Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that marks a new era of cooperation between the flag carriers.
The MoU lays the foundation for a renewed partnership agreement that will deliver a comprehensive range of commercial benefits to the airlines and customers. Included in its scope are codesharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, special pro rate and air pass agreements, and cargo cooperation.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said the MoU with Philippine Airlines was an important milestone in the long-standing relationship between the two flag carriers as well as ties between Abu Dhabi and the Philippines, adding that “Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines have a history of successful cooperation on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route.”
PAL president and COO, Ramon Ang, for his part, said: "We are very happy to seal this partnership with Etihad, a respected global carrier. This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options. This also comes at an opportune time for PAL which is in the thick of a fleet modernization and expansion program that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft.”
“The MoU symbolises our shared commitment to growing the passenger and cargo market between the UAE and Philippines and fostering closer diplomatic, trade and cultural ties.”
“Closer collaboration in our home markets and in the global arena will enhance the competitiveness and appeal of our offering and deliver an unrivalled customer proposition in the UAE, in the Philippines and abroad."
Mr Hogan and Mr Ang said they each hoped a closer partnership between the two brands would make them first choice for the more than 700,000 Filipinos who live in the UAE and who account for much of the traffic on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route each year. They spoke also about increasing the number of leisure travellers to the Philippines – in particular from the Middle East and Europe.
Mr Hogan said: “The Philippines is one of the world’s best kept secrets with great appeal to travellers from overseas. We are committed to working with the Philippine Airlines team and the Philippines tourism industry to bring more overseas visitors to their country and to increase the economic benefits of tourism.”
Mr Hogan also identified the potential for both airlines to increase the volume and value of trade.
“Two-way trade between the UAE and the Philippines was valued at $US1.4 billion in 2013 and the UAE is the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Closer cooperation in the cargo arena, one of Etihad Airways’ most successful divisions, has the potential for a boost to each airline’s bottom-line and to the economies of our two great nations.”
Etihad Airways launched services between Abu Dhabi and Manila with four weekly Airbus A330-200 flights in February 2006. Today, the airline offers twice-daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between the capitals. In 2013, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was the airline’s second busiest route (547,68 passengers) in its global network. The airline employs nearly 1000 Filipinos worldwide including more than 270 cabin crew and over 20 pilots.
Philippine Airlines Deploys New Fleet to US
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has deployed its newest aircraft, Boeing 777-300ER, to make non-stop flights to the US mainland.
"We celebrate an important milestone--the retirement of our 747 fleet and the entry of our modern Boeing 777-300ER and the Philippines upgrade to Class 1 status. Indeed, it starts a new era for Philippine aviation sector and your flag carrier, Philippine Airlines. All these was made possible by the government led by Philippine President Aquino, in particular, the CAAP under the leadership of Gen. Hotchkiss and [Deputy Director General] John Andrews," PAL President and CEO Ramon Ang said Monday night in a press conference.
The Boeing 777 will be replacing PAL's 20-year old B747-400s on the two daily trans-Pacific service as it retires next month.
Boeing 777 will be flying to San Francisco by June while it has already started flying to Los Angeles last May 3.
The fuel-efficient, twin-engine B777 jets offer a spacious bi-class cabin which are being deployed to Australia, Canada and London.
Boeing 777 boasts of having a bigger capacity than its predecessor with 42 seats in the business class and 328 in economy, all with in-seat video, a feature which manifests the aircraft's state-of-the-art technology.
The new aircraft uses the world's largest and most powerful commercial jet engine compared to the old fleet's four engines. It has been known to be fuel-efficient especially on long flights which can fly as far as 7,930 nautical miles or equivalent to a non-stop flight from Manila to US and vice versa without refueling.
PAL expects to save USD120 million in fuel and maintenance costs by using the new aircraft to fly in US routes.
With the coming of PAL's new fleet, Ang expects a lucrative fiscal year ahead for the airline.
"Moving forward, I believe we [PAL] will be profitable this year," Ang concluded. (Jade D. Miguel/PNA)FPV