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!