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PAL to allot $700 M for aircraft acquisition

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) is looking to spend between $600 million and $700 million for capital expenditures this year for aircraft acquisitions, its top official has said.

“(The capex) is for aircraft and what we call support equipment as well as necessary parts and provisioning,” said Jaime Bautista, president and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines.

This year’s capex is higher than the $400 million set last year.
PAL is set to take delivery of five Airbus 321 aircraft and two Boeing 777-300 ERs this year.

The airline received its 75th airplane or the first of the five Airbus 321s during its diamond anniversary last month. The remaining orders are expected within the year.

For Boeing 777-300 ERs, Bautista said one is expected to arrive in October, while the other would be in the country by December.

PAL is funding this year’s capex through borrowings, internally generated cash as well as sale or leaseback of aircraft.

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To support its expansion plan, PAL has acquired six Airbus 350-900s for its long-haul flights, the first of which is scheduled to arrive in 2018.

To prepare for this PAL is already studying new locations to fly to in Europe to add to its present route to London.

Among the new areas being considered are Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Hamburg in Germany, Rome in Italy and Paris in France.

PAL is currently in talks with a potential investor to support its expansion to other markets as well as its aim to become a five-star airline in five years from its current three-star ranking.

The carrier which currently flies to more than 40 international destinations, has a positive outlook for the Philippine airline industry.

In particular, the local airline industry is seen to grow at a much faster pace of eight to nine percent this year, compared with the six to seven percent growth seen for other countries.

Bautista said PAL also expects to carry around 14 million passengers this year, higher than 12 million in 2015.

PAL has yet to release its full-year net income performance for 2015, but he said the airline expects to have better results compared to 2014.

The airline’s parent firm PAL Holdings Inc. saw a net income of P129.74 million in 2014, a turnaround from losses incurred over the past years.

As of end-September, PAL’s net earnings amounted to P6.1 billion, way above the P238.1 million in the same period in 2014 supported by higher revenues.

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