National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) remains one of the world’s biggest carriers, ranking 61st in terms of number of passengers and total distance flown.
Speaking before members of the Consular Corps of the Philippines, PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said that based on the World Airline Ranking compiled by Airline Business magazine, PAL ranked 61st with 17.8 billion Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) – the international benchmark for measuring airline passenger traffic. PAL's chief local competitor ranked 116th.
As defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global association of commercial airlines, RPK is the number of passengers flown by an airline multiplied by the distance traveled by each passenger. Thus, IATA said, RPK measures “actual” passenger traffic.
"RPK is a more accurate yardstick of passenger traffic because it takes into account the distance actually traveled.
Passenger headcounts do not reflect the true distance and value of the act of transporting people."
During PAL's last fiscal year 2010-2011, PAL flew over nine (9) million passengers across a network of 46 international and domestic destinations, using a fleet of 36 long-range, wide-body as well as single-aisle jets.
Of the total passengers carried, almost half or four (4) million were foreign tourists – the most flown among all airlines that operate in the country, according to Bautista.
"We carry between 40-50% of all foreign visitors arriving in the country every year." In the first quarter of 2011, PAL again dominated the international segment with 1.025 million passengers flown.
Bautista also told the consuls that aside from being the largest Philippine carrier, PAL pioneered the country's commercial aviation industry – "PAL developed a number of virgin routes that have evolved into important business and tourism links.
PAL was the first airline to mount regular flights on these routes when the market was uncertain. After PAL built the market, other airlines jumped in."
Some of these now important routes include – Manila to New Delhi, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Beijing, Busan (South Korea), Xiamen, Saigon, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Melbourne as well as Cebu-Tokyo, Cebu-Seoul and Kalibo-Taipei. (Philippine Airlines)