Brent Hannon/TAIPEI

Philippine Airlines (PAL) was able to relaunch international flights on 29 October, following a US court decision ordering the US Exim bank to return its seized Boeing 747-400s to the struggling carrier. The airline has also received approval from Manila's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to return 14 leased Airbus and Fokker aircraft, and repay debts of 84.6 million pesos ($2 million).

Exim is reportedly owed more than $400 million by PAL, and had been holding one of its 747-400s in Arizona and another in Hong Kong. The two other 747s were claimed, but remained in Manila. The court decision allows PAL to return all four aircraft to service. PAL had planned to operate an Airbus A340-300 on the route and, depending on load factors, it may switch to the smaller aircraft.

PAL's first relaunched international services since it suspended operations on 24 September are from Manila to Los Angeles and San Francisco, in California. The airline resumed domestic services on 7 October.

Meanwhile, the Manila SEC has approved PAL's request to return 14 leased aircraft and pay off 84.6 million pesos in debts. PAL will terminate leases early and return four A340-200s and four A300B4s to Airbus Asset Management, which manages the leases on the aircraft, along with six Fokker 50s to Aircraft Financing and Trading, the leasing arm of Fokker.

PAL operates a fleet of 10 aircraft for domestic services, including Airbus A320s, A330s, Boeing 737-300s and one Fokker 50. PAL also faces demands from leasing companies for the return of four 737-300s. It is unclear whether the SEC will intervene again.

Source: Flight International