Philippine Airlines pursuing global alliance membership!

Philippine Airlines and it’s reward program Mabuhay miles have been struggling – most of the regional carriers it is competing with are part of a global alliance. Now, based on an interview of PAL CEO Jaime Bautista with the Inquirer (a leading newspaper in the Philippines), Philippine Airlines is pursuing membership of a global alliance as well! Finally!

Currently, most of its regional competitors are in one of the big three alliances: Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Malaysian Airlines are part of Oneworld; Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines, as well as Aseana, ANA, Eva and Air China are part of Star Alliance; China Eastern and Southern, China Airways, Korean Air, and even Garuda and Vietnam Airlines are in SkyTeam! That leaves PAL as one of the few network airlines without an alliance, limiting access to the Americas and Europe. It’s reward program, Mabuhay Miles is not competitive, with few opportunities to earn or redeem miles. Recently, PAL has forged alliances with Emirates and ANA for code shares as well mileage earning and redeeming, but that seems to be only the first step. It is now looking to become a member in one of the three global alliances!

According to the Inquirer: To that end, PAL’s external department has been working with “friends” in the industry to try to gain access….”What we need is a codeshare agreement with an American carrier,” said Bautista. PAL is eyeing talks with US-based carriers like American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. PAL also flies to the United Kingdom—its only direct route to Europe. He noted that the business was weaker than expected, but PAL was nevertheless keen on growing the market through a partner. “We need a codeshare agreement with a European carrier,” he said, citing a potential tieup with British Airways and Germany’s Lufthansa. “We need to be able to carry passengers beyond London and, for us to do that, we need a partner…. 

PAL’s entry into an alliance would be great progress, both from a network and rewards program perspective. Let’s hope Philippine Airlines can get it worked out soon!


Comments

Philippine Airlines pursuing global alliance membership! — 28 Comments

    • Sorry, no news on PAL’s alliance membership. PAL has ambitious plans to become a 5-star airline, but has not made any announcements on an alliance.

      • Hahahaha ambitions to become a 5-star airline. You crack me up! 🙂

      • Well, I though it was a bit ambitious to shoot for 5-star, but they are paying a lot of consulting dollars to improve the airline and they’ve received the SkyTrax 4-star rating
        And service and food have improved, especially in business class, so there is hope…
        I do think their alliance strategy is out of whack – instead of wishing for StarAlliance, they should just partner with Alaska Air or JetBlue for access to North America and Oman Air or Gulf Air for access to Europe…

  1. If philippine airlines become member of any of the three leading big world alliance it opens gate to big opportunity to increase frequency of flights in major cities in Europe and the Americas…

  2. Philippine Airline service is very poor. Don’t know what 5 star service is. That would be a miracle for PAL to be like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air France, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Qatar and a few. Poor management and crew aren’t trained to par to know what 5 star service is. PAL is like your Walmart and British Airways is like your Neiman Marcus. Sad to say PAL is whack.

    • Sorry, you had a bad experience – when did you last fly with them?
      PAL already has been awarded 4-star status, the same as Air France or British Airways. Based on my experience, I’d consider service on PAL to be significantly more friendly and attentive than on Air France or British Airways! PAL’s new A330/350 also have significantly better seats than British Airways – BA is flying 7 across in Business Class vs only 4 across on PAL!
      While I agree that PAL has a long way to go to achieve 5-star status, they’ve made a lot of improvements over the last 2 years and are worth trying out, if you haven’t flown them in a while!

    • 1-2 years ago I would have bet on StarAlliance due to PAL’s existing partnership with ANA. Since then, StarAlliance has come out that they are not looking for additional partners in SE Asia in informal interviews.
      But PAL is reportedly still pursuing a membership in an alliance, based on comments of their President, without any indication which alliance they are talking to!

  3. I’ve watched a video in you tube aboit Qatar Airways leaving One World; if it is true then it would be Philippine Airlines’ chance to join in.

    • I wouldn’t hold my breath on Qatar leaving OneWorld – CEO Al Baker says lots of outrageous things in interviews and speeches that don’t necessarily turn into action.
      OneWorld is one option for PAL, but with Cathay Pacific’s hub less than 2h away and a lot of route overlap, as well as JAL and Malaysia Air in OneWorld, I’m sure there’d be push-back from those members.
      PAL also lacks existing partners within OneWorld, who could support their application…
      It remains interesting…

    • The three alliances already have a lot of overlap, making it tough for PAL. I agree with your assessment – failing an alliance membership, PAL should pursue a partnership with Alaska or JetBlue in North America and find a partner in Europe.
      Then again, the route overlap hasn’t stopped the alliances in the past from accepting a new member, it will remain interesting…

    • Looks like PAL is making progress – ANA’s plan to buy 10% of PAL would certainly help in their pursuit of becoming a member of StarAlliance! Read more here!

      • To be fair, ANA has a minority stake in Vietnam Airlines in a similar arrangement to PAL’s, but they’re with Skyteam.

        IMO, Skyteam would be better for PAL, since about EIGHT Star Alliance airlines already serve Manila (overrepresented); and Qatar, Cathay, and Malaysia already have very good connections as oneworld members (also overrepresented).

      • I agree that SkyTeam has less coverage in Asia than either OneWorld or StarAlliance. PAL needs a “sponsor” to enter an alliance as well as the other members approving. They don’t have any relationship with OneWorld or SkyTeam, but they do have ANA. There is a risk that a number of StarAlliance members, especially Thai, Asiana or Singapore Air would reject a competitor with so much route overlap.
        PAL’s biggest benefit would be to funnel travel from the US via Manila to Asia. Four of the five destinations in North America PAL is serving are StarAlliance hubs (United, Air Canada), allowing for the greatest amount of connecting travel…

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve had good onboard experiences recently as well and have a flight coming up in January on their new Airbus. I will update you all on the experience!

  4. Traveled economy with PAL from Brisbane to Manilla in October 2018 and could not fault the carrier. Brand new plane, great entertainment. Food and drink service was perfect, all staff were respectful and efficient. Would travel with PAL again.

    • Great, thanks for sharing your experience. PAL is using some of their newest planes to Australia, glad that’s working out!

    • PAL has extended their New Years Sale and the International Travel Fair is coming up February 8-10 at the Mall of Asia – hope you find a nice flight at a good price!

  5. I think SkyTeam is the best fit for PAL. Also now with the possibility of Delta dropping the connection in Japan to Manila when they move to Henada. This may be the best option for PAL to get an entry to an Alliance. Me and my wife always fly Delta from our home in Columbus Ohio all the way to Manila. Was really hoping they would find a way to keep service going to Manila. If this is what they have to do besides going through South Korea then it could work.

    On a side note. I will be flying PAL for the first time in July on our trip to visit family. Granted it is only Domestic but will be curious to see how domestic service is.

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