PAL to realign Canada flight entitlements

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 03 2012 09:12 AM | Updated as of Sep 03 2012 05:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) is realigning its existing flight entitlements for Vancouver to service another destination in Canada.

PAL President Ramon S. Ang said the flag carrier plans to start servicing the Manila-Toronto route on November 30. “We will serve not only Vancouver but Toronto as well,” he said.

PAL is currently the only airline flying between the Philippines and Canada. It was assigned seven entitlements for the Manila-Vancouver route.

PAL Officer in Charge for Commercial Group Rafael Rollan said the airline will use three of the seven entitlements to service the Manila-Toronto route. The remaining four will be used for services to Vancouver.

“There will be four entitlements for our Manila-Vancouver [route] and the other three will be used to fly Manila to Toronto non-stop. The realignment of flight frequencies will begin on November 30. As we speak, we are finalizing the pricing. Maybe by mid-September the pricing will be uploaded in our web site already,” said Rollan in an interview.

PAL needs an additional seven flight entitlements on top of the existing seven but there are no available entitlements. The Philippine air panel has yet to set talks with its counterpart in Canada, said Rollan. “Ideally, if we can secure another seven or more [entitlements], that is what we want,” he added.

The airline is exhausting all means to secure entitlements to the North American country. Rollan said PAL wrote to Air Canada to ask if PAL could borrow the latter’s entitlements since Air Canada is not flying to Manila.

“We wrote [Air Canada] but they have not responded to us. They have seven unutilized entitlements. Hopefully, they could lend us their frequencies through code-sharing because this arrangement was done before,” said Rollan.

He explained that the additional entitlements inject the much-needed capacity into PAL’s Vancouver route, the only direct link between Canada and the Philippines, and has long been sought by the sizable Filipino migrant community in that country as well as by the business and leisure segments of the market.

“We want to test Toronto. We will try to develop the market,” he added.

Ang earlier said, “in the near future, PAL will fly non-stop to Toronto, Paris, New York City and in the Middle East.” PAL plans to expand its fleet by placing orders for 100 airplanes.

For the fiscal first quarter ending June, PAL reported a net income of $11.4 million, a turnaround from a net loss of $10.6 million registered in the same period last year.

PAL’s parent firm PAL Holdings also reported making gains in the fiscal first quarter ending June amounting to P489.2 million from a net loss of P475.1 million posted the previous year.

Ang said PAL posted P256 million in profit in July as against a net loss of P327 million in the same period last year.

“We expect this momentum to carry on but we can’t tell you our target numbers. Since we came in April this year confidence was restored, the company became stable,” he said.

San Miguel Equity Investments Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., acquired a stake in Lucio Tan owned firms Trustmark Holdings Corp. and Zuma Holdings and Management Corp., the holding companies of PAL and Air Philippines Corp. The investment is worth $500 million.