Philippine Airlines CEO sees 2022 as 'comeback year'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 15) — After dealing with turbulence in its financials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the top official of Philippine Airlines (PAL) considers 2022 as the company's "comeback year".

"We look forward to a comeback year for Philippine Airlines and for our country," PAL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lucio C. Tan was quoted as saying in a statement.

On Tuesday, the flag carrier marked its 81st year in the market, which the business tycoon described as a "day of rebirth" for PAL.

Tan stressed the group is now equipped to deliver "a stronger, more reliable and dynamic airline" as it completed its financial restructuring earlier this year.

"You have my assurance that we will stay true to our mission of serving the Filipino people through a network that keeps the Philippines connected to the global economy," Tan said.

READ: PAL seen to fly into recovery after exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy process

The successful restructuring brings waves of hopes for PAL as this allowed the airline to cut over $2 billion in debts, contract the company's operating fleet capacity by 25% and raise $655 million in new financing.

World leaders' decision to ease travel restrictions further propels PAL's optimism, it said. In the Philippines alone, the government has placed the capital region and 47 other areas under the most relaxed COVID alert level.

The airline is boosting its network, covering a total of 39 international and 27 domestic destinations. Earlier this month, PAL said it is adding more than 1,500 flights, expanding its regular scheduled flights by 52%.

Aside from this, PAL is slated to transform its Mabuhay Miles frequent flyer club into a bigger lifestyle program and launch digital innovations to improve the travel experience and cargo business.