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Back in black, Philippine Airlines sees hard times
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) July 22, 2011

Philippine Airlines said Friday it swung back into profit in the past fiscal year as it overcame the troubles of the global financial crisis.

However, it warned of turbulence ahead, citing surging oil prices, a gradual slowdown in passenger traffic and crises around the world as key concerns.

PAL said in a statement that net profit hit $72.5 million in the 12 months to March, a huge improvement on the $14.4 million loss in its previous fiscal year.

It added that revenues for the year soared 23 percent to $1.67 billion.

Passenger and cargo traffic grew 12.4 percent and 41.8 percent respectively as the industry rebounded from the global slump, while rising passenger yields accompanied the growth in traffic volume.

However, expenses surged 19 percent to $1.61 billion.

Looking ahead it added: "Fuel price volatility, the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa... pose a serious threat to the flag carrier's fragile bottom line."

Jet fuel, the biggest item, rose 29.9 percent to $142 million as prices soared above $100 per barrel, and they have continued to rise since then.

PAL also said it had since seen a gradual slowdown in traffic demand, especially for leisure travellers.

PAL flies to six US cities and territories, 17 Asian destinations and five Middle East airports, and two Australian cities apart from its domestic service.

The carrier's listed parent PAL Holdings saw its shares fall 1.85 percent to 5.30 pesos Friday.

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