Philippine Airlines Plans to Serve New York by Year End

Philippine Airlines is planning its return to New York after a nearly twenty year absence. The airline recently revealed that it intends to resume service to New York in October 2014.

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Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
According to Philippine Airlines President Ramon Ang, the airline will be using its Boeing 777-300ER for the new routes. "We are looking at Manila-Vancouver-New York or Manila-Tokyo-New York," said Ang. Philippine Airlines was forced to cancel its service to New York in 1997 due to the Asian financial crisis. The airline is also planning to serve Chicago and Florida from either Japan or Korea beginning in October.

PAL is currently in the process of a multi-billion dollar refleeting program aimed at cutting costs at the carrier and restoring the airline to profitability. The airline currently has up to twenty aircraft slated for retirement including the former flagship, Boeing 747-400 aircraft. It is believed that the last flight of the Boeing 747 with Philippine Airlines could be at the end of June operating from San Francisco. 

Philippine Airlines has a pending deal with a large foreign company to sell sixteen of its older aircraft including the four remaining Boeing 747 aircraft in the fleet. The other aircraft included in the deal are four Airbus A340 aircraft and eight Airbus A330 aircraft. Ang hopes to sign the contract by the end of May. The disposal of the older aircraft will help to finance the purchase of new aircraft. 

PAL plans to operate a fleet of at least 100 planes in the future in order to achieve economies of scale. The airline placed an order with Airbus in 2012 for 65 new aircraft including the A321 and A330. Since then, Philippine Airlines has also accepted deliveries of six additional A340 aircraft and three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with the intention of placing an additional order for more long-haul aircraft. 

The airline's new flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was recently deployed on flights to Los Angeles and some flights to San Francisco. As older aircraft are phased out, the new aircraft will gradually be completely taking over all flights to the US mainland. The move is expected to save the carrier as much as USD $120 million per year in maintenance and fuel costs. 

Philippine Airlines presently operates a total of 26 weekly flights to the United States. The sixth Boeing 777 aircraft in the Philippine Airlines fleet arrived five months ago bringing down the average age of the airline's 777 fleet to just two years. The aircraft are currently being used on flights to London Heathrow, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They have also been used in the past on flights to Sydney and Tokyo. 

Ramon Ang believes that Philippine Airlines will turn a profit this year once some of the older aircraft have been retired. “If you noticed we reported a loss of $250 million that is the write-off of the old aircraft, but from now on we are confident that Philippine Airlines will be back to profitability right away," said Ang. "Moving forward now, I believe we will be profitable.” 
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