Philippine Airlines (PAL), a trade name of PAL Holdings, Inc. (PSE: PAL), also known historically (until 1970) as Philippine Air Lines, is the flag carrier of the Philippines. Headquartered at the PNB Financial Center in Pasay City, the airline was founded in 1941 and is the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name. Out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila, Clark International Airport of Angeles and Mactan-Cebu International Airport of Cebu, Philippine Airlines serves 31 destinations in the Philippines and 41 overseas destinations in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Oceania, North America and Europe.
Formerly one of the largest Asian airlines, PAL was severely affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. In one of the Philippines' biggest corporate failures, PAL was forced to downsize its international operations by completely cutting flights to Europe and Middle East, cutting virtually all domestic flights except routes operated from Manila, reducing the size of its fleet, and laying off thousands of employees. The airline was placed under receivership in 1998, and gradually restored operations to many destinations. After PAL's exit from receivership in 2007, PAL embarked on a frequent revamp of management. However, PAL's vision to re-establish itself as one of Asia's premier carriers, is still the matter of greatest importance. Philippine Airlines operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft with Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, and Boeing 777-300ER.
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Philippine Airlines is owned by PAL Holdings (PSE: PAL), a holding company responsible for the airline's operations. PAL Holdings is in turn part of a group of companies owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan. PAL is the thirteenth-largest corporation in the Philippines in terms of revenue and the twenty-first largest in terms of assets, as stated in the Philippines' Top 500 Largest Corporations of 2005. As of January 2005, PAL employs a total of 7,322 regular employees, including 450 pilots and 1300 cabin crew. PAL is the sixty-first largest airline in the world in terms of revenue passenger kilometers flown, with over 16 million flown for 21 million available seat kilometers, an average load factor of 76 percent.
For the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2007, Philippine Airlines reported a net income of US$140.3 million, the largest profit in its 66-year history. This allowed it to exit receivership in October. PAL had forecast net profit to reach $32.32 million for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2008, $26.28 million in 2009 and $47.41 million in 2010, but this proved difficult to achieve, with a large loss announced in early 2009 causing some concern.
Philippine Airlines operates a primary hub (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), two secondary hubs (Mactan-Cebu International Airport & Clark International Airport), as well as a focus city (Kalibo International Airport), with the majority of routes operating from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The airline flies to destinations in Asia, North America, Oceania, Middle East, and United Kingdom.
The Philippine Airlines fleet composed of wide-body and narrow-body aircraft from four families (excluding PAL Express fleet): Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340 and its flagship, Boeing 777. As of 3 February 2018, there were 64 aircraft registered in the PAL fleet.
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The Philippine Airlines logo has gone under four incarnations in the entire length of its operations. The first logo incorporated a blue oval with "PAL" superimposed in white letters, a four-pointed star whose points intersect behind the "A" in the PAL initials, and a wing whose position varied depending on the location of the logo (the wing points to the right if located on the left side of the plane, left if on the right side). A variant of this logo used a globe instead in the blue oval with the PAL initials superimposed. This logo would be in use from the 1950s until the mid-1960s, when it would be replaced by a second logo.
The second logo adopted a blue triangle (with the bottom point missing) and a red triangle superimposed upon it, enclosed by a circle; this was meant to evoke a vertically-displayed national flag (the white being formed by the negative space between the two triangles' tips). In the mid-1970s, a third logo, which removed the circle and simplified the shapes, was introduced. The typeface used in the third logo was later applied to the second logo, which remained the official PAL logo until 1986, when it would be replaced by the current logo.
The current PAL logo features the same two blue and red sailed triangles used in the second and third logos. However, an eight-rayed yellow sunburst that called the shaped Sailboat was superimposed on top of the blue triangle, and a new Helvetica typeface was used.
PAL liveries have undergone many incarnations. The first PAL aircraft bore a simple white-top, silver-bottom livery separated by solid straight cheatlines, with a small Philippine flag superimposed on the tail. The name "Philippine Air Lines" was superimposed in the upper forward portion of the fuselage and the PAL logo was located at the back. Later variants of the livery, especially on PAL jet aircraft, made use of an extended Philippine flag as cheatlines, with the PAL logo superimposed on the tail. By this time, the name "Philippine Airlines" was used in the livery.
Another variant of the original livery used by PAL is somewhat similar to the current livery. However, it uses PAL's third logo on the tail with blue, white and red cheatlines running the center of the fuselage. Later on, the bottom half of the fuselage was also painted white.
The current "Eurowhite" livery, first used with the Short 360, was adopted in 1986 following PAL's corporate rebranding. This livery, (designed by Landor Associates) has the name "Philippines" superimposed on the forward portion of the fuselage in italics (using the PAL logo typeface), while the tail is painted with the logo and the Philippine flag is visible near the rear of the aircraft. The PAL logo is also painted on the winglets of aircraft that have them. The name "Philippines", instead of "Philippine Airlines", is to denote that PAL is the primary flag carrier of the Philippines. However, this sometimes leads to confusion that a PAL plane, especially when chartered by the President for official or state visits, is in fact the official air transport of the Philippine head of state. Any PAL aircraft with the flight number "PR/PAL 001" and the callsign "PHILIPPINE ONE" is a special plane operated by Philippine Airlines to transport the President of the Philippines.
For the airline's 70th anniversary, a special decal was placed on all of its aircraft. The sticker featured a stylized "70" and the words, "Asia's first, shining through".
As the airline celebrates its 75th anniversary, a special decal was put at the back of every aircraft. The sticker features a stylized "75".
Mabuhay Miles is the Philippine Airlines frequent flyer program. It was established in 2002 by merging all existing PAL frequent flyer programs prior to the Asian financial crisis: namely, PALsmiles, the Mabuhay Club and the Flying Sportsman, with PALsmiles and Mabuhay Club members being moved to the new program on August 1, 2002. The Flying Sportsman program was subsequently transformed into SportsPlus, a three-tiered, subscription-based program which gives extra baggage allocations for sports equipment. Mabuhay Miles members earn miles that can be redeemed at face value on most Philippine Airlines-operated flights, as well as on code-shared routes of partner airlines.
Mabuhay Miles is divided into multiple tiers:
The table below shows the privileges between the different tiers of Mabuhay Miles.
|Privileges||Million Miler||Premiere Elite||Elite|
|Waived Mabuhay Miles processing fees and Ticketing Service Charge (TSC)|
|Additional Free Baggage Allowance (FBA)||40K +2 pcs||30K +1 pc||10K|
|Carriage of one sports equipment|
|Priority luggage handling||MMILER tag||Red tag||Red tag|
|Priority airport standby|
|Access to Mabuhay Lounge and VIP Lounges||+2||+1|
|Extension of selected privileges to one traveling companion:
|Tier-based bonus miles - 75% on Philippine Airlines flights to/from the US or California and UK|
|Tier-based bonus miles - 25% on all Philippine Airlines/PAL express flights|
The Mabuhay Lounge is the airport lounge for Philippines Airlines. Mabuhay (Business) Class and Elite Members of Mabuhay Miles (except those taking PAL Express flights) are eligible to use the lounge. The clubs all have open bars and food catering.
Between June 15 to August 15, 2015, Philippine Airlines began renovations on the Mabuhay Lounge at NAIA-2. The passenger lounge, which has a seating capacity of 110, reflects a blend of contemporary and traditional design. Each lounge chair is equipped with a power supply, enabling passengers to charge their personal electronic devices. Wi-Fi is available in the lounging and dining areas.
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Philippine Airlines currently offers three classes, depending on the aircraft. Some A330s offer three classes, B777s and A340s, as well as some A330s, offer two classes.
During the second half of 2006, PAL announced a cabin reconfiguration project for its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The airline spent US$85.7 million to remove all first class seats and increase the size of its business and economy seats, leading to the aforementioned new seats; as well as add personal screens with audio and video on-demand (AVOD) across both cabin classes. The cabin reconfiguration project was completed in 2009
Philippine Airlines converted the cabin layout of eight monoclass 414-seater A330-300s into a 309-seater tri-class model with Business, Premium Economy and Economy class sections. The reconfigured A330s were rolled out within a seven-month period in 2017, starting in June for flights to Honolulu, July for Melbourne, August for Sydney, September for Singapore, October for Haneda, November for Narita and December for Osaka. A330-300 IFEs were made by Zodiac Inflight Innovations. The seats were designed by Lift Strategic Design. Lufthansa Technik Philippines performed the reconfiguration.
Previous aircraft acquired from the leadership of Ramon Ang had no embedded IFE, except for Boeing 777-300ERs. Instead, they offered complimentary iPads with OnAir's wireless IFE solution, OnAir Play. New aircraft acquired from the leadership of Lucio Tan, however, have embedded IFEs, due to the failure of PAL's wireless IFE program for long-haul flights. They still offer wireless IFE on all aircraft.
Economy Class, also known as Fiesta Class, are also available on all aircraft. Footrests and tray tables are found in the seat in front, except for bulkhead and exit seats, where the tray tables are embedded in the seats and footrests are on the floor. On aircraft without IFEs, passengers are given complementary iPads. They have four way head-rests.
777-300ERs and select A330s feature economy class seats that offer a pitch of between 32 and 34 inches. Each seat offers AVOD and is equipped with 9-inch(777-300ER) and 10-inch (A330) monitors with a headphone jack and USB port for charging, mounted either on the seatbacks or armrests (for bulkhead and exit row seats). They have four-way headrests, and six inches of recline. An articulating seat bottom cushion comes with extra foam under the seat cover.
Premium economy, also known as Economy Plus, are available on A321s and select A330s, Boeing 777, the new A321neos, and A350-900 aircraft, as well as PAL Express flights using two class A320s in which case the business class seats are sold as Premium Economy. They are similar in design to standard/regular economy class seats but feature at least 4–5 inches more legroom providing a minimum of 34–36 inches of legroom. Some A330s have a different seat design, with an extra padding layer. It is 9.55” wide, pitched at 38 inches with eight inches of recline. They also feature a 13.3 inch IFE with AVOD, with a headphone jack and USB port, as well as in-seat power.
On aircraft without IFE, passengers are also treated to complimentary iPads.
Business Class, also known as Mabuhay Class, is available on all aircraft. It offers increased legroom, personal screens, and lie-flat seats (only on select A330-300s and Boeing 777-300ER, as well as on the new A350-900 and A321neo). Currently, Philippine Airlines is the only Philippine carrier to offer business class on domestic flights. Select Boeing 777-300ER and select Airbus A330-300 aircraft feature lie-flat seats manufactured by Recaro and Thompson Aero Seating respectively. It is arranged in 2-3-2 configuration for the 777 and 1-2-1 for the A330. A330 Business Class seats also feature Lantal air cushions, a four-way headrest, a storage shelf for personal belongings, a headphone hook, and a padded inner shell that absorbs noise. Seats feature 15 inch (777) and 18.5 inch (A330) personal in-flight entertainment systems with AVOD, as well as in-seat power. They feature a USB port where passengers can charge their mobile devices. Passengers are also given noise-cancelling headphones.
On other wide-body aircraft such as the A340-300, the older First Class cabin with seat pitch of 82-inch (210 cm) are sold as Business Class seats, alongside other recliner seats with seat pitch of 50-inch (130 cm). Passengers are given complimentary iPads.
Business Class seats on recently delivered A321s recline, and have a seat pitch of 39 inches (99 cm). The feature laptop power supply (both AC and USB). There is no IFE built into the seats but iPads are provided on select flights for no extra cost.
Although Philippine Airlines aircraft have been involved in a string of accidents since its founding in 1941, the majority of airline accidents have occurred with propeller aircraft during the early years of operations. Few PAL jet aircraft have been involved in accidents, the most notable being the explosion onboard Philippine Airlines Flight 434, masterminded by al-Qaeda and precursor to the ill-fated Project Bojinka.
Despite this, PAL is known for being the only airline in the Philippines to be accredited by the International Air Transport Association with passing the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), having been accredited in February 2007.
Philippine Airlines  also has a 6/7 safety rating according to AirlineRatings.com, which was rated safer than some of its South East Asian Counterparts: Malaysia Airlines (5/7), Garuda Indonesia (3/7), Thai Airways (4/7), Vietnam Airlines (5/7)
PAL experienced huge financial losses for the past few years. On March 31, 2006, PAL’s consolidated total assets were amounted to 100,984,477 Philippine pesos, an 11% decrease compared to 112,982.6 million Philippine pesos balance as of March 31, 2005. On March 31, 2007, the company’s consolidated assets continue to diminish by 8% with amount equivalent to 92,837,849 Philippine pesos as against to 2006 figures. The declination of PAL’s assets was primarily due to net decrease in property and equipment and advance payments to aircraft and engine manufacturers, current and other non current assets. As of March 31, 2007, other current and noncurrent assets fell by 29% to 2,960.4 million Philippine pesos and by 20% to 2,941.7 million Philippine pesos "due to the effect of re-measurement to fair value of certain financial assets and derivative instruments". After carrying 17% more passengers in 2009 due to acquisition of additional aircraft and growth in the local market, PAL annual income report showed raise in revenues amounted to US$1.634 billion from US$1.504 billion in 2008. In spite of this, PAL expenses escalated as a result of more flight operations and higher maintenance costs aggravated by fuel prices fluctuations; forty-four percent (44%) of PAL income operating expenditures is utilized for fuel consumption.
PAL has a history of labor relations problems. On June 15, 1998, PAL retrenched 5,000 of its employees, including more than 1,400 flight attendants and stewards to allegedly reduce costs and alleviate financial downturn in airline industry as consequence of Asian financial crisis. Represented by Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), the retrenched employees particularly the 1,400 cabin crews seek remedy for their problem through judicial process and filed a complaint on the grounds of unfair labor practice and illegal retrenchment.
It took a decade before it was finally settled. It passed the Labor Arbiter to the National Labor Relations Commission then to the Court of Appeals and, finally, to the Supreme Court. The Philippine Highest Tribunal favored the aggrieved party and on July 22, 2008, in its 32-page decision ordered PAL to "reinstate the cabin crew personnel who were covered by the retrenchment of and demotion scheme of June 15, 1998 made effective on July 15, 1998, without loss of seniority right and other privileges, and to pay them full backwages, inclusive of allowances and other monetary benefits computed from the time of their separation up to time of actual reinstatement, provided that with respect to those who have received their respective separation pay, the amount of payments shall be deducted from their backwages." The Supreme Court further explained that there was a failure on the part of PAL to substantiate its claims of actual and imminent substantial losses. Although the Asian financial fiasco severely affected the airline, PAL defense of bankruptcy and rehabilitation are untenable; hence, the retrenchment policy is not justified.
However, on March 26, 2018, the Supreme Court en banc voted in favor of Philippine Airlines, which affirms the 2006 Court of Appeals decision that says Philippine Airlines is not required to consult FASAP for its criteria for its retrenchment program.
For more than 20 years, PAL monopolized the air transport industry in the Philippines. This came to an end in 1995 through the passage of Executive Order No. 219 that permits entry of new airlines in the industry. The liberalization and deregulation of Philippine airline industry have brought competition in the domestic air transport industry resulting to lower airfare, improvement in the quality of service and efficiency in the industry in general. At present, three airlines are competing in international and major domestic routes: PAL, Cebu Pacific and PAL Express (formerly known as Air Philippines) and two airlines are serving minor and short-distance routes: Philippines AirAsia, Cebgo (formerly SEAIR and Tiger Airways) and other small airlines.
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