Davao City, Philippines — The most awaited event for PAL happened last April 12, 2018 at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao. Media friends from Cebu, Luzon and Davao gathered in one venue to celebrate another milestone etched forever in the history halls of Philippine Airlines. I was fortunate to attend this milestone with 2 of my closest blogger friends. We are quiet amazed to see people from the different media outfits to come together and participated. Billeted in one of the best hotels in Davao is just a treat for me. It made my first ever trip to Davao a meaningful and memorable one.
“WE are no longer just a Manila-centric airline. Our new aircraft and our new hubs are a winning combination that will help expand our market reach both domestically and worldwide. This is imperative for a global airline, and we must sustain and build on our hard-win 4-star rating.” said PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jaime J. Baustista.
Now being an internationally-certified 4-star airline, PAL announced a multi-hub expansion strategy that aims to provide domestic and international connections, while spreading the benefits of tourism and commercial activity to the various regions in Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon. Philippine Airlines will further boost its operations at its hubs in Davao, Cebu and Clark, with the scheduled arrive of fifteen (15) new aircraft within 2018, and another six (6) new Airbus A321neos starting May 2018, along with four (4) Airbus A350-900 trans-oceanic aircraft starting in June 2018.
So why in Davao would PAL celebrate such momentous milestone? Simple. Philippine Airlines is a company that is no longer focused on Manila. As PAL President and Chief Operations Officer, Jaime J. Bautista would put it, the future of the Philippine Aviation lies in the new economic centers of the country. Think about simultaneous economic drivers from hubs in Mindanao, the Visayas and Central Luzon.
When PAL got the 4-star Global Airline Certification by Skytrax, it meant a culmination of the fruitful two years of transformation in the fleet, cabins, products and services that demanded millions of dollars in hard investments and the concerted efforts of all members of the PAL Organization. This meant that the transformation is from top to bottom.
Here are other points that PAL President and COO Dr. Jaime J. Baustista emphasized during his message during the launching of new planes:
- New Routes, New Places to Explore — Opening the link from Davao to Siargao opened more avenues for adventure seekers and surfers. Increasing more flights from Davao made destinations easier to reach and explore.
- Increasing flights with the impending closure of Boracay Island — This allows other destinations to take the lime light. Redirected flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Cebu and Puerto Princesa as well as to Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan allows tourism boost and economic growth in different Philippine Destinations, not just focusing on one area.
- Delivery of new planes — This further allows new routes to open as well as constantly upgrading the cabins, seats, amenities, in flight entertainment and technology.
- Turboprop Roll Out — Allows PAL to power the expansion to island resorts.
- Joining of Airbus A350-900 to the PAL Fleet — This allows PAL to fly the longest commercial flight in the Philippine history from Manila to New York City non stop, flying over the North Polar region of the world. This allows new routes to Europe and to other US cities such as Chicago and Seattle in the pipeline.
- Joining of Airbus A321neo to the PAL Fleet — PAL will be the first ever airline to offer a single-aisle aircraft equipped with full-flat business class seats and enough range to fly up to 8-hour trips. This is also the answer to Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo’s call for a new nonstop route to New Delhi and Bombay in India. This plane gives the right size and range performance to develop viable nonstop flights to Australian destinations such as Perth and Brisbane, as well as Sapporo in Japan.
- More service innovations — Bigger and newer Mabuhay Lounges are being constructed in Terminals 1 and 2 of NAIA, and at the new Mactan Cebu Terminal 2. Other lounges are being renovated abroad.
- PAL Boutiques high-quality novelty items — Replacement of regular blankets on certain long-haul flights with a ‘duvet’ that gives added insulation and comfort that allows restful sleep while cruising above 30,000 feet.
- Adopting full Amadeus Altea Suite — This complete Passenger Service System allows streamlining and improvement on reservations, inventory, departure control, and flight management systems, resulting to a smoother experience from booking to boarding.
- Buong Pusong Alaga — Our heart warming service, inspired by innate Filipino hospitality remain at the core of PAL. This culture helps PAL ensure that our services are come from the heart.
The PAL fleet buildup will continue until year 2024, providing valuable support to the airline’s ascent to the ultimate goal of 5-Star rating by Skytrax. The Skytax certification PAL’s successful reassertation of its stature as a leading world-class airline.
PAL is the country’s first and only 4-Star airline, joining 42 other carriers – such as British Airways, Emirates, KLM, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Thai, among others.
Here are our snaps during the launching of Bombardier Q400 NG. I got the opportunity to join the maiden flight from Cebu to Davao on it.
Philippine Airlines is the only full-service Philippine air carrier offering a higher level of in flight and on-ground service, drawing from its long experience in airline operations of the past seven decades.
Passengers may choose to fly on Business Class, Premium Economy (selected aircraft), or Economy Class, and would enjoy generous baggage allowance, spacious legroom, inflight wireless connectivity, sumptuous inflight dishes, quality products and services, a popular frequent flyer program (Mabuhay Miles) and many more.
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