FLAGSHIP carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced plans at a stockholders' meeting last week to rebrand its low-cost subsidiary Airphil Express and build a new 2,000-hectare airport within the next three years.
The airline will retain the name Philippine Airlines for longhaul flights, while the PAL Express brand would be re-adopted for regional shorthaul and domestic flights, PAL president, Ramon S Ang, disclosed.
Airphil Express was formerly known as PAL Express, until it ceased business operations under that name in March 2010.
Philippine Airlines told TTG Asia e-Daily that a new PAL Manila-Toronto route would be launched November 30, in time for the delivery of its fourth Boeing 777-300ER. The service will be thrice-weekly, while the current daily Manila-Vancouver flight will be reduced to four times a week. The return route, Toronto-Manila via Vancouver, will be operated daily.
Ang's disclosure also included plans for a new airport with up to four runways that would be "accessible in 15 minutes" via an elevated six-lane "skyway" to the Makati business district.
In earlier reports, Ang supported the construction of a new airport in either Clark or Bulacan, both located north of Metro Manila.
The plan is being presented for approval by Philippine president Benigno S Aquino III. If approved, construction will begin in 2013 in partnership with a South Korean contractor. It is also understood that the elevated highway project is a separate undertaking.
These announcements follow last week's news of PAL's US$7-billion aircraft order with Airbus for the delivery of 54 new aircraft starting 2013 (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 29, 2012), which would bring PAL's fleet to a total of 100 aircraft.