ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD), parent of All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan`s largest and 5-star airline for six consecutive years, is set to strengthen its position in the lucrative southeast asian market via a $95 million US dollar investment in PAL Holdings Inc. (PAL Holdings) and acquire 9.5% of PAL Holding’s outstanding shares. PAL Holdings is the parent of Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL), the Philippine flag carrier and the largest airline in the Philippines.
ANA HD will acquire the shares from Trustmark Holdings Corporation, which is owned by the Lucio Tan family and is the largest shareholder of PAL Holdings.
This purchase underscores ANA HD’s belief in the dynamism of the Asian region and the great potential of the Philippines’ multi-awarded flag carrier and its confidence that the Philippine air travel market will continue to serve as an economic leader for the ASEAN region.
PAL is recognized recently as the World’s Most Improved Airline for 2019 apart from being awarded 4 star status by Skytrax.
In line with the Mid-Term Corporate Strategy for FY2018-2022, the ANA Group is expanding its international group network, which is considered its main growth pillar, and strengthening its partnerships with foreign airlines to provide further convenience to its passengers.
Jaime J. Bautista, President of PAL Holdings and Philippine Airlines, said: “We are honored and excited that a premier airline group such as ANA HD has decided to purchase shares in PAL Holdings. The Philippines and Japan have a long-standing relationship with complementary strengths. This week, in fact, we commemorate the 70th year of Philippine Airlines’ service to Japan, dating back to the launch of our first Manila-Tokyo flight on January 26, 1949. It is a great privilege to celebrate this historic occasion by strengthening our ties with ANA, as we aim to build a relationship that is mutually beneficial with an eye to a more progressive future.”
Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HOLDINGS INC., said: “Asia is a key growth market and we believe Philippine Airlines is in an excellent operational position to capitalize on both the strong uptick in air traffic growth as well as the vibrant, expanding Philippine economy. We look forward to expanding our business relationship with Philippine Airlines so we can continue to serve our passengers even better.”
Industry analysts believe that the investment by ANA HD will be a boost for PAL, currently on a full-scale expansion program that has seen its fleet and network grow to almost 100 aircraft and 80 destinations in four continents from labor problems in the late 1990s. This, they say, also strengthens the chance that PAL will mount more direct flights to Japan from Philippine destinations such as Puerto Princesa and Davao, which has sizeable ethnic Japanese community.
Philippine Airlines currently operates 84 flights weekly on 9 routes to Japan and ANA operates 14 flights weekly on 2 routes to the Philippines . The two carriers have codeshare operations on Japan - Philippine routes and domestic routes within Japan and the Philippines, linking a total of 16 Japanese and 11 Philippine destinations.