PAL sets sights on new China routes
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) is evaluating a plan to fly to new destinations in China on expectations of growth in the Chinese tourist market this year.

“We have plans to do some reorganization in our China operations and our objective is to really look at the markets, which we can fly (to),” PAL president and COO Jaime Bautista said in a chance interview with reporters.

The airline is hopeful the number of Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines will rise this year.

Tensions between the Philippines and China stemming from both countries’ claims on the West Philippine Sea have affected the number of Chinese tourists here in previous years.

Latest data from the Department of Tourism showed China was the fourth biggest source of foreign visitors to the Philippines from January to October 2015.

A total 415,868 Chinese tourists went to the Philippines for the 10-month period, accounting for 9.46 percent of total inbound traffic to the country.

Bautista said PAL would take delivery of seven new airplanes, comprising five Airbus 321s and two Boeing 777s, this year and would want to utilize such to new destinations in China.

“We’re hoping we can mount these airplanes to new destinations to China,” he said.

At present, PAL has flights to the following destinations in China: Beijing, Guangzhou, Quanzhou (Jinjiang), Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Macau.

Apart from the seven airplanes, PAL is also looking to finalize within this month a purchase agreement worth about $1 billion for six long-haul aircraft.

Earlier this year, PAL launched flight services to new destinations such as Kuwait and Jeddah.

The carrier is set to begin services to Los Angeles in the US from Cebu next month, and to Saipan from Manila by June.

ACIRC BAUTISTA CHINA DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM HONG KONG AND MACAU JAIME BAUTISTA KUWAIT AND JEDDAH LOS ANGELES PHILIPPINE AIRLINES PHILIPPINES AND CHINA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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