Philippine Airlines Seeks Nine Regional Aircraft for Inter-island Expansion

A report in the Manila Bulletin has revealed that PAL Express is looking to acquire nine regional aircraft for use on inter-island routes. According to the carrier's President, the regional affiliate of Philippine Airlines is planning to expand inter-island services in the Philippines.

bombardier swiss c-series cs100
Image Source: Bombardier
"We are in the process of deciding between smaller jets or turbo-prop aircraft," said PAL Express President Bonifacio Sam. "We will be evaluating over the next four months before making a decision."

He added that the carrier is currently focusing on developing and expanding domestic routes through capacity expansion and increased frequencies. "Right now, we're doing the Cebu hub," said Sam. "We'll come up with at least 100 inter-island flights out of Cebu."

Earlier this year, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation revealed that Philippine Airlines is also looking to replace its ageing PAL Express turbo-prop fleet, after recently finalizing an order of A350 aircraft for the carrier's long-haul fleet. The carrier is studying whether to operate a turbo-prop, jet, or mixed fleet for domestic operations at smaller airports. 

In a survey conducted on the Philippine Flight Network website, more than 50 percent of respondents favoured the acquisition of the Bombardier C-Series for the carrier's PAL Express fleet. Delta Airlines, the second largest US carrier by passenger traffic, recently announced an order for up to 125 Bombardier C-Series aircraft. The deal is comprised of a firm order for 75 aircraft and options on another 50. 

The Delta deal follows an earlier announcement by Air Canada to acquire up to 45 aircraft with options for an additional 30. Air Canada is due to firm up its order in the coming weeks. "The Delta announcement confirms that our confidence in this new next-generation technology was well placed and will benefit us well into the future," said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada CEO.

Meanwhile, the multi-billion dollar Delta order has also caught the attention of the global airline community including International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. "It's not part of our plans at this stage but having said that, there's plenty of scope in our future plans to look at the C Series as a potential aircraft within the IAG fleet," said Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG.


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