Thursday, January 21, 2010

PAL gets another new 777 jet

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will take delivery Thursday of its second 370-seater Boeing 777 jet as part of efforts to modernize its fleet to cope with an increasingly competitive market.

In a statement, PAL said it would launch a seat sale for select domestic and international routes to mark the event and drum up interest in its new flagship aircraft.

“PAL is offering deeply discounted, short-term promotional fares on flights to all its domestic jet destinations and most major international points as the flag carrier marks the arrival of its second Boeing 777-300ER aircraft,” the Lucio Tan-led carrier said in a statement.

Dubbed “Valentine Special,” the promo drops PAL fares to a flat rate of P777 for a one-way flight on Fiesta Class (economy) between Manila and any point in Luzon or Visayas, and between Cebu and Davao.

For one-way flights on Fiesta Class between Manila and any point in Mindanao, the promo fare is P1,777.

Covered by the promo are PAL-operated flights between Manila and Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga, as well as between Cebu and Davao.

International tickets will also be cut, the airline said, but did not specify how big the discounts were going to be.

The fares are available for ticketing until Jan. 25 and are valid for travel from Feb. 1 to March 15.

The company said the new aircraft would be used for flights to Brisbane, Hong Kong and Tokyo, the same flights that the first 777 delivered last year is serving.

The deal to acquire a total of six Boeing 777s was sealed in 2006, with PAL originally planning to lease two aircraft to be delivered in 2009 and 2010.

Four brand-new 777s were scheduled to arrive from 2010 to 2012, but due to mounting losses, PAL had asked Boeing to push back the delivery to 2013 and 2014.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) noted that PAL might not be able to enjoy the benefits of the new and more efficient Boeing 777s, originally planned for use for its bread-and-butter routes from Manila to North America.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier downgraded the country’s safety standards to Category 2 from Category 1. The lower grade means local airlines will not be allowed to add more flights to the United States.

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