The flag carrier soaring higher at 75

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines celebrates its 75th foundation day on March 15. (Photo courtesy of PAL)

YEAR 2016 marks the 75th year in service of the flag carrier.

To celebrate the milestone, Philippine Airlines came bearing good news for the Davao travelers with no less than the President and COO, Jaime Bautista, flying in to town to share it.

Happy news, happy faces from the PAL team: Harry Inoferio, SAVP for Sales Philippines; Cielo Villaluna, Manager for Corporate Communications; Jojo San Gabriel, AVP for Human Capital Management; PAL President & COO, Jaime Bautista; Pinky Pineda, Davao Sales & Services Manager; and Leana Sanga, Mindanao Sales & services Secretary.

“It has been two years since PAL held a press conference here in Davao City and indeed, I am very glad to be back in this vibrant Mindanao city,” said the PAL president in his welcome speech. Then he started sharing PAL’s good news.

PAL President Jaime Bautista with PAL SVP-Commercial Group David Lim & Harry Inoferio, SAVP for Sales Philippines.

When PAL reinstated the Davao-Cebu flight in March 2015 and increased the frequency to twice daily a few months after, there was a bigger plan on the drawing board. Truth to that is the new flight to be inaugurated on PAL’s 75th founding anniversary on March 15—the Cebu to Long Angeles route.

PAL plane from Davao at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

PAL’s newest international service between the Queen City of the South and the City of Angels is a part of the ongoing route expansion in response to the market demand.

At present, the airline has 25 weekly flights from Manila to the US.

“We wanted to increase the flight frequency from the Philippines to the US, but the Manila hub is congested. Cebu is a solution to this congestion,” Bautista said.

PAL billboard seen at the departure area of Mactan Cebu Int'l. Airport

“This newest PAL service will enable our customers to enjoy more travel options to and from Los Angeles. PAL patrons from the Visayas and Mindanao may hop to Mactan in Cebu via our domestic flights and then take the flight to LA.”

Bumping up hospitality at the domestic arrival baggage claim area in Mactan.

The PAL Cebu hub also connects to Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo (Narita), and Seoul (Incheon).

New & systematic, the security check entering the pre-deaprture area of Mactan airport.

Why we should be hopping on this new flight to LA? With a round trip all-in fare of $650 to the City of Angels booked before March 15th, why shouldn’t we? And that includes the domestic sector (Davao-Cebu), which is offered free with the promotion.

Lovely Carillo is off to LA. Awarding her raffle prize were PAL bigwigs Vic Suarez (OIC & Area Head Manager for Mindanao Sales & Services), Harry Inoferio, Jaime Bautista & David Lim.

The new 2016 routes of PAL to LA, Kuwait, Jeddah, Doha (March 28) and Saipan (June 15) will add to the 15 other new destinations launched in 2015 as part of PAL’s route expansion.

Part of this expansion will include Europe, bared the PAL president.

Servicing the long haul routes will be six brand new wide-bodied planes, the Airbus 350-900 (to be delivered quarterly from March 2018), which will allow PAL to fly non-stop to the European destination, and to New York and Toronto as well.

With more new planes coming, by 2020 PAL can boast that they have the youngest fleet of aircraft in the region with an average age of below four years old.

With the growing number of travelers in the country coupled with the increase of tourist arrivals causing the airport congestion in Manila, the PAL president said, “It’s only a matter of time before Davao will be an international hub for PAL.” Now, that is something to look forward to.

My moment with the PAL COO & President, Jaime Bautista

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 05, 2016.