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Duterte supports PAL’s 5-star bid

By LORETO CABANES

President Duterte assured flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) full support of the government in realizing its vision of becoming a world-class airline.

“I assure you that you will have my full support as you realize your vision of becoming a world-class airline. I urge you to join me in bringing real and lasting change for the benefit of our country and people,” he said.

He made this assurance in speech at the unveiling of PAL’s newest and most modern aircraft, the Airbus A350 900 XWB (extra wide body) and Airbus A321neos (new engine option) on Tuesday at the Lufthansa Technik Philippines hangar in Pasay City.

He thanked both PAL and Cebu Pacific for their services in ferrying back to the country “distressed” overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait early this year.

He admitted that he has been a PAL customer for more than 50 years. “It might just be noteworthy to say this that I have been your customer since college days,” he said.

Duterte also urged PAL and the rest of the private sector to support the government in laying down the foundation for a better and more prosperous nation.

He noted that PAL’s accomplishments and initiatives would encourage more people to travel to the Philippines, and eventually boost the tourism industry. “Do remember that you serve as a gateway to the beauty of our islands and the vibrancy of our culture,” he said.

“The tourism sector is full of exciting opportunities that do not only showcase our unique heritage. In fact, it is also a crucial instrument for the development of the livelihood of our citizenry,” he said.

Duterte led the traditional ceremonial welcome for the new jets at the Lufthansa Technik Philippines hangar in Pasay City. He was joined by PAL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lucio C. Tan, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista, along with officials of airplane manufacturer Airbus and financial firm SMBC Aviation Capital.

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