Pasay City, Philippines-based Pacific Global One Aviation (PG1), the aviation arm of PLDT, has embarked on a major rebrand as it expects the global air charter business to take off in the next three years as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic plateaus.
“We are sending a clear message that the company is constantly evolving, striving for perfection and positioning itself ahead of the competition. We will be working on mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations with companies whose target market also aligns with PG1,” says general manager Arnold E. Picar.
Company president Leo A. Gonzales adds: “We have been getting a lot of inquiries, especially from corporations, on our air transport services. Companies are looking for a safer way to travel as the government gradually eases restrictions and opens up the economy.”
His update is validated by a report from global technology and market research firm Technavio, which states that the global air charter services market will grow by more than US$7 billion through 2024. The biggest driver will be the passenger segment, but there is set to be a growing demand for cargo services as well.
The report further says that, in a worst-case scenario, the impact of the pandemic is expected to normalise in the first quarter of 2022. The global health crisis has crippled air travel, hitting carriers and air taxi operators all over the world in 2020.
PG1 says it is the only aircraft charter company in the Philippines that utilises full-time two-pilot operations. On all flights, two aviators share the workload in the cockpit. This protects them from fatigue, allowing them to focus more on the mission, thus ensuring passengers’ safety. Efficiency means having three aircraft ready to service companies and individuals looking for a safer and more secure way of travelling that’s comfortable and tailored to their unique needs. Their layouts can be configured according to the clients’ requirements. PG1 only flies twin-engine aircraft, which n case of mechanical emergencies can fly safely with a single working engine. The air assets routinely undergo maintenance and checks by experienced mechanics who have been certified and rated to service the fleet. This guarantees aircraft reliability, ready to be deployed once needed.
The Pacific Global One Aviation hangar in Pasay City houses its fleet of two helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. Its Bell 429 can seat five passengers and can fly from Manila to as far as Laoag in the north or Cebu down south. The company's AgustaWestland AW139, a medium-sized helicopter that can carry eight passengers, can reach most destinations in Luzon and the Visayas from Metro Manila. The model is also popular among governments and private charter operators around the world. PG1 also operates a twin-engine turboprop, the King Air 350. The aircraft can accommodate eight passengers comfortably and can fly to all domestic points with airfields of at least a kilometre long. The aircraft can also ferry passengers to nearby Asian destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
When COVID-19 hampered commercial air travel and forced carriers to scale back operations, ground entire fleets and explore uncharted territories, PG1 used its assets to fly special missions, transporting essential personnel and cargo to critical areas.
In November, one of the company’s helicopters ferried engineers from Smart – a wireless communications company that like PG1 is part of the PLDT group – along with equipment to Catanduanes, after the island province was cut off from the rest of the country in the wake of Super Typhoon Rolly. The flight mission was crucial in helping Smart quickly repair downed sites and become the first network to restore mobile services in the province within a week. PG1 also flew healthcare personnel and medical supplies across the hospital network of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. all over the country to augment the workforce and replenish stocks in critical locations.
Aside from ferrying corporate clients and individuals with ultra high net worth, the company can also fly cargo, perform medical evacuations and lease out space at its hangar for clients who wish to park their own aircraft.