PAL attaining 80% of pre-pandemic performance in 2022

Philippine Airlines (PAL) achieved “better than expected” financial results in the first quarter of 2022 and is now at 80 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, in terms of domestic flights and 60 percent, in international flights.

“In the 3rd and 4th quarter, we’ll add more flights and go back to 80 percent for the whole network (domestic and international),” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Stanley Ng announced Tuesday, April 19 , at the flag carrier’s I’M Hotel, Makati press briefing for its partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

However, “It will not be a V-shaped recovery. It will take some time,” the flag carrier’s new president acknowledged.

Soaring aviation fuel prices is “a challenge right now”, he admitted.

Still, “Our (first quarter financial) results are very encouraging. We beat our budget,” he reiterated without citing numbers.

Manpower re-hiring is a “possibility” but more on the support side, inasmuch as the number of crew is based on the number of aircraft, according to Ng.

“We might add a little but we’re looking at digital (means) to improve our processes,” he noted.

The flag carrier also plans to add more international flights to countries opening their borders.

Already, it will go back to its pre-pandemic flights of 4 times daily from Manila to Singapore by the third quarter of this year.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, Singapore recorded over 800,000 visitors from the Philippines, its 7th biggest tourist market.

Numbers plummeted to 98,000 in 2020 to a dismal 11,500 in 2021.

However, after the city state relaxed its border policies this month, “We’re expecting visitor numbers from the Philippines to increase sharply,” STB Chief Executive, Keith Tan, told reporters today.

Over 200,000 Filipinos work in Singapore and Filipinos fly to the city state for tourism, business and visits to relatives and friends.

Since Apr 1, 2022, vaccinated travelers to Singapore enjoy a streamlined travel process, requiring only proof of vaccination, a pre-departure Covid-19 test, and a simple SG Arrival Card.

Already, 8,000 Filipinos have visited Singapore in the first three months of 2022.

Nevertheless, “We expect a reasonable recovery,” the STB executive maintained.

“It will take two to three years before we get back to pre-pandemic levels. But we are seeing positive signs of recovery for the rest of the year, the return of the airlines and flight frequencies.”

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