By: AirTravellerPH Staff
It was indeed a roller coaster ride for Philippine Airlines (PAL) in 2019. From winning 8 Skytrax accolades to taking delivery of new aircraft to a complete turn of events like the resignation of long-time President Jaime J. Bautista, the resignation of many of its top executives, and to facing financial loses bigger than the previous year. With such turnout of events in the previous year, we expect 2020 a year of change for the airline.
The goal of PAL is basically simple and straightforward this 2020, and that is to improve its finances and to increase its passenger market share, particularly in the domestic passenger market sector.
First, expect more routes as PAL tries to increase its market share in the domestic sector. Lately, the airline has launched various interisland flights from its hubs in Cebu and Clark. Last December, the airline launched its Cebu to Zamboanga to Tawi-Tawi services. Last January 3, PAL launched its Davao - Iloilo - Davao services, adding to the number of flights originating from Davao.
Expect more regional flights particularly to China. PAL is launching its thrice-weekly direct Clark to Quanzhou (Jinjiang) services starting January 16. As Chinese tourists and workers to the Philippines increase, expect more flights from PAL's hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark, and Davao to different parts of China.
Things are getting more interesting for PAL's international flights. Yesterday, PAL's official website now shows a Cebu - Los Angeles - Cebu direct flight utilizing Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. PR152/153, based on the PAL booking site, shows a thrice weekly scheme. It is also rumored that the airline is introducing Manila to Seattle direct flights, but this has to be confirmed as Seattle is still not showing on the PAL website booking area.
Expect also the delivery of 2 to 4 Airbus A321NEO "SR" as the airline phases out its old A320 aircraft. These new A321NEO that PAL will be receiving are specifically configured for regional operations. They will have a total of 195 seats, or 12 business class and 183 economy class seats. Compared to the first 6 A321NEO delivered to the airline which are configured for long-haul, these SR versions do not have full-flat business class seats. Yet, the aircraft if equipped with individual seat-back IFEs in all classes.
It is also rumored that PAL will place in an order for more widebody aircraft within the year. Though nothing is confirmed and rumors will remain as rumors for as long as we don't see anything concrete, it is still interesting to note that PAL still has 6 A350 options which they can exercise anytime.
Last but not least, expect a more aggressive marketing for both its domestic and regional markets as PAL tries to slug it out with two low-cost airlines in the Philippines namely Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia. So expect more seat sale, and all.
2020 will indeed be an exciting year for PAL and we can't wait to see how this year will unfold on the National flag carrier of the Philippines.