Philippine Airlines (PAL) is seeking a strategic investor as it looks to build its international network, join an airline alliance, and expand its long-haul fleet.
Since resuming leadership of PAL last year, president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista has undertaken a complete review of the carrier’s route network. He has revised the fleet plan and deferred Airbus orders.
The report said Bautista was seeking a new strategic partner to help fund expansion, “which will also pave the way for the carrier to enter a global airline alliance”.
“PAL Holdings is controlled by the Lucio Tan Group so we’re looking for a possible strategic partner that could help management,” Bautista said. Joining the right airline alliance would increase the carrier’s value, he added.
Philippine law allows foreigners to own up to 40% of PAL. Bautista said the ideal partner would be an airline with a complimentary route network.
In a 2014 report, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) noted that an investment by a Middle Eastern carrier, such as Etihad, could work. Another possibility is a US-based carrier.
In the meantime, Bautista’s priority is to improve service aboard PAL.
“I want PAL to be a five-star airline, with good service from the time they buy their ticket to the time they get their baggage from the carousel,” he says.
Written by Peter Needham