FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is launching new routes to Cambodia, Vietnam and India by the summer of this year, while planning to launch more flights to the US and making its debut in Israel.

PAL president Jaime Bautista in a Tuesday press conference said the airline was ramping up operations in the country and overseas and it was planning to use new planes as global oil prices fell lower from recent highs.

A bigger international footprint would also make PAL more attractive to global strategic investors. Bautista said they hoped to close a deal with such an investor within the first half of this year, although he declined to give further details.

The briefing on Tuesday was held to announce PAL’s flights from Manila to Phnom Penh and Hanoi, which would be launched on March 31 this year, and to New Delhi, which would be launched by April.

“We will leverage Manila’s excellent geographical location as an ideal stopover point for people flying to Southeast and South Asia from the East and West Coasts of North America,” Bautista said.

“Vietnam and Cambodia are emerging markets and economic centres that need connections to the rest of the world. We are excited to introduce their excellent tourist attractions to more and more Western travellers, including Filipino Americans,” he added.

He said PAL would also launch flights to Tel Aviv once they secure rights to use airspace over Saudi Arabia. PAL could also launch an additional route to the US, with cities such as Seattle, Chicago and Houston under consideration.

PAL currently operates 43 weekly flights nonstop from six North American destinations – New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, Honolulu and Vancouver.

Its Manila-Delhi route would be the first since PAL suspended operations in 2013.

“India is the air travel growth market of the future and a new economic power, so our link to Delhi improves the Philippines’ connectivity with the global economy,” he said. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN