By James A. Loyola
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is strengthening its partnership with All Nippon Airways, Japan’s largest and 5-star airline for six consecutive years, following a strategic investment made by their parent companies.
In a statement, PAL said ANA’s parent company ANA Holdings Inc. (ANA HD) is acquiring a 9.5 percent stake in the Philippine flag carrier’s mother company PAL Holdings Inc. for US$95 million.
ANA HD will acquire the shares from Trustmark Holdings Corporation, which is owned by the Lucio Tan family and is the largest shareholder of PAL Holdings.
“This purchase underscores ANA HD’s belief in the dynamism of the Asian region and the great potential of the Philippines’ multi-awarded flag carrier and its confidence that the Philippine air travel market will continue to serve as an economic leader for the ASEAN region,” the companies said.
They added that, “the investment by ANA HD heralds the dawn of a new era of growth for PAL, which has embarked on a full-scale expansion program that has seen its fleet and network grow to almost 100 aircraft and 80 destinations in four continents.”
This campaign has coincided with an emphasis on product transformation that saw PAL recognized recently as the World’s Most Improved Airline for 2019.
In line with the Mid-Term Corporate Strategy for FY2018-2022, the ANA Group is expanding its international group network, which is considered its main growth pillar, and strengthening its partnerships with foreign airlines to provide further convenience to its passengers.
“We are honored and excited that a premier airline group such as ANA HD has decided to purchase shares in PAL Holdings. The Philippines and Japan have a long-standing relationship with complementary strengths,” said PAL and PAL Holdings President Jaime J. Bautista.
He noted that, “this week, in fact, we commemorate the 70th year of Philippine Airlines’ service to Japan, dating back to the launch of our first Manila-Tokyo flight on January 26, 1949. It is a great privilege to celebrate this historic occasion by strengthening our ties with ANA, as we aim to build a relationship that is mutually beneficial with an eye to a more progressive future.”
Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA Holdings Inc., said “Asia is a key growth market and we believe Philippine Airlines is in an excellent operational position to capitalize on both the strong uptick in air traffic growth as well as the vibrant, expanding Philippine economy.”
“We look forward to expanding our business relationship with Philippine Airlines so we can continue to serve our passengers even better,” he added.
Philippine Airlines currently operates 84 flights weekly on 9 routes to Japan and ANA operates 14 flights weekly on 2 routes to the Philippines.
The two carriers have codeshare operations on Japan-Philippine routes and domestic routes within Japan and the Philippines, linking a total of 16 Japanese and 11 Philippine destinations.