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PAL expects 5-7% growth in passengers this year

MANILA, Philippines - National flag carrier Philippine Airlines is looking at a five to seven percent growth in the volume of passengers with the arrival of brand new aircraft and the launch of new routes this year.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the PAL Group expects its volume of passengers to expand between five and seven percent this year from 12 million last year as the country is seen sustaining its robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

“The market grows in proportion to the GDP growth so we are expecting a growth of five to seven percent this year for the PAL market,” Bautista said.

The PAL Group that includes PAL and PAL Express flew 12 million international and domestics passengers last year or 7.1 percent higher compared to 11.2 million in 2013.

The PAL Group’s passenger volume plunged 11.8 percent to 11.2 percent in 2013 from 12.7 percent in 2012.

According to Bautista, the sharp decline in the price of jet fuel in the world market would result in more passengers.

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“Last year we carried almost 12 million passengers. There was a growth last year. Because we have taken delivery of more airplane especially in the last quarter of 2014, we should be able to grow the market even domestic and regional,” Bautista said.

The PAL Group has an existing fleet of 73 consisting mostly of Airbus aircraft. It has successfully sold about 20 ageing aircraft including the fleet of Boeing 747 that were replaced by brand new Boeing 777.

According to him, PAL has successfully negotiated with Airbus the deferral of the complete delivery of its remaining 38 A321 aircraft to 2024 instead of 2020.

“Fortunately our negotiations with Airbus is without penalty and interest,” he said.

PAL would take the delivery of five A321 this year and another five A321 next year instead of 10 A321 this year.

As part of its short-term plan, Bautista said the national flag carrier would continue to fly to existing domestic and regional destinations.

“Basically, we will fly to the same destinations that we are flying but we are looking at some few destinations but we may fly to new destinations,” he said.

PAL is set to fly to Jinjiang in China and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

For its long haul destinations, Bautista explained that it has no immediate plans to expand its European routes as well as its US destinations except for the scheduled inaugural flight to New York on March 15.

 

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