After phasing out its turboprop aircraft after undergoing receivership in the late 1990s, Philippine Airlines has acquired nine Canadian-made Bombardier-turboprop aircraft to launch its new budget airline subsidiary PAL Express.
About three 50-seater Q300 and six 70-seater Q400 Bombardier aircraft are seen to service the inter-regional routes in Visayas which has small airports that cannot accommodate large jetliners and which are tagged as missionary routes.
According to Atty Domingo Duerme, PAL’s SeniorVice-President for Mindanao, PAL Express is a low-cost airline that will service the Cebu-Visayas and Mindanao stations with its hub in Cebu City.
“We hope to meet the mandate of serving the people.” Duerme said. Most of the routes covered by the Bombardiers were the routes abandoned when they were under receivership as a result of the Asian financial crisis.
PAL is now seen to accommodate passengers in far-flung areas and also to areas which are known tourist destinations like Caticlan which is the gateway to Boracay Island. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recently batted for more flights to service Siargao in Surigao del Norte, which is known as the country’s unofficial surfing capital.
Known as the Quiet series, since they are equipped with Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) technology the Bombardier planes are known for their short take-off and landing capabilities which makes them suitable for small airports or airfields.
PAL has earmarked about $1.5 billion for the purchase of these modern turbo-props.