Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista sat down with Asia Travel Tips to share the flag carrier's plans for the year 2016 and beyond.
|Image by Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG|
One of the first points that Bautista gave was that the flag carrier is embarking on a programme designed to make it a five star carrier. This programme includes what to do to improve the customer experience. Philippine Airlines is currently rated a three star carrier under Skytrax's airline rating system. Five star airlines include Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, and All Nippon Airways among others.
Bautista also reiterated the launch of a Cebu-Los Angeles flight come March 15 2016. This makes it possible for passengers from the United States who wish to proceed to Cebu to bypass Philippine Airlines' hub at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In addition, a flight to Saipan and a European destination are also in the pipeline. Bautista is unable to disclose what the European destination is but hopes to operate it from Manila by 2017.
Five Airbus A321s and two Boeing 777-300ERs will also join the fleet this year. It has also been reported that the flag carrier will soon announce its intention to order six more aircraft of a different type. It is deciding between the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787.
Bautista suggested joining an alliance is challenging as the being a member requires an invitation from the alliance. They tried requesting one already but it did not materialise. Instead, they are relying on codeshare agreements with multiple carriers for the time being. Philippine Airlines is also providing more seats for Mabuhay Miles members to redeem points from and is partnering with more carriers to earn and use Mabuhay Miles with.
The flag carrier has also increased the content of in-flight entertainment systems on its Boeing 777s, and reiterated its WiFi offering. Bautista did not rule out the possibility of eventually making WiFi use free-of-charge but this is subject to the carrier 'becoming as efficient as the system' where they can pass savings from more efficient operations to passengers. As he reiterated the system which allows passengers to stream IFE content on their own devices, Bautista also shared weight-reduction (and fuel cost-reduction measures) by using iPads to store crew manuals and to integrate in-flight magazines into the IFE.