On 81st Anniversary, Philippine Airlines Signals 'Rebirth'
Philippine Airlines first took to the skies on March 15, 1941, making it the oldest airline in Asia that is still known by its original name. On its 81st year, the nation’s flag carrier is embarking on an ambitious transformation that it hopes will make it stronger and more prepared to face challenges.
The airline faced its toughest crisis after it was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2021. But the company was able to complete a restructuring program that allowed it to exit bankruptcy with fresh capital and lower debt.
“Our 81st birthday marks a day of rebirth for PAL,” said its chairman, Lucio Tan. “We will make good use of our new life by delivering a stronger, more reliable and dynamic airline that our customers will love and appreciate. You have my assurance that we will stay true to our mission of serving the Filipino people through a network that keeps the Philippines connected to the global economy.”
PAL rolled out a list of initiatives to keep the momentum going as travel restrictions continue to ease globally. For its digital transformation, the company has introduced a revamped mobile-first website; a multi-channel customer contact center; increased self-serve options for rebooking and account management; an improved PAL Gift Card; and an enhanced Hiraya Flight Pass.
PAL is also expanding Its flight network, which now coves 39 international and 27 domestic destinations. It has resumed operations and increased flights to the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Southeast Asia, China and local destinations, among many others.
In addition, the flag-carrier is boosting partnerships with other airlines to build on alliances and interline agreements, which will allow its customers to reach over 1,000 destinations.
On the cargo side, the airline said it is building a dedicated mobile application and website with online payments options for cargo services, as well as partnering with last-mile cargo delivery services to further expand its services.
“Innovation and a youthful spirit will motivate us in our efforts to grow back the air travel market,” Stanley K. Ng, PAL president & COO, said. “Above all, safety will be at the core of everything we do, from the airworthiness of our planes to the professionalism of our crew and all support teams.”
Ng, who is a son-in-law of Lucio Tan, took over from Gilbert Santa Maria, who stepped down in January 2022.
Aside from these initiatives, the carrier is planning to transform the PAL’s Mabuhay Miles frequent flyer club into a bigger lifestyle program where members can earn miles on a wider variety of non-flying activities.
PAL posted profits of $32.97 million (about P1.7 billion) in December 2021 soon after filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. Its gross income was up over 28 percent from $143.48 million in November to $183.82 million in December.