MANILA, Philippines – The management of PAL Holdings Inc., the majority owner of Lucio Tan-led Philippine Airlines (PAL), denied “knowledge” of the reported ongoing talks between key figures in the local carrier and the group of businessman Manuel Pangilinan.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday, January 19, the listed holding company said it has “no knowledge of any meeting or discussion by Mr. Jaime Bautista and “a son of the PAL owner” with key executives under the fold of the PLDT/Smart/Metro Pacific Group.”
“We therefore cannot confirm or clarify statements made under the said article,” wrote PAL corporate secretary Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco.
An opinion piece published on January 18 said the reported talks between the two camps came after diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation disclosed in December 2011 that there are ongoing discussions with the airline.
At the time, PAL Holdings likewise denied knowledge of the talks between its main owner and San Miguel.
PAL was recently financially bruised by its labor disputes, triggered by a decision to outsource 3 non-core operations.
After monopolizing the airline industry for decades, it is now faced by aggressive competitors, mostly from budget carriers. Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific has overtaken PAL as the top airline in the domestic market, one of the most active in the world.
The airline industry is a capital-intensive business that gets hit by at least 2 main factors: labor and high fuel costs. To counter the latter, airlines are constantly re-fleeting by buying new aircraft. Of the 12 new aircraft delivered to local carriers this 2012, PAL is expecting 6. – Rappler.com