Philippine Airlines (PAL) has secured a new partnership with Etihad Airways that has the potential to significantly enhance tourism flows into the Philippines.
The national carrier has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Etihad that will lead to a greater number of codeshare flights between the two carriers, potentially transporting more European and Middle Eastern passengers to travel to and from the Philippines, via Etihad’s home base in Abu Dhabi.
“The Philippines is one of the world’s best kept secrets with great appeal to travellers from overseas. We are committed to working with the Philippine Airlines team and the Philippines tourism industry to bring more overseas visitors to their country and to increase the economic benefits of tourism,” said Etihad’s president & CEO, James Hogan.
Etihad and PAL already cooperate on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route, which is served by both carriers. And the MoU could also see PAL place its ‘PR’ code on a series of Etihad routes to and from Europe and the Middle East, allowing more connections to the Manila flights. Likewise, Etihad could codeshare on more of PAL’s services to destinations in the Philippines.
Also included in the MoU are reciprocal benefits and lounge access for frequent flyers, air pass agreements and cargo cooperation.
“We are very happy to seal this partnership with Etihad,” said PAL’s president & chief operating officer, Ramon Ang. “This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options.
“This also comes at an opportune time for PAL which is in the thick of a fleet modernisation and expansion programme that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft,” Ang added.
Etihad launched its Abu Dhabi-Manila service in 2006 and now offers twice-daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between the two capitals. PAL launched the same route last year, marking its return to the Middle East.
The Philippines is targeting 10 million international visitors by 2016.