Philippine Airlines Contemplates Next Destinations in United States

As Philippine Airlines prepares to place a new aircraft order for the next phase of its expansion, there is little doubt that the national flag carrier is simultaneously contemplating its next steps in North America as it must ensure that it has a sufficient number of aircraft to meet its expansion and growth targets in the coming years.

Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Historically, the majority of the carrier's profits have been generated on its North American routes, where Philippine Airlines enjoys limited competition. PAL is currently the only non-stop carrier between the Philippines and continental North America, providing the airline with almost exclusive access to the large and loyal Filipino population currently residing in the United States and Canada. Philippine Airlines is likely to remain the sole non-stop operator for the immediate future, leaving the carrier to compete against North Asian carriers operating one-stop flights.

Philippine Airlines has already indicated that it intends to focus its long haul expansion in the North American market, where it sees the greatest opportunity and minimal competition. Although PAL had once considered expansion in Europe under the previous management of San Miguel Corporation, those plans have now been shelved until the performance of its London route can be improved.

The next expansion of flights to North America is scheduled for March 2016, when Philippine Airlines launches its first non-stop route to the United States from Cebu. On March 15, Philippine Airlines will commence three weekly flights between Los Angeles and Cebu operated by its fleet of A340-300 aircraft. Philippine Airlines already serves Los Angeles with eleven weekly flights including a daily service operated by its flagship Boeing 777 aircraft and four additional weekly flights operated by the A340.

In North America, PAL also operates flights to San Francisco, Vancouver, New York, and Toronto. San Francisco is served by a daily Boeing 777 flight and three additional A340 flights each week. Vancouver enjoys ten flights each week with four continuing on to Toronto and three continuing on to New York. The New York and Toronto services are operated by Boeing 777 aircraft. The three remaining Vancouver turn around flights are operated by A340 aircraft. Honolulu is also served with five weekly A330 flights.

Philippine Airlines is able to launch new service between Cebu and Los Angeles because its existing fleet of six A340-300 are currently underutilised. This allows room for growth. However, PAL is also scheduled to accept delivery of two additional Boeing 777 aircraft in late 2016. The arrival of the two new Boeing 777 aircraft will enable Philippine Airlines to transition all of its North American flights to an exclusive Boeing 777 operation. This will release A340 aircraft for service elsewhere.

While the A340 fleet could be used for additional growth, it is more likely that Philippine Airlines will decide to gradually reduce utilization of the aircraft. In a report released by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, it stated that Philippine Airlines intends to keep operating its current A340 fleet, which was acquired between 2013-2014, until the engines require overhaul.

As Philippine Airlines only acquired the aircraft within the last two years, it only makes sense to continue operating them, especially given the current low price of fuel. However, Philippine Airlines should not expect fuel prices to be maintained at this level and a spike in fuel prices could trigger the carrier to phase out the A340 fleet quicker than expected, which may result in the suspension of the Cebu to Los Angeles route.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines continues to evaluate its options as it prepares to place an order for the Airbus A350-900 HGW. It is believed that PAL will order at least six of the aircraft. Initially, the carrier stated that six would be used to replace the A340 fleet with the possibility of ordering additional aircraft for modest expansion.

At this point, Philippine Airlines has made it clear that it wants to operate non-stop flights to New York. The carrier has also hinted that it may transition Toronto to a non-stop service pending demand. In terms of possible new destinations, Chicago remains high on the list, while other possibilities include Florida, San Diego, and Las Vegas. However, if Toronto and New York transition to non-stop flights, it remains unclear how many weekly frequencies Philippine Airlines will maintain for Vancouver.

Source: CAPA


19 comments:

  1. PAL flies A340s on its Honolulu flights, not the A330s.

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    1. Dude PR uses A330 to HNL also. I was on it with Kris Aquino on board just this November.

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  2. Chicago, Miami or Orlando, San Diego, Cebu-San Francisco, Mexico City

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    1. Increase frequency and aircraft upgrade to NYC

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  3. From LAX, the aircraft can continue on to San Diego, and/or Las Vegas, both with significant Filipino American populations. Furthermore a HNL to LAS route would also allow it to compete for the lucrative "ninth island" business.

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    1. Do we have 8th freedom rights with US?

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    2. Only US carriers are allowed to fly intra- US flights due to regulatory rules. However, no cabotage rules exist for MNLLAXLASLAXMNL given that PR shall not sell LAXLASLAX sector flights alone.

      On the future routes, CHI should remain a priority given that there is a sizeable Filipino community there. Non- stop LAS and SAN shall not be pursued as these routes are near LAX and served by commuter planes. MIA, on the other hand, shall be studied further to prove its worth.

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    3. You PAL fans and people are not logical thinkers at all, why?
      Letting PAL fly LAX/LAS and LAX/San Diego would cost money for operations, landing fees, local staffing, taxes, etc.
      Your A340 or B777 landing in San Diego is also dangerous because it is a very little airport! FilAms and passengers from San Diego either drive to LAX and/or fly an LCC from San Diego to make connections in San Francisco, a less crowded airport. For your info, I have been living in San Diego for 32 long years!

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    4. Exactly - those "dog leg" flights are left over from a bygone era when airlines had cash to burn. While a SFO-CEB flight would make sense partnering with a Virgin America or similar carrier would help build the traffic. PAL needs a few strong partners, not a room full of bad ones.

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  4. The A330 can fly MNL to HNL non-stop as I have been telling you guys that Aer Lingus can fly Dublin to San Francisco non-stop and many were not convinced at all. I should know, I have flown those routes! Bwahahahahaha!
    It is better for PAL to remain flying the more-advanced A330 on that MNL/HNL route. Why PAL is unable to phase out its A340s now is a good question that PAL can only answer...

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  5. PAL should launch San diego flights but it's near in LA maybe in Chicago

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  6. Maybe CEB-SFO and CEB-HNL will be a great thing that will compliment the coming CEB-LAX flight of PAL.

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    1. It is possible man, as long as all passengers in Cebu would fly PAL but you know, some other 4 or 5-star airlines from Asia also fly that route - called competition. Do not forget this business reality. It's a "rat race" out there!

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  7. Do not include San Diego as PAL's destination because:
    - only a two-hour drive to LAX
    - its airport is small for international airlines, widebody aircrafts
    -Landing at its airport is very risky as there is not much ground space; one mistake of pilot would mean swimming in the Pacific Ocean, hitting Freeway 5 and rough landing due to short runway (A PSA airline crashed there prior to landing due, in part, to the above issues, etc).
    -Not profitable at all due to landing fees, overhead expenses, etc., and you cannot afford picking up an average of 15 passengers daily for such. Hindi kikita ang PAL!
    Attention: Mr. Bautista of PAL

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  8. Chicago O'Hare is the best bet for PAL's next destination especially if it can field its future A350 aircraft which can fly non-stop from Manila. From there, passengers can connect with LCC carriers to the different Midwest cities. It is a promising route especially for Pinoys who only want to fly with PAL, my old maid sister-in-law included (no offense).
    Miami is dominated by American Airlines and Delta (Northwest) since time immemorial, so that route is "so-so" for PAL. Better have an LCC carrier fly passengers onto Chicago, e.g., JetBlue, Spirit, etc. to connect with PAL
    Muchas suerte, PAL...

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  9. 에볼플레이 먹튀검증 안전노리터

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