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PAL plans new US flights to reverse losses

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to operate new non-stop, ultra-long haul routes to and from the United States maniland over the next two years while expecting a net loss by end of 2017 due to high fuel prices.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista is excited at the prospect of launching nonstop flights to New York, “which will happen maybe third quarter of 2018.”

Bautista said PAL is studying other new routes to the United States such as Chicago and Seattle.

In January 2016, PAL signed an order with Airbus for six A350-900 ultra-long haul jets, with an option for another six.

Delivery of four Airbus 350s is scheduled in 2018. As the new aircraft will be more fuel-efficient, Bautista said additions to the fleet will allow PAL to do away with the stop-over in Vancouver, Canada.

This December, PAL is mounting non-stop, direct flights between Manila and Auckland in New Zealand.

Bautista said the nonstop flights would reduce travel time by two hours, from 12 hours to 10 hours.

PAL reported an unaudited P3.29-billion net loss for the third quarter of 2017, worsening by 63 percent the year-ago period’s P2-billion net loss.

The third-quarter performance brought PAL’s net loss in the first nine months of the year to P4.95 billion, a downturn from a net income of P2.6 billion previously.

“Oil prices have gone up by more than 20 percent compared with last year, but fares are still going down and that’s the reason why we are not doing very well financially,” Bautista said.

In 2016, PAL reported a P3.59-billion net income after tax, a 39-percent drop from P5.87 billion in 2015.

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