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PAL to take 21 new aircraft by 2019, eyes secondary hub growth

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will receive a total of 21 new aircraft by 2019, which will be used to boost its secondary hub operations of Cebu, Clark, and Davao.

The carrier says it will take 15 aircraft in 2018, comprising six Airbus A321neos, four A350-900s, and five Bombardier Q400s. An additional six aircraft, comprising two A321neos, two A350s, and two Q400s will arrive in 2019.

Five new services will be launched in 2018. These include a four-times weekly Davao-Siargao service, which began on 25 March. This will be followed by the launch of non-stop Manila-New York flights, along with Manila-Delhi, Manila-Mumbai, and Manila-Sapporo services in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Rights to launch new services from Cebu and Puerto Princesa to points in China, South Korea, and Taiwan are being sought, while studies are underway on the possibility of starting new Europe and US services, such as Chicago and Seattle. International services from Davao are also being assessed, with Bangkok or a Japanese destination being considered.

Frequency increases are also being made on a number of domestic services, most of which are redeployment of capacity on flights to Caticlan and Kalibo to other parts of the country, along with upgauging select Manila-Cebu and Manila-Davao flights to the A330s and A340s. The Cebu-Bangkok route also became a daily flight since 25 March.

"Our current fleet of 85 aircraft is already the largest in the Philippines," says PAL president Jamie Bautista. "We are aiming for 100 aircraft by 2020, which places us in the category of a major carrier. But we are not merely adding more planes, we are constantly upgrading the cabins, seats, amenities, inflight entertainment and technology."

PAL adds that it will continue to add aircraft in the years up to 2024, as well as attaining its goal of being a 5-star certified carrier.

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