PAL outlines negatives in bid for recovery
MANILA, 22 November 2010 – Philippine Airlines (PAL) has warned that a possible resurgence of bird flu and a rise in fuel prices could hurt its fledgling recovery from economic woes.
The warning comes as the national flag carrier is dealing with the fallout of a bloody hostage-taking in Manila in August that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
“PAL is also closely watching the recent re-emergence of the AH1N1 (bird flu) virus in Hong Kong,” the airline said in a statement issued late Saturday.
The Philippines has been on alert for any instances of bird flu in the country after a new case was recorded in Hong Kong last week, the first since 2003.
“The avian flu can dampen demand at a time when the Philippines has yet to fully recover from the stigma of the recent hostage crisis involving Hong Kong nationals and the negative travel advisory against the Philippines,” it added.
Many Hong Kong and Chinese travellers cancelled trips to the Philippines after a disgraced Filipino policeman took a bus-load of Hong Kong tourists hostage in August.
After a mistake-riddled rescue attempt by Manila police, the hostage-taker was shot dead but eight tourists were killed and seven others were injured, sparking outrage and travel warnings in Hong Kong and China.
Despite the hostage incident, PAL said it posted “modest gains” in its 28.2-million-dollar net profit posted from July to September, something it attributed to cost reduction measures, without giving details.
The airline said revenues hit US$399.5 million in the July to September, 2010 period, up 33% from the same period in 2009.
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