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NEWS UPDATES 12 September 2009

Philippine flag-carrier orders 6 Boeing aircraft

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Philippines Airlines (PAL), seeing an upturn in overseas air travel market next year, ordered six aircraft from Boeing ahead of the expected market recovery in 2012, the Manila Times reported.

The orders come on the heels of the flag carrier’s announcement that it would trim its workforce and flight capacity abroad to cope with the global economic slowdown.

Richard Miller, PAL’s chief commercial group adviser told reporters that the overseas air travel market may pick up by next year.

“We are seeing signs of recovery. We are positive that our overseas market will recover soon despite the crisis,” he said.

Miller said the carrier will expand its long-haul service by ordering six Boeing 777-300ER to be delivered starting November this year until 2013. Of the six, two are leased aircraft while four will be purchased.

He said the aircraft would be used to fly to Australia, the US as well as to other long-haul destinations. At present, PAL is reducing its flight capacity to the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong due to the global crisis.

Cesar Chong, PAL senior vice president for corporate finance, said the Export-Import Bank of the US had expressed “preliminary commitment” to fund the airline’s acquisition of four Boeing 777 aircraft worth $1 billion.

He said that the two leased Boeing 777s will be delivered in November this year and January next year. The remaining four aircrafts would be delivered in June and November 2012 and April and June, 2013.

Chong said the schedule of aircraft delivery was delayed for 15 to 18 months because of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgrade on the Philippines’ aviation.

To stimulate growth in the overseas travel market, PAL is working closely with the Department of Tourism to promote the country’s tourist destinations, he said. The airline is also offering promos to attract more foreign tourists.

Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that PAL’s international passenger traffic dropped 9 percent year-on-year to 1.74 million in the first half.

For its fiscal year ending March this year, PAL posted a net loss of $301 million from a net profit of $30.6 million in the fiscal year ending March 2008.


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