PAL to fly to Turkey, Kuwait, Cambodia

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 13 2012 08:01 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2012 07:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), a joint venture between taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), is set to mount flights to Turkey, Kuwait, and Cambodia next year amid its ambitious refleeting program.

In separate petitions filed before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), PAL sought the green light from the government regulator to fly to Istanbul, Turkey; State of Kuwait; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia next year.

It has filed an application for designation as Philippine official carrier and allocation of entitlements to Istanbul in accordance to the existing Bilateral Air Services Agreement and Confidential Memorandum of Understanding entered into by both the Philippines and Turkey in February 2010.

PAL intends to mount flights between Manila and Istanbul three times weekly using either Boeing 777 or Airbus A330-300 starting August next year.

The airline also filed an application for allocation of entitlements to Kuwait where it intends to fly seven times a week starting the summer of 2013. The Philippines and Kuwait entered into a Confidential Memorandum of Understanding in Feb. 2009.

On the other hand, the national flag carrier is seeking a confirmation of its designation as Philippine carrier and reallocation of entitlements to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in accordance with existing Air Service Agreement signed last April and the Confidential of Memorandum of Understanding signed last September 2009.

The airline intends to mount flights between Manila and Phnom Penh using Airbus A320 starting end-March next year.

President Aquino has signed EO 29 authorizing the CAB and the Philippine air panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation liberalization policy.

To boost the country’s competitiveness as a tourism destination and investment location, the government decided to pursue more aggressively a liberalization policy in international aviation through the grant of third, fourth and fifth freedom rights and unrestricted capacities and frequencies to foreign air carriers, among others.

PAL is in the middle of a massive refleeting program wherein it intends to acquire 100 aircraft. It entered into a $7 billion deal with Toulouse-based EADS in August to acquire 54 new Airbus aircraft consisting of 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo, and 10 A330-300s that would be delivered starting next year.

The airline also exercised an option to acquire 10 more wide-bodied planes in another contract worth about $2.5 billion last September.

PAL currently maintains and operates 39 aircraft comprising of five Boeing B747-400s and three B777-300ERs as well as four Airbus A340-300s, eight A330-300s, 15 A320-200s, and four A319-100s.

SMC, through San Miguel Equity Investments Inc., controls about 49 percent of Trustmark Holdings of PAL after infusing $500 million. Trustmark and affiliate Zuma Holdings own PAL Holdings and sister airline AirPhil Express.