PAL net income surges to $138M in first 7 months

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THE country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced on Thursday that its net income for the first seven months of the year amounted to $138 million, significantly higher than its full-year income in 2014.

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The airline reported a comprehensive income of $20.4 million for the whole of 2014, noting that its financial performance last year snapped a three-year losing streak.

In 2012, the airline committed to a major refleeting program, deliveries for which began in April 2013. The program resulted in the delivery of 15 Airbus A330s, 14 Airbus A321s and six Airbus A340s by December 2014.

PAL said the fleet expansion allowed the airline to increase its seat offerings on its existing markets and widen the network to include new destinations.

At a press briefing on Thursday, PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline continues to expand its flight offerings to various destinations.

Some of the new routes offered this year are flights to Papua New Guinea, which will begin in October; Australia and New Zealand, which will start in December; and Cebu to Los Angeles, which will commence in March 2016.

Bautista also said they restructure their North America operations this year to increase the number of flights to the US.

Apprehensions over air talks

He also expressed their apprehensions about the ongoing air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

The airline earlier said that if the Philippines grants the additional entitlements that the UAE is asking, it could have negative effect on the launch of PAL’s new routes to the Middle East, Europe and the US East Coast.

The airline said it has re-connected Manila to four destinations in the Middle East and to London and New York over the past two years and that any additional entitlements to UAE carriers would create a “distortion in the market and could possibly lead to PAL pulling out of these new routes.”

PAL believes that they need to make a stand for fair competition.

The US-based Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) supports PAL in denouncing the unfair practices of the UAE carriers. It said that Middle East carriers’ subsidies are undermining the open skies principles.

“These massive subsidies help Qatar Airways, Eithad Airways and Emirates Airline purchase aircraft in numbers far beyond what is needed to serve current passenger demand,” said ALPA president Capt. Tim Canoll.

PAL said they have appealed to the Philippine panel involved in the air talks to resist any pressure to grant additional entitlements to UAE carriers and instead challenge them to mount direct flights to airports outside Manila.

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