Philippine Airlines (PAL) hopes to restore its domestic operations to full capacity by the fourth quarter when passenger volume traditionally surges during the holidays.
PAL President Capt. Stanley Ng said the flag carrier’s domestic capacity had reached 80% of its pre-pandemic level after suffering from debilitating travel restrictions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PAL VP for sales Bud Britanico expects reopening of the country’s major tourist spots would boost demand for air travel.
He cited as an example, “Surigao and Siargao are on their way to recovery, full capacity. You have those other destinations picking up. So, we are very optimistic, especially for domestic tourism. That’s easier because that is within our control.”
Capt. Ng said the positive outlook is based on “better than expected” performance in the first quarter.
“It is really encouraging, the results of the first quarter,” he said. This was followed by a surge in flight bookings during the Holy Week break.
PAL’s international capacity, though, has reached only 60% of pre-pandemic level. Ng said the airline would add more flights and frequencies to countries that have reopened their borders.
The PAL chief said the airline was also better prepared now to deal with the pandemic after two years of disruptions to its operations.
Meanwhile, PAL recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to boost travels to Singapore through a joint campaign.
The parties will also offer special deals and promotions for tourist establishments in Singapore.
Currently, PAL flies twice a day to Singapore, but Ng said the pre-pandemic frequency of four daily flights could be restored by the last quarter.
“The Philippines is a key and important tourism market for Singapore and strong flight connectivity between both our countries is really important for us both for tourists and business travelers,” STB chief executive Keith Tan said.