Philippine Airlines' president and chief operating officer, Jaime Bautista

President and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines, Jaime Bautista. Image: Salva Mendez

In February 2019, Philippine Airlines took delivery of its fifth A350-900 aircraft emblazoned with a kiss mark and the title, “The Love Bus.” The special logo is a replica of the one featured on its first Airbus aircraft, an A300 which was delivered 40 years ago in 1979. But it also signifies the carrier’s mission to make its passengers happy – something that has been a central focus for Philippine Airlines since 2016.

President of Philippine Airlines Jaime Bautista is vocal about the ultimate goal of the carrier’s ongoing transformation program – to obtain a five-star quality service rating. The approach to achieving this objective is multi-faceted, as he explained to Maryann Simson, director of APEX Media, during a video interview at APEX Asia in Shanghai this week.

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One such approach is to adopt the Amadeus Altea passenger service system to enable faster and more convenient reservations, ticketing, check-in and boarding. The implementation of the service is scheduled to take place on March 23 and 24.

Inside the aircraft cabin, Philippine Airlines recently revealed a new premium economy offering, which provides international travelers – flying on its tri-class A350 or A330 aircraft – with a 38-inch pitch and 13.3-inch seatback screens, as well as limited complimentary access to in-flight Wi-Fi.

Like international passengers, those traveling on domestic flights in premium economy on the carrier’s Q400NG, Airbus A321 Classic and A330 bi-Class aircraft will receive priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling services at the airport, in addition to welcome drinks and refreshing hot towels in flight.

The perception of Philippine Airlines’ customer service has also seen a boost thanks to cabin crew going above and beyond, with the story of Patrisha Organo, a flight attendant who breastfed a baby after its mother ran out of formula milk, going viral online.

The airline’s transformation isn’t going unnoticed. In November 2018, Philippine Airlines received the “Most Improved Airline for 2019” award from Australia-based airline review firm AirlineRatings.com. The news came just one month after the carrier received Four Star Major Regional Airline status as part of the Official Airline Ratings announced at APEX EXPO in Boston and, before that, won the award for “Second Most Improved Airline” at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

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“We see to it that our best practices are in sync with the best practices in the industry,” commented Bautista. In light of Philippine Airlines’ commitment to improving the passenger experience, it was announced at APEX Asia that Bautista is to become a member of the 2019-2020 APEX/IFSA Board of Governors.