Alliance, not merger, with Air Philippines: PAL execs

MANILA—”There’s no merger, if at all, there will be an alliance.”

This was disclosed by Philippine Airlines (PAL) vice president for corporate communications Rolando Estabillo when interviewed on the alleged merger of PAL with Air Philippines.

Estabillo said: “We are in the discussion stage, but it is still up in the air. We are not looking at laying off workers. Air Philippines will still be there. It will not fold. We are looking for ways in which the operations of both will be efficient.”

He said the trend now in the United States or even Europe is to consolidate because of the state of the aviation industry. “We have to stay afloat and retain viability.”

He said Fiesta Air is one of the brand names the company is looking into, if at all there is an alliance.

On the other hand, PAL president Avelino Zapanta said: “Air Philippines was just exploring ways to be more competitive, to better cope with setbacks in the airline industry. Not only (are we in a slump) but globally, there is really a market for low-cost airlines.”

Zapanta declined to comment on the retrenchment plan.

Earlier, Patria Chiong, Air Philippines senior vice president, had said Air Philippines was to merge with PAL in line with efforts to cut costs and ensure Air Philippines’ survival amid the slump in the airline industry worldwide.

“We will be implementing measures and offering retirement packages to those who want to avail of them,” Chiong said.

Air Philippines is 70 percent owned by Lucio Tan. The rest belongs to William Gatchalian and his Wellex Industries Inc. Tan acquired a majority stake in the airline in 1999, when it was only on its third year of operation.

The airline serves 18 domestic destinations with more than 60 flights daily. It also has permits to fly to Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, but it flies abroad only to Hong Kong. (PNA)

29/10/2003

Bron : Sun Star

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