Year 2016 was Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) 75th anniversary, having flown for the first time in 1941, just months before the outbreak of World War II. The celebration was an opportunity to unveil in March 2016 a new marketing campaign – the Heart of the Filipino .
The marketing campaign coincided with the announcement of a new corporate vision – to be a five-star airline within five years. PAL now aims to rejoin the league of the world’s best airlines, to be ranked five-star by Skytrax. Internally, PAL employees is to “Get That Star” – soliciting personal staff commitments to ensure passenger expectations are exceeded.
In 2016, PAL announced a most impressive financial performance with $134.42 million comprehensive income for 2015, which is a six-fold leap over the previous year. Its good financial performance translated into the reception of seven new aircraft – two Boeing 777-300ERs and five Airbus A321s – bringing the PAL fleet to 81 aircraft by year-end. All the new fleet will be integrated until 2024.
Back to January 2016, PAL ordered six Airbus A350-900, a twin-engine jet designed for long-haul flights, fitted with luxurious cabin amenities that will redefine the standards of premium travel. Four A350s will be delivered in 2018, the last two in 2019. The A350 will give the carrier the opportunity to fly non-stop Manila-New York, through the Arctic region and probably open more routes to Europe.
PAL ordered also five new generation Bombardier Q400 turboprop airplanes, configured with 86 seats (10 seats more than the existing Q400 fleet) and choice seats in the forward section.
An expanded fleet allowed PAL to fly to four new international destinations (Kuwait, Jeddah, Doha, Saipan), open new routes (Cebu-Singapore, Cebu-Los Angeles, Manila-Taipei-Osaka, Cebu-Caticlan-Clark) and increase flight frequencies (Manila-Los Angeles – twice daily; Manila-Toronto – 3x to 4x weekly; Manila-Beijing – 4x to 6x weekly; and Manila-Vancouver – 7x to 10x weekly).
Meanwhile, the airline introduced a series of product innovations topped by an enhanced inflight connectivity system called the myPAL Inflight Entertainment System, which consist of myPAL eSuite, myPAL Wifi, myPAL Mobile and myPAL Player apps.
With myPAL eSuite, passengers can catch up on the latest movies, TV shows and music while flying. With myPAL Wi-fi, passengers can surf and browse the internet, update and check social apps at 30,000 feet above ground. With myPAL Mobile, passengers can call and text loved ones. Lastly, with the myPAL Player app, passengers can stream the latest movies, TV shows and music on one’s own device. The myPAL Player app is available on both android and iOS.
In 2017, Philippines flag carrier will receive more aircraft and launches new flights, new products and services – starting with new routes that would fly passengers direct to their destinations without transiting in Manila, such as Clark-Incheon (South Korea) on January 1, 2017
Also in 2017, PAL will start retrofitting its fleet of Airbus A330 with new economy seats, lie-flat Business Class seats and the latest inflight entertainment system through individual seat monitors. By removing more than a hundred seats, all passengers get more legroom. PAL is definitely looking at its five-star rating…