FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) said on Wednesday that it is adding more domestic and international flights this month and is on track to get back to the number of domestic flights it had before the pandemic.

“We are on track to full restoration of pre-pandemic domestic flights. As to the full restoration of international flights, this will depend on the reopening of specific markets. So potentially, we should be back to 2019 levels — except for China market — by end of the year,” PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna told BusinessWorld in a phone message.

On PAL’s flights in the first three months of the year, she said, “It was a slow and gradual increase as far as regular commercial flights are concerned.”

“But domestic and international repatriation flights, bayanihan flights, vaccine cargo flights, all cargo charters never stopped.”

The airline saw “revenge travel” kick in by March, the start of the summer season.

PAL reached 40% of pre-pandemic daily frequencies in the fourth quarter of 2021, Ms. Villaluna noted.

She said prior to the pandemic, PAL was operating an average of 300 flight legs daily or domestic and international inbound and outbound flights daily.

“Today, we have restored 80% of our pre-pandemic number of domestic flights and 60% of our pre-pandemic number of international flights. To be specific, 80% of our average 170 domestic flight legs daily and 60% of our average 130 international flight legs daily.”

“We will be increasing flights progressively as travel restrictions further ease. We look forward to reverting back to pre-pandemic levels in due time. Safety remains our top priority,” she added.

PAL Holdings, Inc., the listed operator of PAL, recorded a net income of P60.6 billion last year, turning around from a loss of P73.1 billion in 2020, primarily due to an increase in “other income” attributable to gain from debt settlement and condonation.

Its revenues for 2021 reached P58.7 billion, 6.2% higher than the P55.3 billion in 2020.

In April, PAL and the Singapore Tourism Board announced a partnership to encourage more Filipinos to visit Singapore.

PAL Holdings shares closed 1.61% lower at P6.10 apiece on Wednesday. — Arjay L. Balinbin