MANILA -- Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country's flag carrier, on Thursday said it was ready to implement an expansion plan in the United States, following the reclassification of the country's aviation safety rating to Category 1.
PAL added that in the wake of the upgrade, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) had rejoined the ranks of the most important aviation nations in the world, made up of select countries that meet the US’s strict standards of aviation safety.
“The upgrade would boost tourism and trade, and open up new and exciting opportunities for the flag carrier,” PAL said in a statement.
PAL added that with the regaining of the Category 1 status, the flag carrier was set to immediately deploy its fleet of newly acquired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for its long-haul flights to the US.
“With this, passengers can now enjoy nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard new aircraft equipped with the most modern cabin and state-of the-art amenities, including lie-flat beds in business class,” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said.
“Your flag carrier welcomes the return of the country’s aviation rating to Category 1. This is a culmination of the government’s hard work, as exemplified by the efforts of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, to upgrade the country’s international aviation safety standards.”
“This latest development allows us to deploy our modern and fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ER fleet to the US, and enables us to explore new destination opportunities in one of the Philippines’s largest passenger markets,” he added.
Currently, PAL operates a total of 26 weekly flights to the US, with frequencies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.
The flag carrier said it would deploy six Boeing 777-300ERs, which cost about $1.2 billion, for US flights within a month’s time. For its flights to Honolulu and Guam, PAL will continue to utilize new wide-body Airbus A330-300s and single-aisle A320-200s.
Apart from ushering in a new era in the flag carrier’s transpacific service, Ang added that the upgrade would also allow PAL to explore possible airline partnerships with foreign carriers in order to maximize its growth potential.