PHILIPPINES: PAL to continue US flights despite downgrade

Philippine Airlines said it will continue to operate flights to the US despite a downgrading of the country to a Category 2 safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). PAL said it will be restricted by FAA to the 33 weekly flights it currently operates to the US and will not be able […]


Philippine Airlines said it will continue to operate flights to the US despite a downgrading of the country to a Category 2 safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

PAL said it will be restricted by FAA to the 33 weekly flights it currently operates to the US and will not be able to change aircraft types used on the routes, meaning that six 777-300ERs scheduled to begin delivering next year will not be able to be deployed as planned unless FAA upgrades the country’s status.

PAL currently flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas via Vancouver, Honolulu and Guam. It is the only Philippine carrier operating flights to the US. It said it could add service to those destinations only if it wet-leases aircraft from an airline operating in a Category 1 country.

It expressed concern that the downgrade will "gravely affect inbound and outbound tourism traffic, cargo traffic and investments inflow to the Philippines."

"We lament FAA’s decision," PAL President Jaime Bautista said. "We hope the [Philippine ATC service] will soon be able to rectify the assessed deficiencies in its air safety oversight functions so the country can revert to Category 1.