FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) is banking on the country’s return to the US Category 1 aviation safety rating to hike revenues in the coming years.PAL President Jaime J. Bautista told reporters at the sidelines of the airline’s 69th anniversary that the company is expecting to break even in the coming 2010-2011 fiscal year but said aviation safety issues plaguing the country can be resolved soon.
“It’s only on the condition that we should be able to fly to the United States as soon as possible with our new [Boeing] 777 that we will not get a third year of loss. But for the coming year income is not contingent on the category,” said Mr. Bautista.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the Philippine aviation from Category 1 to Category 2 in 2007 due to noncompliance with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards, preventing PAL from expanding operations in the United States. A second review in 2008 yielded the same result.
Mr. Bautista said the government should be able to get the Category 2 classification lifted in six to 12 months.
The airline wants to fly to Chicago, San Diego and New York and may also mount additional flights to San Francisco. It is also planning flights to India through Bangkok, Thailand