Plans for direct flights to India: PAL

Philippine Airlines is mulling to re-enter the India market with a direct flight. Currently engaged in fleet expansion, the airline aims to be ranked as a 5-star airline by Skytrax by 2020 and is improving flight experience for this.

ANKITA SAXENA

I n 2016, the Philippines received a record arrival of 90,000 Indian tourists, registering a 21 per cent growth over 2015. During January-February, 2017, the destination registered 27.99 per cent growth over the same period in 2016. The destination is aiming to cross the one million mark from India.

Ryan Uy, Vice President-Sales, Philippine Airlines (PAL), believes that once PAL enters the India market with a direct flight, this growth will be further stimulated. He elaborates, “We are assessing the possibility of Philippine Airlines entering the India market again. We are receiving a brand new aircraft that can ably serve the India market and once its delivery we are hopeful that we will enter the India market next year. Philippines witnessed a double digit growth in the last five years in Indian arrivals to Philippines and we are hoping to welcome 125,000 Indians to the Philippines in 2017. In 2016, the record arrival of 90,000 Indian tourists to the destination means on an average 246 passengers per day, which is a great figure for us.”

Currently, PAL is into a fleet expansion. Uy informed that last year, the airline embarked on a 5-star in five years program. He explains, “We are reflecting on and improving our service and are hoping that this year we will receive the 4-star ranking from Skytrax. We look forward to Philippine Airlines becoming a five-star airline by 2020. We have invested a lot in terms of our fleet. We ordered six brand new A350, A321neo, both long range and we are receiving two brand new 777 by the end of this year, taking the total number of wide body aircrafts to 31. The average age of the fleet is only four years which is one of the youngest in Asia.”

The airline is targeting both leisure and business travellers from India. Uy points out that PAL is the only airline in the Philippines that offers business class service which caters to high-end MICE and business travellers alike. Currently PAL does not operate any codeshare flights but is considering approaching India’s national carrier — Air India and other Indian carriers for strong partnership and collaboration. Its transit hubs at Bangkok and Singapore have seen maximum load factor as the airline has more frequencies from these hubs and these transit hubs also offer attractive two country travel option to Indian travellers.

We are receiving a brand new aircraft that can ably serve the India market and once its delivery is completed we are hopeful that we will enter the India market next year

– Ryan Uy, Vice President-Sales, Philippine Airlines (PAL)

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