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Philippines welcomes PAL sale plan
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Jan 23, 2012

Manila has welcomed plans by tycoon Lucio Tan to sell loss-making flag carrier Philippine Airlines, with a presidential spokesman saying on Monday it will improve its image.

The comments come after Tan was reported by ABS-CBN news.com at the weekend as saying he wanted to offload PAL, Asia's oldest airline, "at the right price".

It said he was in talks with San Miguel Corp. chief Ramon Ang and Manuel Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co about a possible buyout, although it added that he had not decided how much he wanted.

In December, Ang confirmed that PAL was seeking San Miguel investment to help pay for a refleeting programme.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said: "We welcome the additional investment of whoever would like to buy PAL because it would mean additional investments to the country.

"Considering the PAL is our national brand, the additional investments would improve the branding of our national carrier," he added.

PAL's image, and that of the country, was battered in September after a wildcat strike over Tan's proposal to outsource thousands of jobs, which led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

The airline has also been hit by soaring fuel prices, political turmoil in the Middle East, the Japan earthquake-tsunami disaster and competition from low-cost local carriers.

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