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PAL to study Manila-Brussels direct flights


PHILIPPINE Airlines, Inc. (PAL) is studying possible direct flights to Brussels after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with Belgian airport executives last week, according to the flag carrier’s spokesperson.

“We will work with the government in studying possible options to assess the viability of any future EU (European Union) operations,” PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna said in a Viber message when asked to comment on the idea of direct flights to Belgium.

Arnaud Feist, chief executive officer of the Brussels Airport Company, told the Philippine president last week that direct flights would be a “win-win” for both countries as it would increase travel options among tourists from Western Europe and Southeast Asia.

Mr. Marcos backed the proposal, saying it would make more areas accessible for both foreigners and Filipinos.

“When we talk about Brussels, in our mind, it’s really Western Europe because, very clearly, Brussels is the center of that. And that is something of great interest,” he told Belgian airport officials.

The president was accompanied by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Senator Mark A. Villar, and officials from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Transportation, and PAL.

Stanley K. Ng, president and chief operating officer of PAL Holdings, Inc., said in the same meeting that direct flights to Belgium could increase economic activity in the Philippines. PAL Holdings is the listed company that operates Philippines Airlines.

In October, Mr. Ng. said the country’s flag carrier is expected to make a full recovery in domestic sales and reach 70% of pre-pandemic levels in international sales by this month.

PAL made $1.1 billion in revenues in the first half of the year, which translates to a growth of 258% in passenger revenues and 31% in cargo revenues from the same period last year.

European airlines have posted increasing profits during the northern hemisphere summer from June to August as people took advantage of traveling without pandemic restrictions.

“We look forward to exploring opportunities for direct flights to the European Union,” Ms. Villaluna said, citing what was discussed by the Philippine government with Belgian authorities during Mr. Marcos’ Brussels visit. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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