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PAL retires 20 planes as it transforms into Asia’s airline of choice

MANILA, Philippines - National flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL), jointly owned by taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has retired 20 aging aircraft as part of efforts to transform the company into “Asia ’s airline of choice.”

PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said in a statement that the airline is still on track to meet its goal of improving the company’s financial and operational performance under an ambitious refleeting program involving the acquisition of 100 brand new aircraft.

“2013 was a clean-up year for PAL as we go through the costly yet necessary fleet renewal process but we are on track with our goals and we remain committed to improving your airline’s financial and operational performance,” he said.

Ang, who is also president and COO of SMC, pointed out that PAL would own one of Asia ’s youngest fleet at 3.5 years with the completion of a modernization program that involves the replacement of 20 aging aircraft with modern, fuel-efficient planes.

He pointed out that the retirement of PAL’s old fleet is part of a turnaround strategy aimed at transforming the flag carrier into Asia’s airline of choice through a simple game-changing program of fleet modernization, network expansion, and service innovation.

The airline’s total comprehensive loss amounted to P9.12 billion in the first nine months of its fiscal year 2013 ending Dec. 31 or P6.38 billion higher than the P2.74 billion loss booked in the same period of its fiscal year 2012.

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PAL said it incurred P5.51 billion losses from operations in the first nine months consisting of P5.09 billion other charges as well as P1.31 billion financing charges.

“The resulted other charges was primarily due to the impairment loss recognized for certain passenger aircraft that have been grounded or identified for retirement within 2014,” PAL earlier said in its financial statement.

With the significant one-off expense out of its way, Ang said PAL is confident it would end 2014 healthier with a more efficient fleet planning program from the deployment of its various new aircraft, an expanded network and further upgrading of service standards on the ground and in the air.

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