MANILA, Philippines – Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines Incorporated (PAL) of taipan Lucio Tan is studying the possibility of flying to Auckland, the largest and most populous urban area in New Zealand.
PAL President Jaime Bautista said the airline is studying its viability as it sets to launch flights to Jinjiang, China and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in the coming months.
“Maybe this year. We’re still studying. It will actually depend on the numbers,” he said.
Rival Cebu Pacific of tycoon John Gokongwei earlier signified its intention to fly to New Zealand. The budget carrier was given the green light by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to fly to New Zealand 7 times a week.
PAL has 67 routes: 37 international routes, including Jinjiang and Port Moresby, and 30 domestic routes, including Tablas, Romblon launched Friday, April 17.
PAL is also scheduled to fly to Jinjiang soon, bringing the number of destinations in China to 7. It currently flies to Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, and Xiamen.
It is also awaiting the green light from CAB to fly to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
In 2014, PAL launched the London, Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Riyadh, Canton, and Haneda, Japan routes. PAL returned to New York via the John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 15 after an 18-year absence. New York is the 5th US city in PAL’s network, following Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Guam.
On April 16, PAL reported that it returned to black, posting a P129.74 million ($2.93 million) net income in 2014, reversing years of massive losses. – Rappler.com
$1 = P44.28
Auckland, New Zealand skyline image from Shutterstock