Taoke (Business)

Lucio Tan III: Heir apparent and the future of Philippine Airlines

Over the weekend, Philippine Airlines (PAL) officially announced its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and financial restructuring plan through a video thoroughly explaining why the flag carrier must undergo this measure. In the video, PAL’s top executives appear one by one baring the airline’s fiscal situation in public. 

After nine minutes of explaining what PAL has had to go through in the past year,  towards the end of the 11-minute video, PAL & PAL Holdings Inc. Director Lucio Tan III appears beside his grandfather, PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio Tan, to deliver a message of hope.

“I want to share with you the confidence of our shareholders in the future of this airline that holds a special place in the heart of every Filipino,” Tan III said. “Allow me to read this message from my grandfather, Dr. Lucio C. Tan, the chairman and CEO of Philippine Airlines.”

“We will complete the recovery of Philippine Airlines. We firmly support the management and employees of Philippine Airlines as they undergo the restructuring process. Together, we will deliver an airline with a reorganized balance sheet, a streamlined workforce, and a renewed sense of mission,” the younger Tan said, reading the statement of his grandfather. 

“It has always been the duty of Philippine Airlines to support jobs and livelihoods throughout our island country and to provide global connections that link the Philippine economy to key markets worldwide. In times of national crisis, we are here to serve the Filipino people,” he added. 

“Today, I give you this assurance: like the Philippine flag, we will continue to stand tall and strong, the national carrier and premier airline of the Philippines. Philippine Airlines will keep flying, now and long into the future. Thank you for your continued support and trust,” Tan III concluded. 

When the younger Tan finished the speech, the PAL chairman gave him an approving nod and a tap at the shoulder like a symbolic gesture that the future of the Philippine Airlines is in good hands with Lucio Tan III onboard. 

Lucio Tan III, the son of the late Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr., is currently the director of Philippine Airlines. He is also the President & COO of Tanduay since 2020. 

He has a strong background in engineering and technology, with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. He worked as a software engineer at Lyft in the Bay Area, San Francisco, before coming home to the Philippines to head Tanduay. 

During the restructuring process, PAL assures its passengers and employees that flights and other services will continue without interruption, “and it will honor all valid tickets, travel vouchers, refund applications, and Mabuhay Miles and benefits.”

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