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PAL eyes more flights to China

Philippine Airlines plans to mount more flights to China next year in preparation for the influx of Chinese tourists in the Philippines.

“We may increase our flights to China, we are considering flying to other Chinese destinations. Hopefully next year, the Chinese tourists will visit the Philippines. The influx of Chinese tourists right now is not that much because it was affected by the West Philippine sea issue,” PAL president and chief executive Jaime Bautista said Monday.

Bautista

The Tourism Department said the Chinese market was recovering from a slump in 2014 and started showing positive growth since April this year.

The number of Chinese visitors to the Philippines in the January-to-July period stood at 257,014 visitors.

China arrivals to the Philippines in 2014 fell 7.4 percent to 394,951 due to the travel advisory by the Beijing government against visiting Manila for safety reasons.

“We are very optimistic that next year will be a good year for the Philippines for Chinese tourists,” Bautista said.

PAL currently flies to seven destinations in China, which include Jinjiang,  Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Xiamen.

Bautista earlier said the airline expected to take delivery of five Airbus 321s and two Boeing 777-300s next year.

He added PAL was  looking at acquiring eight wide-bodied aircraft over the next two to three years.

“It’s still under evaluation whether we will acquire A350s or Boeing 787 Dreamliner, hopefully we can make a recommendation to the board before the end of the year,” he said.

Bautista said the new airplanes to be used for long-haul destinations would replace PAL’s Airbus A340s aircraft.

PAL currently operates six Airbus 340-300s for its long-haul destinations. The A340 is being used on the new route to New York via Vancouver.

Besides A340, PAL uses six Boeing 777-300ERs in operating daily flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto and London.

PAL’s parent firm, PAL Holdings Inc., recorded a consolidated total comprehensive income of P5.94 billion in the first half of the year, up 1,500 percent from just P362.4 million year-on-year.

Total revenues in the first half rose 14 percent to P55.95 billion from P48.95 billion a year earlier. Revenues in the second quarter reached P28.09 billion, up 2.9 percent from P27.23 billion on year.

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