Airphil Express

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Airphil Express
Founded February 13, 1995
Frequent-flyer program Mabuhay Miles
Airport lounge Mabuhay Lounge
Fleet size 22 (+15 orders)
Destinations 26
Parent company PAL Holdings, Inc.
Headquarters PNB Financial Center, Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Ave., CCP Complex, Pasay City, Philippines
Key people

Air Philippines Corporation, now operating as PAL Express (formerly Airphil Express, Air Philippines), is a low-cost airline based in Pasay City, in the Philippines. It operates both domestic and international scheduled services from Manila, Cebu, Davao City and Zamboanga. The airline was re-branded for a number of times, first as Air Philippines, then as PAL Express. Due to financial losses, Air Philippines ceased operations for a short while until it was acquired by investors from the Lucio Tan group. After the acquisition, the airline was re-launched as PAL Express, to operate some routes and slot assignments of its sister company Philippine Airlines until the management decided to re-brand the carrier as a budget airline now known as Airphil Express.

The new Airphil Express is Philippine Airlines' answer to Cebu Pacific Air's dominance on the low cost travel market in the Philippines which significantly shrunk its market share and relegated it to the no. 2 spot from its dominant no. 1 position since inception. It allowed PAL to focus on the premium market where it does not have competition in the domestic Philippine market. Airphil Express gained significant increase in passengers following its launch as a low-cost carrier competing head on with Cebu Pacific Air. The airline is currently on fleet acquisition mode[1] to support its planned domestic and international route expansion plan. Airphil Express currently holds the no. 3 position among Philippine-based airlines with 19% market share.[1]


Former logo of Air Philexpress
An Airphil Express Airbus A320 at Bacolod Airport
An Air Philippines B737-200 at Legazpi Airport, Albay.

Air Philippines was incorporated on 13 February 1995, with the base of operations being the former Naval Air Station Cubi Point. Flight operations started on 1 February 1996 with a Boeing 737-200 between Subic Bay, Iloilo and Zamboanga.

In 1996 six NAMC YS-11 and four Boeing 737-200 aircraft were acquired by the company. In 1997 an additional one Boeing 737-200 was acquired. In this same year the airline carried over 675,000 passengers and over 773,000 in 1998[citation needed]. In September 1998 the airline was temporarily grounded by the Philippine Air Transportation Office, but was reactivated when U-Land agreed to purchase a stake.

It was in 1999 when Lucio Tan Group took over management of the Company. In March 1999, Air Philippines was granted approval to operate international services to Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the USA.

In May 2001 two Boeing 737-300 aircraft were delivered. In mid-2002, charter flights were started from Subic Bay and Laoag City to Hong Kong. Passenger numbers carried rose to nearly 881,000 in 2002. In July 2004 charter flights started from Subic Bay to Guangzhou.[2]

Air Philippines significantly increased ties with Philippine Airlines (PAL), including the merging of frequent flier plans, timetables, and ticket sales. Air Philippines also recently moved into the PAL terminal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila). Some of PAL's major stockowners are also owners of Air Philippines.[citation needed] Though Air Philippines will officially cease to be part of the Philippine Airlines Frequent Flier Programme "Mabuhay Miles" as of the 1st of October, 2007.[3] Air Philippines has said that they chose to back out of the Mabuhay Miles program to benefit their passengers, so rather than flying numerous flights to gain miles and wait to a certain point to receive bonuses, passengers can benefit with lower fares and more discounts with quicker bonuses, much more like today's modern day low-cost airline.On October 28, 2012, Airphil Express will resume "Mabuhay Miles" for passenger to earn and redeem their miles on any Airphil Express and Philippine Airlines.

On July 24, 2008, it moved all its operations to terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

On August 31, 2009, Air Philippines ceased all operations and folded operations into Philippine Airlines and PAL Express.

On October 27, 2009, Air Philippines began operating all PAL Express flights on behalf of Philippine Airlines.

On March 28, 2010, Air Philippines resumed operating services under their own right to Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro, utilizing Airbus A320 jet aircraft under the name AirPhil Express.[4][5] The airline subsequently operated eight Bombardier Aerospace turboprop aircraft and two new Airbus A320s, all of which originally belong to Philippine Airlines. There are 20 more A320s on order[5]

GE Capital Aviation Services Limited (GECAS), the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of GE, announced delivery of three new Airbus A320 aircraft to Airphil Express in January and early February 2012 to help the carrier expand its fleet.[6]

March 15, 2013, all of its aircraft changed its livery to Philippine Airlines design and will be operated by PAL Express.[7]

Awards and Citations[edit]

Air Philippines boasts a number of regional and international airline awards. The airline has been recognized as the "Most Outstanding Domestic Airline" four times by the Consumers Union of the Philippines[8] and numerous other regional awards.


The airline currently operates its own aircraft to at least 28 destinations from its home in Manila. Its passenger network includes 32 cities in the Philippines. Additionally, the airline flies to major metropolitan cities of Hong Kong, and Singapore. The airline has a marketing codeshare agreement with its sister company Philippine Airlines to serve some destinations with its own aircraft. As of Feb. 21, 2013, Airphil Express terminated services to and from Clark.


Airphil Express Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Routes Notes
Airbus A320-200
Domestic/International 2 leased, transferred to PAL Express[5]
Bombardier Dash 8 Q300
transferred to PAL Express
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400
transferred to PAL Express


Airphil Express Retired Fleet
Aircraft Replaced by
Boeing 737-200 Airbus A320-200
Boeing 737-300 Airbus A320-200
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 Airbus A320-200
NAMC YS-11 Bombardier Q300
NAMC YS-11 Bombardier Q400

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b airphil express (2011-06-14). "EXPRESSions on air: Airphil Express now fastest growing carrier, grabs 19% market share". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Air Philippines History". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  3. ^ "Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles tie-up to be suspended". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Philippine Skies Welcome Air Philippine's Airbus 320 on March 2010". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  5. ^ a b c "Airphil Express gets ready for its first new Airbus A320". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "GE Capital Aviation Services Delivers Three New Airbus A320s to Airphil Express". 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  7. ^ Airphil Express rebrands as PAL Express[dead link]
  8. ^ "Air Philippines About-us Page". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  9. ^ Accident description, Aviation Safety Network, June 24, 1996, retrieved 2008-06-01 
  10. ^ Air disasters timeline, BBC, November 30, 2007, retrieved 2008-06-01 
  11. ^ Accident description, Aviation Safety Network, April 19, 2000, archived from the original on 5 June 2008, retrieved 2008-06-01 
  12. ^ "Incident: Airphil Express A320 at Kalibo on Feb 13th 2012, overran runway". The Aviation Herald. February 16, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Air Philippines flight to Tawi-Tawi aborted due to smoke from engine | Inquirer News". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 

External links[edit]