental Airlines ($585 million); Japan Airlines ($673 million); and Thai Airways ($628 million).


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