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New routes, fleet await as PAL gets 4-star rating from Skytrax

The public could expect new routes and fleet from flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) as it recently got a 4-star certification from Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization.

According to Skytrax, PAL was given a 4-star rating based on the carrier's inflight and on-ground services.

On Tuesday, PAL bared its plans for this year, noting that the company would strive to achieve a 5-star rating.

New routes

By May, PAL would offer a nonstop Manila-Brisbane flight.

The Manila to New York J.F. Kennedy Airport, on the other hand, would begin on October, with services to Seattle, Chicago and a point in western Europe are also in the works.

PAL president and chief operations officer Jaime Bautista said the carrier is also exploring the possibility of having Clark to Bangkok, Clark to Japan routes since there are many people interested about these.

He cited that PAL is also considering having a flight to New Delhi. "PAL used to operate there using Airbus 330, but that was big for the market," he said in a press conference held Tuesday in Makati City.

A flight to Sapporo is also being considered, he added.

PAL is also boosting its Clark hub, as well as the flights it offers from Cebu and Davao.

A Davao to Siargao route would be opened by March. Also, PAL would increase its Cebu to Bangkok flights from thrice weekly to daily by April.

New fleet

Bautista told reporters that PAL currently has 88 aircrafts. This year and in 2019, passengers could expect new aircrafts from PAL.

For this year, PAL said six Airbus A321neo and four A350-900 would be delivered.

The A321neo has 168 seats and has in-seat video monitors loaded with more than 300 hours of inflight entertainment. The economy seats here are more spacious and has a wider legroom, according to PAL.

This is also the type of aircraft that would be used for the nonstop Manila-Brisbane flights.

The A350-900 would start arriving in June, and would be equipped with the airline's most luxurious cabin features.

Meanwhile, to further cater to the passengers' needs, PAL would soon have a two-storey Mabuhay Lounge adjacent to the north wing of PAL's terminal 2 hub at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This lounge would have a dining area, bar lounge, massage area, meeting rooms, private showers as well as children's play area.

Ma. Cristina Arayata / PNA