PAL says lower airfare got the firm more passengers

"We got a portion of that market because our airfare is now almost equal to that of surface travel," Philippine Airlines’ vice president for Mindanao Dominguo Duerme said. 

Duerme said the cheapest one-way ticket from Davao to Manila before was P3,900. "Now we have a promo package of P648 one way ticket, plus taxes, which could sum up to around P2,200.” 

Cebu Pacific, PAL's competitor, earlier lowered its fare, even offering promos on advanced booking for as low as a peso for a one-way ticket to Manila from here, exclusive of taxes. 

Duerme told business reporters Monday at the Kapehan sa SM City at the Pizza Hut Restaurant that PAL, which flies to seven cities in Mindanao, has reached its Mindanao gross sales targets from January to October this year. 

He said they reached sales targets both for passenger and cargo, citing 80 percent loading average so far for the first 10 months of the year. Duerme is also the incumbent president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

The increase in passenger traffic due to decrease in fare helped ensure the firm would not experience a 6 per cent dip in sales for the supposed lean months of the year from August to November. He cited no figures. 

Duerme said the increasing number of conventions and events held in Davao City has boosted its sales. 

Aside from Davao, PAL flies from Manila to Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Dipolog, Cotabato and Butuan.  

At present, PAL flies five times daily to Manila. But Duerme announced they would add one more flight by December 1 to accommodate more passengers during the Christmas holidays. 

PAL uses two 302-seater A330 planes, two 150-seater A320 planes and a 136-seater A319 plane for its existing flights.  Duerme vowed to give updates as soon as the Air Transportation Office is finished with its investigation on a PAL flight that overshoot the runway in Butuan airport last month.  

He said they have attended to the passengers in the accident, including those who needed hospitalization. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)