Why Philippine Airlines is Not the Official Airline of Team Philippines at the Southeast Asian Games

Singapore Airlines hosted a special send-off celebration last week for the more than 70 Filipino athletes participating in the 28th Southeast Asian Games, being held in Singapore from June 5 to 16.

singapore airlines boeing 777
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The athletes, who are participating in a range of sports from judo to softball, departed at 2:15pm on Wednesday, June 3 from Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport for their flight to Singapore. But Philippine Airlines was not the official carrier of Team Philippines. Instead, Singapore Airlines earned the honour and privilege of being the official airline of Team Philippines after it made a generous offer that beat the nation's very own flag carrier. 

According to Richie Garcia, Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, Singapore Airlines offered a number of perks including increased luggage allowance and a more competitive rate of $283 round-trip between Manila and Singapore, compared to the $300 quoted by Philippine Airlines. 

"Not only did Singapore Airlines come up with a lower rate, but it also offered about 20 upgrades and a generous luggage allowance," said Garcia. "That will benefit us and the athletes since they carry a lot of gear." The fare difference amounted to approximately Php 750 per passenger between Singapore and Manila in addition to the savings realised by not having to purchase extra luggage allowance. 

Singapore Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of the 28th Southeast Asian Games. As part of the sponsorship, the Singaporean flag carrier offered a number of complimentary Economy Class tickets to Singapore as promotional prizes around the region. In addition, the carrier offered special fares for delegates travelling to Singapore for the games. 

"As a strong supporter of both sports and tourism, Singapore Airlines is proud to be the Official Airline Partner of the 28th Southeast Asian Games," said Mak Swee Wah, Singapore Airlines' Executive Vice President Commercial."

In Manila, Singapore Airlines' General Manager for the Philippines, Carol Ong, reaffirmed the carrier's commitment to serving the athletes of the Philippines. "Singapore Airlines has continuously set the benchmark in premium world-class airline services, and we believe that the Southeast Asian Games deserve no less," said Ong. "The athletes have worked tirelessly to earn the right to represent the Philippines, and we are honored that the Philippine Team has chosen to fly with us for this regional sporting event."

Singapore is hosting the 28th Southeast Asian Games in conjunction with the celebration of Singapore's 50th Founding Anniversary. During the event, the country will host more than 7,000 athletes and officials representing 36 countries.


  1. 20 upgrades for the officials?

  2. I think PAL is a bit aspirational on their $300 pricing when they are using their high density A330s with 9-abreast seat layout in economy. While Singapore Airlines uses 8-abreast in their A330s and 9-abreast in their 777s, which have wider seats and are the standard in the airline industry. They've also considered the athletes' wide shoulders and athletic build, so the PAL A330s simply didn't pass when it comes to seat width and legroom. Also, other than the pricing and additional perks, most likely they've also considered the award-winning service of Singapore Airlines: the soft product hospitality, more food choices, etc.

  3. I wonder how PAL will take this. Will this inspire them to try to be more like SQ?

  4. PAL, again, being short-sighted and unable to see the "big picture", should have/could have had the opportunity to gain great marketing publicity by sponsoring the Philippine team. Such would have been worth more than the cost of the measly tickets and luggage charges. Sadly, such actions are, not a surprise, but rather on-par with PAL's award-winning mediocrity.

  5. You guys are wrong sq sponsor to fly all athletes in the region

  6. SQ is the official airline carrier of 28th SEAG...they are offering special fares to officials and athletes traveling to Singapore. No more, no less.

    The title of this article is misleading people to think that PAL somehow failed our athletes in providing benefits/perks...But why single out PAL....Cebu Pathetic is also a (loud and) proud PH flag carrier...and I'm sure they can fly out our athletes with their P1 fare!

    It's plain and simple...SQ is SEAG sponsor. They flew athletes from all over SEA to SG. There's nothing to it other than that.

  7. The article will not be relevant if a PSC official had not highlighted the fare of PAL being more expensive than SQ. If PAL had offered the same fare (tinapatan ang presyo) there will be no need for the PSC official to make the comment on PAL. It would seem PSC was scouting for reasonable fares prior to deciding on SQ. PAL could have offered a lower fare had it realized the marketing benefit of flying the Philippine team to SEAG. A missed opportunity.


  8. What a real third world sentiment! You guys are making little things more complicated instead of thanking SQ for its generous help to all athletes participating in the SEA Games in Singapore. Forget about PAL this time; let your athletes enjoy the services and other superb amenities of the best airline of the planet earth! Simple as that!

  9. PAL's A330-300 with 9 abreast is terrible!. I remember my 9 hour to flight to Dubai was torture. If you are over 5 feet 8 inches tall, you will have a hard time relaxing yourself as the cabin walls are too close to your head for comfort.

    1. And its B777s with 10 abreast seating is even worst! This is our perennial family debate over our once-a-year or two flights from LA to MNL and vice versa because my loyal wife (with PAL) keeps on insisting that we fly her airline all the time. Me and my adult children (one lawyer and one medical doctor intern) prefer airlines with 9 seating abreast like Asiana, Korean, Eva, SQ and Cathay! My children are very free with their decisions, they have to fly whichever airline they prefer most............I have to stick with my wife's........."Poor husband," my sisters say! My wife answers back, "That's called love, sisters!" ....... .OMG, OMG!

  10. And to think that PAL's A321 that flies from MNL to SIN and vv don't have IFE on economy class. Totally nothing! How could a legacy carrier gave up their IFE just to save cost without thinking their pax comfortability during flight?


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