FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects to take delivery of five 18-seater aircraft starting July this year to service the smaller islands. It has also launched more domestic flights from Clark in a bid to enhance connectivity between local destinations.
“We have started flying Clark to Caticlan, Clark to Cebu, Clark to Davao and by March we will fly Clark to Puerto Princesa and Clark to Busuanga,” Jaime Bautista, PAL president and chief operating officer, said on Friday during the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) Travel Tour Expo.
“We are taking delivery of five small airplanes starting July, August, September, October, November. Every month, we are taking a Q400 Bombardier aircraft, an 18-seater airplane, for domestic and smaller airports. And that will also develop the market of smaller airports,” Bautista said.
“Also, this will serve as a signal that we’re going to the small islands,” he added.
Bautista noted that small planes can fly to many destinations, “so now we can serve the new smaller airports.”
In 2018, he said PAL will also be taking delivery of six Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft which will serve on the nonstop flights from Manila to New York and Manila to Europe.
“For us to be able to really maximize the efficiency and productivity of infrastructure in Manila, we will be operating the bigger plane, to make it more profitable,” Bautista added.
He said PAL is also hoping there will be an additional airport close to Manila.
“We’re looking to a new airport close to Manila, because Clark is far from Manila and Clark should serve the requirement of Central Luzon and Northern Luzon,” he said.
The PAL president also reported that the airline’s “on-time performance” has improved by 20 percent to 30 percent because the Department of Transportation has implemented some improvements in “the way they manage the airport, the way they manage the runway.”
Meanwhile, also during the PTAA Travel Expo, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo expressed the hope that foreigners and Filipinos living abroad would include the Philippines in their “bucket list.”
She said the Department of Tourism targets around 9 million tourist arrivals this year, especially after gaining international attention from the country’s recent hosting of the 65th Miss Universe pageant.
The Chinese embassy, Teo added, promised one million tourists will visit the country after the government of China lifted its travel ban to the Philippines.