PAL eager to fly to London, Paris, Rome, Cambodia, Turkey, Kuwait
MANILA, Philippines - Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is seeking an exemption to the ban which prevents local carriers from landing in European airports as it plans to launch new international routes.
PAL said it is looking to launch new international routes to Cambodia, Turkey and Kuwait in 2013, and has already filed application with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for the allocation entitlements. Separate hearings are expected over the first two months of next year.
“In the case of Europe, the airlines can actually work out an exemption and unlike in the U.S. it’s the country that is banned therefore the airline is affected. We are an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certified airline by IATA (International Air Transport Association), therefore we can use that to leverage an airline exemption and we are working on that,” said PAL vice president for marketing support, Felix Cruz.
The Philippines has been on the Category 2 list since 2008 as a result of deficiencies identified in the Universal Safety Oversight Audit program of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The downgrade happened after a safety audit conducted in November 2007 found a total of 23 deficiencies in the Philippines’ air industry regulations.
The European Union (EU) also raised significant safety concerns that resulted in the banning of Philippine carriers from landing in European airports. This ban has been in place since 2010.
“In the case of U.S. they are strictly following that but in Europe you can prove yourself as an airline because we are maintained by Lufthansa Technik which is a German and a European company. Our pilots are actually licensed by our civil aviation,” added Cruz.
Boeing or Airbus?
If PAL’s request is granted it will deploy its new Boeing 777 to London, Paris and Rome, said the PAL official. The airline is scheduled to take delivery of two more new long-range Boeing 777-300ER in April and November in 2013. This comes as part of an aggressive international expansion plan.
A visiting British official recently said the United Kingdom will help the Philippines overcome the European ban. When UK Member of Parliament Hugo Swire also announced on December 11 that a new bilateral air service agreement between his government and the Philippines' has been sealed, he cited PAL's purchase of Airbus aircraft, which have some parts made in the UK.
PAL recently mounted flights to Toronto, Canada and will soon fly to Darwin, Australia. The airline is also looking into launching flights to the United States and other destinations in Europe, but it can’t due to its present Category 2 status. - Rappler.com