MANILA, Philippines – Local carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to mount direct flights to Bali, a popular island tourist destination in Indonesia, starting March 2012.
PAL president Jaime Bautista had told reporters that the airline has already applied for a permit to operate a new Manila-Bali route with the Philippine government, which in turn has asked Indonesia to consider.
The Indonesian government has yet to approve the request.
“There was already a technical inspection here conducted by them. Once it is issued, we will work on our marketing plan. We are looking at March to hopefully fly there,” he said.
Bautista said they consider the proposed route as a “developing market.”
The Philippines and Indonesia have existing bilateral air agreements, which set the conditions, frequency and other restrictions applicable to commercial airlines availing of the entitlements in these government-to-government negations.
If approved, Bali will be the 1st new destination of PAL for 2012, and the 2nd in Indonesia. PAL already mounts direct flights to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
PAL plans to deploy a 150-seater Airbus A320 aircraft and mount 3x weekly flights.
PAL, which suffered $33.5 million losses in October to December 2011, has a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft that are deployed to domestic and international flights.
The A320 is considered in the industry as an efficient plane for trips that are considered short-haul or within a 4-hour flight time.
PAL’s Cesar Chiong said they are eyeing to service the proposed route at night since “that’s when some of our A320s are not being utilized.”
PAL had ordered new planes in anticipation of more robust international routes. But their re-fleeting plans were shelved after the US and European Union aviation agencies have blacklisted the Philippines due to the lack of ability of the government agency in-charge to oversee and implement safety measures.
PAL was the collateral damage of these blacklistings since it was the only local airline operating the routes between the Philippines and the US. – Rappler.com