September 05, 2016 at 11:55 pm
Darwin G. Amojelar
Philippine Airlines is eyeing Clark International Airport in Pampanga as its new hub amid the worsening air traffic congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.
“What’s important is we develop it as a new airport, a new hub for Philippine Airlines because the congestion costs a lot of money to us. Our estimate is that we spend $60 per minute if flights are delayed,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista, told reporters at the sidelines of the company’s signing of a $38-million loan agreement with Cathay United Bank Co. Ltd.
“The only way for us to grow is to mount flights to Clark because there’s already congestion in Manila, so we cannot expand our operations. We have to look for other airport, that’s what we are trying to do,” he said.
Bautista said PAL planned to initially transfer five to 10 flights a day in Clark within the year. The airline flies 150 times a day at Naia.
“It should be within the year because you can take sometime for you to prepare a flight because we need ground handlers, caterers and we need refuelers. We are now working with them,” he said.
Bautista said aside from domestic flights, PAL also planned to mount flights to Incheon in South Korea from Clark within the year.
“I think there’s a market. What we need is to develop it and make people use to fly to Clark,” Bautista said.
PAL earlier announced the cancellation of some of its domestic flights from Naia to decongest air traffic in Luzon’s main gateway.
“What’s important is we contribute to the solution of airport congestion,” Bautista said.
Airlines already operating in Clark include Qatar Airways, Cebu Pacific, Tigerair, Jin Air, Asiana Airlines, Dragon Air, Air Asia Berhad and Emirates Airlines.
These airlines mount flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Macau, Pudong, Incheon, Doha, Dubai, Davao, Cebu and Kalibo.
PAL’s parent firm, PAL Holdings Inc., earlier reported a comprehensive net income of P4.62 billion in January to June, down from P5.94 billion in the same period last year.
PAL Holdings said comprehensive income in the second quarter amounted to P1.92 billion, down 11 percent from P2.16 billion last year.
Revenues in the six-month period reached P57.57 billion, up 2.3 percent from last year’s P56.28 billion. Total earnings in the second quarter amounted to P28.45 billion, compared to P28.30 billion a year ago.
PAL Holdings attributed the increase in revenues to the depreciation of the peso, which averaged 47.19 per US dollar in the first half, compared to 44.55 a dollar last year.