PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) is committed to maintaining its Manila-London flights, and expanding its services to United States, despite a recommendation from an aviation think tank to abandon its long-haul routes.

In a statement Thursday, the flag carrier said it is holding on to its long-haul routes and is exploring possibilities to mount more direct flights to United States.

“While there is market clamor for the opening of new routes to the US and Europe and these are under review, PAL remains focused on implementing a well-calibrated program centered on network expansion, fleet modernization and service innovation,” the airline said.

Last month, Australia-based Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) released a report saying PAL is better off dropping its expansion plans to North America and ending its flights to London as these are low-yielding operations.

“PAL has slipped into the red in the past two years, due mainly to losses in the long haul segment… Suspending London and shelving the launch of new US destinations is a sensible initial move by PAL as it tries to restore profitability,” it said then.

PAL currently operates 57 weekly long-haul flights to North America through gateways in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Vancouver, Honolulu and Toronto. It also flies five times weekly to London Heathrow airport.

“The flag carrier’s non-stop US-Manila flights remain highly popular for business and leisure travelers and Filipino balikbayans,” PAL said.

It added there is improved passenger load on its London route due to “more aggressive marketing campaign in the U.K. — Denise A. Valdez