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PAL trims domestic, international flights on Oct. 1

By Osias T. Osorio

MANILA, Philippines (PNA) — Philippine Airlines (PAL) will reduce the number of selected domestic and international flights for a limited period as the flag carrier prepares for the transfer of its catering, ground handling and call center reservations units to third party service providers on Oct. 1, 2011.

In a statement, PAL said that the number of domestic flights would be temporarily reduced by about 30 percent while international flights would be cut provisionally by 12 percent ahead of its long-awaited spin off/outsourcing program.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said domestic routes with reduced flight frequencies on certain days involve 14 stations, namely: Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Butuan, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga.

On the other hand, the 11 international points to be affected by the flight frequency reduction are Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Macau, Singapore, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Guam, Sydney, Melbourne and Incheon (from Cebu). All other PAL flights remain as scheduled.

Apart from informing affected passengers, PAL has posted a complete and updated list of PAL flights at www.philippineairlines.com. For other inquiries passengers may also call PAL reservations at 858-8888 or their favorite travel agent.

Villaluna assured the public that only select PAL flights would be suspended for a few days, and would resume on varying dates in October and November as operations normalize after the spin off/outsourcing. She said all other PAL flights remain operational albeit on other available schedules. PAL may also merge some flights using bigger aircraft.

She said that the flight suspension on selected routes seeks to prevent sudden, unplanned cancellations and avoid passenger inconvenience.

She said it would be easier for the flag carrier and its service providers to handle reduced number of flights as they adjust and transfer the functions of its three non-core units.

Villaluna said Malacanang, the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Transportation and Communication, Manila International Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Philippine National Police have been informed of the airline’s temporary flight reduction and other contingency measures.

PAL will set up temporary Cashier counters at convenient locations for ticket refunds and other transactions. All penalties shall be waived. The airline will also set up remote city check-in counters near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Exact location will be announced very soon.

Passengers checking in at these remote counters will be issued boarding passes and shuttled to NAIA Terminal 2 on air-conditioned buses. Priority will be given to those without check-in luggage.

“PAL is adopting contingency measures during the transition period to shield its customers from unnecessary inconvenience and hassles. We’re not taking any chances.

These measures will help alleviate the inevitable minor kinks in PAL’s service as we go though this difficult but necessary transition period,” Villaluna said.

“PAL seeks the understanding of the flying public. We are grateful to the Manila International Airport Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, other government agencies and PAL’s corps of volunteers for their logistical support during this period,” she said.