Air Philippines, the LCC subsidiary of Philippine Airlines, announced plans to acquire six A320s (Alternative Airlines, 18-Mar-2010). Air Philippines currently leases Bombardier Dash-8 turboprop aircraft from PAL, operating to 19 destinations from its two hubs, Manila and Cebu. It had, until 2008, also used PAL B737 equipment. The carrier announced plans to resume twice daily services to Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro on 28-Mar-2010, utilising the new A320 aircraft.
Air Philippines to acquire six A320s, in new PAL strategic drive
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Philippines-China air service growth to lift Philippines' Chinese tourism as Duterte changes horses
First bananas, then people. China's lifting of a trade ban against bananas from the Philippines bodes well for aviation. Relations between China and the Philippines turned negative in 2012. The issue was primarily over China's claims to uninhabited islands – a debate that also caused China-Japan relations to turn sour. China banned Filipino banana imports and issued a travel warning against the Philippines. Travel warnings from China carry more weight than in other markets since state-owned/linked travel agencies essentially stop selling the impacted market. Diplomatic rows have resulted in drastic reductions in outbound passenger flows from China.
Japan has more than recovered but the Philippines' underexposure to China is well evident: the Philippines has received the least number of Chinese tourists in Asia. Laos and Cambodia, far smaller than the Philippines, each received more Chinese tourists than the Philippines.
New Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte is pivoting Manila's allegiance away from the US – to China. His presidency is young and the calculation has its sceptics, but China appears to be warming. Following the lifting of its ban on banana trade, China is expected to use President Duterte's visit to Beijing to lift its travel warning against the Philippines. This will likely stimulate large air service growth between China and the Philippines. Yet for existing markets, there is some concern that the Philippines presents new competition.
Southeast Asia-US market Part 3: new nonstops need to overcome stiff one-stop FSC & LCC competition
Southeast Asian airlines are seeking to capture a larger share of the Southeast Asia-US market over the next few years as they launch new flights to the US. Three of the region’s flag carriers and at least one long haul LCC are planning to launch flights to the US, intensifying competition in an already fiercely competitive market.
Southeast Asian airlines currently account for less than a 20% share of the total Southeast Asia-US market. Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines are the only significant players in this market and are aiming to increase their share as they add new nonstop routes. Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines are also keen to become significant players as they launch flights to the US, replacing their now limited offline products.
However, market share gains will likely come at the expense of yields and profitability as competition with North Asian airlines – and to some extent US and Gulf carriers – intensifies. North Asian airlines now account for more than 50% of bookings in the Southeast Asia-US market and have increased their reliance on Southeast Asian connections as they have added US capacity, resulting in very competitive fares.