PAL to boost cargo operation, restore Perth service

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PAL to boost cargo operation, restore Perth service
  • PAL plans to expand its cargo business to capture growing demand for freight services
  • In addition, the carrier will return to Perth, Western Australia, after a decade-long absence with a thrice weekly service starting March 27, 2023
  • PAL is also looking keenly to restore its flights to China as soon as Beijing opens its borders to leisure travellers

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to boost its cargo operation to capture growing demand for freight services and reinforce its position as the only local airline with a full service network.

On the passenger side, the flag carrier announced it will resume flights to Perth, Western Australia, in March 2023, ending a decade-long absence; and restore flights to China as soon as Beijing opens its borders to leisure travellers, reports said.

PAL also plans to enter into more codeshare and interline pacts to provide its passengers access to new overseas connections.

Spokesperson Cielo Villaluna was quoted by the Philippine Star as saying PAL wants to explore opportunities in the freight business in particular, hoping to clinch deals to airlift health goods such as COVID-19 vaccines and medical equipment, as well as urgent shipments.

“We will sustain and build up our cargo business to tap more air freight market opportunities and keep supply chains moving to meet specific transport needs,” Villaluna was quoted as saying.

“PAL is not just a passenger airline, we are a cargo carrier, too.”

Revenues reached P97.77 billion in September this year from P32.16 billion a year ago, following recovery in passenger bookings as the government relaxed its COVID-related travel restrictions.

Air cargo income also rose 20.6% year-on-year to P10.74 billion during the period, PAL said in its financial statement.

Villaluna said PAL will count on a recovery of the local tourism markets where the Philippines draws most of its guests. She said the airline will also work with the government in servicing the pent-up demand for air travel in the country and abroad.

PAL flies direct to five of six top tourist markets of the Philippines, namely, the US, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Japan, Villaluna said. She said PAL promotes tourist travel to and within the Philippines to cater to pent-up demand for revenge travel and help revive Philippine tourism to rev up the economy.

On Tuesday, PAL announced it will launch a new thrice weekly non-stop service from Perth to Manila on March 27, 2023, in partnership with Tourism Western Australia and Perth Airport. The service will use an Airbus A321neo with 12 business class seats and 156 economy seats.

The flight will depart Manila at 12:05 am, arriving in Perth at 7:15 am while the return flight will leave Perth at 8:30 am and land in Manila at 3:50 pm.

The flights are expected to be a major boost to travel needs of the growing Filipino community in Western Australia, as well as for businesses that trade across the two regions.

This service was due to start in March 2020 but was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the portal said.

The report quoted Tourism Minister Roger Cook as expressing delight with this new non-stop flight.

“The Southeast Asia region has been leading the recovery of our international visitor economy since reconnecting with the world earlier this year, and this new service will provide an important connection between WA and the Philippines,” Cook said.

“It also opens up a major market for international education and helps cement the growing relationships between businesses in WA and the Philippines.”

The new service will shave four to six hours off alternate travel times and mark an end to a decade-long absence from Perth after briefly serving it via Darwin in 2013 before abandoning the route the same year, Executive Traveller online magazine said in another report.

Although a single-aisle plane, the PAL A321neo provides three rows of flatbed business class seating in a 2-2 configuration, providing a comfortable option for the seven-hour flight, the report said.

RELATED READ: Strong cargo revenues power PAL 2021 income to P56.5B