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Heir to an empire: Lucio Tan III is now PAL Holdings president

Lance Spencer Yu

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Heir to an empire: Lucio Tan III is now PAL Holdings president

PAL Holdings Inc.

The millennial grandson of billionaire Lucio Tan takes over as the flagship carrier continues its pandemic recovery

MANILA, Philippines – Lucio “Hun Hun” Tan III was appointed president of PAL Holdings Incorporated (PHI) – the parent company of Philippine Airlines (PAL) – just weeks after he took over as president of LT Group.

The 30-year-old Tan assumed the role of his grandfather, billionaire Lucio Tan, on Thursday, May 25. The elder Tan remains as chairman and chief executive officer of PHI.

Tan III has held a number of positions in the family’s business empire over the years, including vice president of PHI in 2021, and president and chief operating officer of Tanduay Distillers in 2019. He is a graduate of Stanford University, where he studied electrical engineering and computer science.

In a statement filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Tan III said that he is “committed to providing stability and upholding the highest level of integrity within the company.” 

His appointment comes at a time when the holdings company has been struggling financially as it weathers the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it posted an operating loss of P4 billion. 

Chairman Tan also alluded to this, saying that “we face major challenges just the same. We need to rebuild our product and our fleet. Philippine Airlines needs to be a stronger competitor and a leader in service and innovation.”

However, the company has recently started to see some signs of recovery, as it finished 2022 with a total consolidated operating income of P17 billion. The holding company’s consolidated revenues also rose by 137%, from P59 billion in 2021 to P139 billion in 2022. 

PHI attributed this to PAL’s financial restructuring plan and the resurgence of air travel as border restrictions relax. The number of passengers flown in 2022 alone reached 9.31 million, 214% higher than the 2.97 million passengers served in 2021.

PHI acts as the parent company of PAL and Air Philippines Corporation. PHI is 76.92% owned by Trustmark Holdings, which is in turn 60% owned by Buona Sorte Holdings, its ultimate parent company. – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.