Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will take a 9.5% stake in Philippine Airlines as part of a strategy to expand its international network. In a statement, the carrier said it would acquire the shares from Trustmark Holdings Corporation, owned by the Lucio Tan family and the largest shareholder of PAL Holdings.
“Asia is a key growth market and we believe Philippine Airlines is in an excellent operational position to capitalise on both the strong uptick in air traffic growth as well as the vibrant, expanding Philippine economy,’’ ANA chief executive Shinya Katanozaka said.
The board of ANA Holdings also voted last week to order 30 Boeing 737 MAX ‘s and 18 A320neos to be delivered between 2021 and 2025.
ANA is the first Japanese airline to order the MAX 8 and the company said the decision was prompted by economic and aviation demand growth in Asia and emerging countries.
The airline has options for 10 additional MAX 8s and intends for the more efficient aircraft to succeed its current 737NGs.
It said ANA and low-cost offshoot Peach had each selected aircraft to fit their growth strategy but the markets to which they would be deployed had yet to be decided.
The acquisition of the 9.5% stake in PAL is ANA’s second successful investment in a Southeast Asian carrier, having taken an 8.77% stake in Vietnam Airlines in 2017.
PAL president Jaime Bautista said ANA's purchase announcement came as PAL celebrated the 70th anniversary of its first Tokyo-Manila flight on January 26, 1949. He added that PAL is planning
further rapid expansion of its international operation over the next few months as it launches services to Hanoi, New Delhi and Phnom Penh and adds frequencies to 12 of its 39 existing
PAL is also growing capacity to continental North America by nearly 50% this summer, supported by the delivery of A350-900s.
PAL eyes transit market
As PAL introduces 17 additional weekly frequencies to North America it is trying to attract more transit traffic in the highly competitive North America-Southeast Asia market – leading to the decision to add Hanoi, New Delhi and Phnom Penh.
ANA and PAL already have a strong codeshare relationship that links 16 Japanese destinations with 11 in the Philippines.
ANA to add ORD to its freighter network
In another development, ANA has released its 2019 flight schedule last month including details of the utilisation of the carrier's two new B777 freighters which will be introduced this summer. According to the 2019 schedule, the B777Fs will operate six-times a week on a Tokyo Narita (NRT) – Kansai (KIX) – Shanghai Pudong (PVG) – Tokyo Narita service, while from October 27 the freighters will be used for the launch of long-haul flights between Tokyo Narita and Chicago.
All Nippon Airways currently operates four 767-300Fs and eight 767-300BCFs on domestic freighter routes as well as to Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, and several points in mainland China. Service is provided from Tokyo and Osaka, but also from its express hub in Naha.
In March last year ANA announced a strategic business partnership with Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA).
Nol van Fenema