Philippine Airlines

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Image:PAL.PNG Philippine Airlines or PAL is the national airline of the Philippines. It is the first airline in Asia and the oldest of those currently in operation. With its corporate headquarters in Makati City, Philippine Airlines flies both domestic and international flights. As of 2005, it claims to serve twenty-one domestic airports and thirty-two foreign cities. Its main hub is Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital city of Manila. Its principal Asian competitors are China Airlines and Japan Airlines.



Philippine Airlines Boeing 747-400: taxiing from a gate at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

Philippine Airlines was founded in February of 1941, making it Asia's oldest carrier still operating under its current name. The airline was started by a group of businessmen led by Andres Soriano, hailed as one of the Philippines' leading industrialists at the time. Government investment in September of the same year paved the way for its nationalization.

It started operations in March 1941 with a single Beech Model 18 aircraft making one flight daily between Manila (from Nielson Field) and Baguio. PAL services were interrupted during World War II, which lasted in the Philippines from 1942 until 1945. In February 1946, after the war, PAL resumed operations with services to 15 domestic points. Its fleet consisted of five Douglas DC-3s. In July of the same year, a chartered DC-4 ferried 40 American servicemen to California, making PAL the first Asian airline to cross the Pacific. In December of the same year, it started regular service between Manila and San Francisco.

Philippine Airlines Airbus A330-301: turning onto runway 02C in Singapore for departure to Manila.

1947 saw PAL head to Europe with the acquisition of Douglas DC-4s. In 1951, PAL leased a DC-3 named "Kinsei" to Japan Airlines, which led to the founding of Japan's first airline. Six years later, PAL starts services to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Taipei using Convair 340s. Some nine years later, in 1962, PAL enters the jet age with the Douglas DC-8.

In 1965, PAL is once again privitized when the Philippine government relinquishes its share of PAL. Benigno Toda, Jr., the PAL board chairman from 1962, acquires a majority stake in the airline. A year later, in 1966, PAL starts services to the southern cities of Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao using the BAC1-11.

PAL would continue expansion with the arrival of its first Douglas DC-10 in July of 1974. However, three years later, the Philippine government would re-nationalize PAL with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) holding a majority of PAL shares. In 1979, the Boeing 727, the Boeing 747-200, and the Airbus A300-B4, called the "Love Bus", joined the PAL fleet. The "Love Bus" would enter service to Singapore later in the month.

In 1982, PAL would start services to Paris via Zurich. Five years later, PAL overhauls its domestic fleet with the launch of the Shorts SD360 into domestic service. A year later, the Fokker 50 joins the domestic fleet. A year after that, in 1989, the Boeing 737 joins the fleet.

PAL would once again be privitized in January of 1992, when the government would sell its share of PAL to a holding company called PR Holdings. However, a conflict as to who would lead PAL led to a compromise in 1993, when former Education Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez was elected PAL president by the airline's board of directors.

In November of 1993, PAL would acquire the Boeing 747-400. The aircraft touched down at Subic Bay International Airport and was carrying then-President Fidel Ramos, who was headed home from the United States after a state visit there.

Philippine Airlines Boeing 747-400: taking off from Los Angeles International Airport.

Fourteen months later, in January of 1995, Lucio C. Tan, the majority shareholder of PR Holdings, would become the new chairman and CEO of the airline. Two years later, PAL would acquire its first Airbus A340-300. In 1999, PAL would consolidate its international and domestic operations at its Manila hub with the opening of Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 2, named the "Centennial Terminal".

However, PAL suffered heavy losses in the mid- to late 1990s. Service was drastically cut during the Asian financial crisis, which lasted from 1997 until 2001. Service to Europe and many other international destinations was eliminated and PAL eliminated most of its domestic destinations as its domestic fleet was scrapped to keep PAL afloat during the crisis.

In 2000, PAL finally returned to profitability, making some 44.2 million pesos in its first year of rehabilitation, breaking some six years of heavy losses. Later that year, PAL would sell its maintenance and engineering units to Lufthansa Technik AG. The company would become responsible for the maintenance of the PAL fleet. In August of the same year, PAL opens an e-mail booking facility. The system allows passengers to book their flights and receive a reply within 24 hours.

In 2001, PAL continued to gain a net profit of 419 million pesos in its second year of rehabilitation. In this year alone, PAL restored services to Sydney, Busan, Taipei , Jakarta, Vancouver, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok, while launching new services to Shanghai and Melbourne. A year later, PAL restored services to Tagbilaran and Guam. During 2002, the PAL website was relaunched, and its frequent flyer program, called Mabuhay Miles, was launched, combining PAL's former frequent flyer programs: PALsmiles, Mabuhay Club, and the Flying Sportsman, now renamed Sportsplus. The PAL RHUSH (Rapid Handling of Urgent Shipments) cargo program was also relaunched.

2003 saw PAL returning to Kuala Lumpur and flying to Okinawa. PAL also launched the "Online Arrival and Departure Facility", which allows passengers to view actual flight information. PAL also launches a new booking system with new features, like booking flights without having to log-in to the PAL website. In December of 2003, PAL also acquires a new Boeing 747-400, the fifth of the PAL 747 fleet.

In 2004, PAL launched services to Las Vegas to mark its 63rd year of service. PAL also returned to Laoag and started services to Macau on an agreement with Air Macau. The airline also saw a return to Europe with the return of the airline to Paris and Amsterdam on agreements with Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The service to Paris, however, was inevitably cut. PAL also continued an overhaul of its fleet with the arrival of two new Airbus A320s and continued modernizing its ticketing systems with the launch of electronic ticketing. In March of 2005, PAL started services to Nagoya, making it PAL's fifth Japanese destination.


Livery and Logo

Philippine Airlines; Airbus A380. An artist's vision of a Philippine Airlines Airbus A380.

The name "Philippines" is located across the front part of the fuselage. The logo of blue and red triangles with the sun on the blue triangle. The logo came from the design and colors of the Philippine flag with the exception of the three yellow stars on a field of white.


Incidents and Accidents

PAL has 21 crash records, the last one being in 1999 and most of them being in its earlier years.

On December 11, 1994, a small bomb exploded below the seat of a Japanese businessman on Philippine Airlines Flight 434. The businessman perished, but none of the other 293 passengers were killed. The Boeing 747-200 landed safely. Investigators later found that Ramzi Yousef, a terrorist suspected of being a part of Al-Qaida, planted the bomb there to test it out for a terrorist attack he was planning, Project Bojinka. The plan was foiled after an apartment fire in Manila led investigators to the laptop computer and disks containing the plan.






East Asia


Southwest Asia


Southeast Asia




North America





Boeing 747-400 Its power generates 4 General Electric CF6-80C2B1F, with the speed of 488 knots / 562 mph, holding the capacity of 398 / 433 Passengers (3-class layout) and 24 tons Cargo. This airline has five B747-400s.

Boeing 737-400 Its power generates 2 CFM Int'l CFM56-3C1, with the speed of 455 knots / 524 mph, holding the capacity of 168/170 Passengers (Fiesta Class) and 7 tons Cargo. This airline has three B737-400s.

Boeing 737-300 Its power generates 2 CFM Int'l CFM56-3-B1, with the speed of 455 knots / 524 mph, holding the capacity of 114 Passengers (2-class layout), 148 Passengers(Fiesta Class) and 6 tons Cargo. This airline has four B737-300s.

Airbus A340-300 Its power generates 4 CFM Int'l CFM56-5C4, with the speed of 480 knots/ 553 mph, holding the capacity of 264 Passengers (3-class layout) and 23 tons Cargo. This airline has four A340-300s.

Airbus A330-300 Its power generates 2 G.E. CF6-80E1A2, with the speed of 480 knots / 553 mph, holding the capacity of 302 Passengers (2-class layout) and 22 tons Cargo. This airline has eight A330-300s.

Airbus A320-200 Its power generates 2 CFM Int'l CFM-56-5B, with the speed of 458 knots / 528 mph, holding the capacity of 150/177 Passengers (2-class layout) and 7 tons Cargo. This airline has six A320-200s.


External links

Official website:

  • Philippine Airlines

Regional PAL websites:

  • Philippine Airlines in Japan
  • Philippine Airlines in Korea

Other websites:



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Related articles

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about Philippine Airlines (search). This article uses material from that article.

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