Written by Mond Ortiz
In my last meeting with Philippine Airlines President and COO Jaime J. Bautista, we did talk about the airline's goal and direction of becoming a 5-star airline. Though he did mention that becoming a 5-star carrier is indeed a very big challenge, it is very much possible for as long as forward steps are undertaken everyday, be it big or miniscule. It looks like everything is slowly paying off!
Just yesterday at the Paris Air Show 2019, world reknowned airline rating company Skytrax announced the winners of the 2019 World Airline Awards and Philippine Airlines gained not less than 8 recognitions, with low cost subsidiary PAL Express gaining 2! These recognitions are:
All these recognitions are a result of a combined effort of everyone in PAL in making the airline an air traveller's premier airline of choice and of course to be known as the world's best airline.
When Mr. Bautista was reappointed as President and COO after the LT Group won back PAL in 2014, he embarked in a journey towards making Philippine Airlines a 5-star airline, from being a hybrid model during the time of San Miguel. Mr. Bautista believed that PAL should be competing at a level of its Asian airline neighbors like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Korean Air, Asiana, ANA, and others, instead of using low-cost or hybrid carriers as a benchmark model. While others doubted that PAL will be able to attain this level, the airline's management, staff, and crew all believed in their hearts that they can get that star.
Many were revised, crew training was further modified fit for a 5-star airline, systems were streamlined and updated to improve passenger experience, inflight amenities were greatly improved, and more fuel efficient aircraft arrived like the Airbus A350-900 and Airbus A321-271NEO. The ultimate goal is straightforward, a 5-star profitable airline.
In 2018, Philippine Airlines was certified by Skytrax as a 4-star airline and from then on, PAL's accolades and awards did not stop coming. These awards are a testament of PAL's commitment to be a 5-star airline and a world premier airline in the next coming years. Then now in 2019, the "Gold Standard" of airline awards and ranking, UK-based Skytrax, have recognized PAL's immense improvements by recognizing them as the World's Most Improved Airline of 2019! Being given a Skytrax award is just like receiving an Oscar Academy for Films award!
Another recognition that I would like to point out to is the Cabin Crew which ranked 11th Best Cabin Crew in the World. I myself have witnessed how PAL trains their cabin crew and I would say it is very comparable to the story of metamorphosis where a caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, PAL standards in selecting their cabin crew is already high but once they enter training, they are treated as some raw material that have to be sculpted into a beautiful art work. PAL trainers are very professional individuals who have this "eye for perfection" where a "pwede na" standard is a huge "hindi pwede". Their aim is to mould their cabin crew in being the best of the best of themselves in all facets from safety to service to decision making to interpersonal skills and to personality development. Each PAL flight attendant have to carry the 5Ms or 5 core values which are further explained here.
Congratulations to Philippine Airlines and PAL Express for the 10 recognitions you gained! Indeed, these are awards are a true testament in your goal of not only taking our flag higher and farther, but in showing the world what it is to live in the Heart of a Filipino!
Mabuhay kayo and more power!