MANILA - Philippine Airlines said on Wednesday it aims to reactivate all 75 aircraft In its fleet by the end of the year as it ramps up its network and capacity.
Airlines in the country, including PAL, grounded several planes during the COVID-19 pandemic due to limited travel activities.
Seven out of the total 75-strong fleet still need to be reactivated, some of which are up for refurbishing, PAL President and COO Capt. Stanley Ng said during the kickoff ceremony for the flag carrier's 82nd anniversary this year.
The actual reactivation, he said, depends mainly on the supply chain because of the delivery of parts, Ng added.
CONTINUED GROWTH PATH
Full operational recovery is likely by 2027 to 2028, Ng said, even with the reactivation of 75 aircraft this year. PAL used to have 98 planes prior to the pandemic.
"Pag naactivate na ang mga planes na nakaground, pero hindi ka pa rin makabalik sa dati kasi before its 98 [planes], now its 75. Pero 98 it's a little bit too much, too soon," Ng said.
"Of course, the Philippines is growing, emerging tayo. There's so much opportunity especially moving forward. The idea is to go back to our network slowly, surely. We cannot stay this way, we have to grow," he added.
PAL deferred the delivery of 13 Airbus planes it ordered before the pandemic. Its staggered delivery is set for the next few years, Ng said.
Although Ng did not disclose the airline's capital expenditure for the year, he said it is "almost double" what it spent in 2022.
When asked about PAL's outlook on profitability this year, Ng said the company is always "optimistic." He said PAL's first quarter performance had already exceeded expectations.
"Financially, we're definitely in a better position after the restructuring... We're working with innovations to improve efficiencies as well as building a better performing culture. We acknowledge we're still a work in progress but we have the fundamentals right," Ng said.
PAL Holdings announced it has completed its voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in January 2022.
"This year is important year for Philippine Airlines. We will make sure that we will be reliable and consistent first, that's the main focus now," he said.
On March 4, PAL unveiled its code-sharing partnership with Emirates to boost connectivity. Ng said there are more partnerships in the works. It also announced new routes and network expansion, including direct flights between Manila and Perth.