Tack Change: PAL Vows to Fly Where Filipinos Are
MANILA: In an attempt to capture the overseas Filipino market and enhance its bottom line, the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is revamping its marketing strategy.
“We’ll fly where the Filipinos are,” PAL President Jaime J. Bautista was quoted as saying by Business Mirror.
Bautista just returned from the successful inauguration of the carrier’s Cairns-Auckland route, which is operated four times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) from Manila using a 156-seater Airbus A320, the report said.
As of June 2013, about 210,760 Filipinos live in Australia, 15 percent of whom are in Cairns, the fifth most populous city in Queensland, while some 44,000 Filipinos live in New Zealand, it added.
Bautista separately said: “The route will stimulate passenger traffic along three travel streams —Manila-Cairns, Manila-Auckland, as well as Cairns-Auckland. The new service allows Philippine Airlines to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travelers, and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality. Filipinos residing in New Zealand will find the new service as their convenient link to their home country.”
Under the renewed leadership of Filipino-Chinese tycoon Lucio Tan, part of PAL’s mission, Bautista explained, is to be “a source of pride of the country being the flag carrier.” As such, it is important that the carrier also become the airline of choice of the overseas Filipino community, which numbers about 12 million to date, and scattered across the globe, said the news portal.
So PAL, for instance, will be returning its service to Saipan in the Northern Marianas, despite its small market of some 19,000 Filipinos, who comprise 35 percent of the US Commonwealth’s population, the portal said.
The twice-weekly flights, which will start in mid-2016, will be served using a 156-seater A320. The route will be operated by PAL’s low-cost affiliate, PAL Express, and will be the first international destination of said carrier, it added.
PAL used to fly to Saipan in the 1990s, which continues to attract nurses and other medical professionals. There is also a sizable number of medical referrals among the local Chamorro population, who come to Manila for its hospital services, the report pointed out.
PAL also reportedly flies five times a week to Guam, which hosts a significant number of overseas Filipinos, as well as second- and third-generation Guamanians of Filipino descent, now US citizens. As of 2006 there were some 47,000 Filipinos—naturalized US citizens and permanent residents—and about 1,400 temporary workers on Guam, a US territory.
On December 18 PAL will also be offering thrice-weekly flights to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, using an A320. Papua New Guinea hosts about 20,000 Filipinos who work in various hospitality jobs, the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and various professional and managerial positions.
Bautista also confirmed flights to Paris, France, “in two years; we will wait for the Boeing Triple 7.” By then, the carrier would already have another Boeing 777-300ER (370 seats), which it plans to use for many of its long-haul flights, he reportedly said.
There are some 100,000 Filipinos who live and work in France, reported Business Mirror