GMA News Online

PAL transfers most domestic flights to PAL Express, focuses on int'l flights

August 5, 2013 5:28pm
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has transferred most of its domestic flights to its budget carrier subsidiary PAL Express following a code-sharing agreement between the two airlines as PAL readies to expand its international routes.

In a statement Monday, PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the airline expanded its code-sharing agreement with low-cost affiliate PAL Express, allowing PAL to continue to expand its network and optimize its existing fleet and resources while giving customers more choices in terms of destinations, flights, and schedules.
“This is being done to allow the flag carrier to service more routes and ensure seamless connectivity between stops while awaiting delivery of PAL’s new Airbus aircraft to complete its fleet,” he explained.

In a phone interview, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the code sharing has not led to the cessation of all of its domestic flights of PAL.

"This is just a code-sharing agreement between PAL and PAL Express. Both carriers will help each other in mounting domestic flights," she said.
On August 1, PAL transferred its flights to Bacolod, Iloilo, Laoag, Tagbilaran, and General Santos to PAL Express but has retained domestic flights to Cebu, Davao, and Kalibo.

This came after the restoration of PAL's flight frequencies by European Union authorities, which EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux announced on July 10, as it prepares to establish direct routes to Paris, London, Rome, and Amsterdam, among others towards the latter part of the year. 

PAL has broadened its route network through code-sharing with PAL Express for flights to Basco, Busuanga, Butuan, Cagayan De Oro, Calbayog, Catarman, Caticlan, Cotabato, Dipolog, Dumaguete, Kalibo, Legazpi, Masbate, Naga, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Surigao, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, Zamboanga, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan to Davao, Cebu to Busuanga, Butuan, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Davao, Iloilo, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Iloilo to Puerto Prinsesa, Zamboanga to Davao, Jolo, and Tawi-Tawi.

It also has airline partners for its international codeshare flights such as Cathay Pacific for Cebu to Hong Kong flights, Etihad Airways for Manila to Abu Dhabi flights, Gulf Air for Manila to Bahrain flights, Qatar Airways for Manila to Doha flights, Emirates for Manila to Dubai flights, and Malaysia Airlines for Manila to Kuala Lumpur flights.

In August 2012, PAL sought regulatory approval to rebrand AirPhil Express to PAL Express, which would focus on regional and domestic flights while PAL aggressively pursued long-haul flights.

PAL Express, PAL's former low-cost regional airline, ceased operations in March 2010 and its services were transferred to Airphil Express.

AirPhil started operating as PAL Express, now a full-service carrier, on March 15, 2013. A full-service carrier offers amenities such as complimentary snacks, drinks and reading materials on board.

PAL management earlier said PAL and PAL Express will remain distinct and independent, separate websites and hotline numbers, with PAL flights manned by PAL crew and PAL Express flights flown by Airphil Express crew.

PAL is jointly owned by the LT Group and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., which acquired a 49-percent stake in the airline for $500 million in April 2012. — BM, GMA News
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