Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to launch services to Chengdu in China and Jeju Island in South Korea, and is considering services to San Diego and Seattle in the US.

President and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista says flights to Chengdu will be launched in early 2008 at about the same time as PAL’s new service to Chongqing. PAL unveiled plans in July to launch flights to Chongqing following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with local authorities but did not set a launch date.

Bautista also says “discussions are now going on with agents” over the new Manila-Jeju service and “we’re looking to launch it in December”. PAL already serves Seoul and Busan in South Korea but no carriers currently operate on the Manila-Jeju route, according to Innovata.


The addition of Chengdu and Chongqing will give PAL five destinations in mainland China. It currently serves Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. There are currently no scheduled services between Manila and Chengdu or Chongqing, according to Innovata.

Bautista says the new services to China and South Korea will be operated with Airbus A320s. He says PAL now operates 16 A320s with two more to be delivered in 2007 and five in 2008. Bautista revealed yesterday during a presentation at the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress plans to firm up option for five more A320s that will be delivered from 2009 to 2011.

Bautista, speaking to ATI following his speech, said the additional A320s will be used mainly to expand services to existing destinations including Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore. He says PAL is also considering re-launching service to Kuala Lumpur, a route it dropped in early 2006 in favour of a codeshare with Malaysia Airlines.

Bautista says PAL also plans to double in November its Australia service, which is operated with Airbus A330s, from three to six weekly flights. The service now operates on a triangular routing connecting Manila with Melbourne and Sydney. Bautista says the triangular routing will continue but with the three new flights PAL will operate the triangle in both directions.

PAL’s international network now consists of 24 cities, down from 36 before it entered receivership in 1998. Bautista sees PAL’s international network going back up to 30 cities. He says possible new destinations include Seattle and San Diego in the USA. But these can only be launched in 2009, when PAL takes delivery of the first of six leased and purchased Boeing 777-300ERs on order.

He says PAL also plans to use the new widebodies to increase services to existing North American destinations Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. “We have a very simple strategy of adding more flights where demand is high and profitability is possible,” Bautista says, adding that all its international routes are currently profitable.

He adds PAL has no plans to resume services to the Middle East or Europe because the services offered by Middle Eastern carriers to Manila are currently exceeding demand. While in receivership PAL dropped unprofitable services to several destinations in the Middle East and Europe.

“We think there is still overcapacity in the Middle East,” Bautista says. He adds that Middle Eastern carriers now operate 45 weekly flights to Manila with connections to Europe. “We’ll maintain our presence in the Middle East by codesharing with all of them except Saudi Arabian.”

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Source: Flight Daily News