PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) is aiming to become a five-star airline in five years as the country’s flag carrier marked its 75th anniversary on March 16, said on Tuesday.
“Our goal is to make PAL the airline of choice in all the markets we serve, one that exceeds passenger expectation. We want PAL to be a source of pride for Filipinos,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said at a press conference a day before the carrier marks its 75th year with a grand gala at Solaire Resort and Casino today.
“As of now, PAL is considered a three-star airline. In five years, we aim to become a five-star airline,” Bautista continued. “We aim to achieve this goal with continued service innovations, route network expansion and fleet modernization as flagship initiatives,” he said.
PAL also unveiled its new brand philosophy, “Heart of the Filipino,” replacing its decades-old “Shining Through” slogan.
PAL said it is assessing four new destinations in Europe while it begins the thrice weekly non-stop flights between Cebu and Los Angeles in California in the United States. Its current US routes include Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Honolulu and Guam.
Starting March 28, the flag carrier will launch five weekly flights from Manila to Doha, Qatar as part of an ongoing Middle East route expansion. PAL destinations in the Middle East include Riyadh, Dubai, Dammam, Jeddah, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.
After that, PAL will begin twice weekly flights to Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands on June 15.
“We are studying Paris [France], Amsterdam [The Netherlands], Hamburg [Germany], and Rome [Italy],” Bautista said.
PAL’s route network currently covers 43 international and 30 domestic destinations, including Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Auckland in New Zealand, both of which were launched only in the last quarter of 2015.
Bautista said the airline will be capable of mounting more non-stop flights to Europe when the new long-range Airbus A350-900 aircraft arrive.
At present, PAL flies only to London.
Bautista said PAL is adding six Airbus A350-900s to its fleet and “today we are taking delivery of our 75th aircraft in time for our 75-year celebration.”
“Choosing the A350 is anchored on operational requirements for our new routes. This will definitely strengthen our long-range fleet. Once delivery begins in 2018, the aircraft can be deployed on our North American destinations: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York in the US; and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. The acquisition will enable us to mount addition non-stop service on our premium long-haul services,” Bautista said.
PAL is scheduled to take delivery of five A321s, two Boeing B777s this year and two A321s in 2017. PAL’s current fleet includes B777s, A340s, A330s, A321s and A320s.
PAL also introduced myPAL e-Suite, an in-flight entertainment system with upgraded content. Other innovations include myPAL player free in-flight entertainment app; myPAL Wifi and MyPAL Mobile.
To improve connectivity across various routes, the airline will open daily services between Taipei and Kansai on June 25 (daily flights) and Abu Dhabi and Doha on March 28 (five weekly flights).
Another new move is to increase the frequency of flights based on demand.
In celebration of its 75th year, the airline has an ongoing promo fare of up to 75 percent off on selected flights from March 15 to 19.
PAL also launched its newest jingle aptly titled “Pusong Pilipino,” featuring Lea Salonga, Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo.