THE management of the country's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), suspends one more Bacolod-Manila-Bacolod flight effective Sunday because of the 'lean season'.  

 

PAL now has only three remaining flight schedules from Bacolod to Manila -- 10:45 a.m., 3:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. flights, said Fernando Bermejo, branch manager of PAL Bacolod Station. 

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Bermejo said they will temporarily suspend PAL PR Flight 136 that leaves Bacolod to Manila at 6:25 a.m. The flight will resume in December but PAL management said they might resume on October for the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City.

Last week, due to pilot shortage, PAL also suspended PR flight 160 that leaves at 7:45 p.m. from Bacolod to Manila. The airline likewise reduced the frequency of flights going to and from Manila and Ozamiz, Dipolog, Puerto Princesa and Cebu due to the lean season. 

The Cebu-Davao-Cebu service will also be temporarily suspended and will resume during the peak season, Bermejo said. 

 

There are already 26 pilots who left PAL for greener pastures abroad. Bermejo opined that pilots left PAL because of the salary offer, which is three times higher than the biggest package offered by PAL.

 

Bermejo also admitted that PAL has incurred $300 Million or P1.5 billion in its 2008 to 2009 operations. He added they still expect minimal losses in the 2009 to 2010 operations.

Aside from its problems on the mass resignation of the pilots without prior notice and its on-going tussle with its labor unions, PAL has suffered a setback after the European Union blocked Philippine airliners from flying to its 27 member-countries.

The EU cited failure to comply with international safety standards as the reason for the move. 

The US Federal Aviation Authority also downgraded the Philippines’ safety ratings for the country’s failure to comply with aviation safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. 

 

But Bermejo said these matters are not within the control of PAL but of the government's aviation authorities.(Teresa Ellera-Dulla)