Philippine Airlines said on Tuesday it expects a challenging year in 2017 due to weak peso and the congestion at Manila’s international gateway.
“I think 2017 will be more challenging especially for PAL because we have taken delivery of seven airplanes this year. We have to look for more destinations,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said.
“We have to mount more flights for us to be able to maximize utilization of these airplanes and the question is, will we be able to get more slots here in Manila,” he said.
“Because admittedly, the market we serve are mostly from Manila and if we will not be able to get those slots that we have applied... we will be reducing capacity,” he added.
Bautista said this was the reason why PAL was looking for new hubs.
“Clark is one. Hopefully our operations in Clark become successful. Cebu, we are also increasing our international flights out of Cebu,” he said.
PAL and Clark International Airport Corp. signed an agreement specifying the commitments of both entities in line with the carrier’s domestic and international flights to be operated from the Pampanga hub.
Under the agreement, PAL committed to mount flights at the International Airport in two stages. The first starts with flights between Clark and Caticlan (Boracay) on December 16, 2016, while the second begins on the first quarter of 2017 through non-stop flights between Clark and Cebu, Davao and Cagayan as well as flights between Clark and Incheon, South Korea.
CIAC has committed to provide PAL specific logistical and ground service support to help ensure smooth operation of flights.
Residents of Northern and Central Luzon as well as Northern Metro Manila will be able to travel to Clark International Airport in Pampanga and connect to Visayas, Mindanao, and PAL’s international network from Cebu.
Passengers from Singapore, Japan, Korea and Los Angeles may likewise fly directly to Cebu and take the Cebu-Caticlan-Clark service and enjoy Pampanga before traveling by land to Baguio or Laoag up north. They may also connect to regional and international points PAL flies to from the Queen City of the South.
PAL earlier reported a total total comprehensive income of P2.96 billion in the first nine months of the year, lower by 55 percent from the previous year’s total comprehensive income of P6.55 billion.
Revenues for the period January to September amounted to P85.35 billion, 3.5 percent higher than last year’s same period figure of P82.48 billion.
The airline’s total operating expenses grew 8.9 percent to P76.21 billion.