A pilot is the new PAL president and chief operating officer


Capt. Stanley Ng | Photo courtesy of Philippine Airlines

NEW YORK – Following the recent completion of PAL’s Chapter 11 restructuring, the Philippine Air Lines (PAL), the nation’s flag carrier, has named its new president and chief operating officer (COO) to succeed Gilbert Santa Maria.

PAL has appointed Capt. Stanley Ng, an Airbus A320 commander and the first pilot to assume the presidency of PAL since the early 1960s, PAL announced on Jan. 31 after days of speculation in the industry. PAL said that Ng has extensive experience in flight operations and will bring a renewed emphasis on the airline’s efficiency and safety culture.

The appointment of the 42-year-old Ng is the latest top executive to assume the post after a series of leadership changes. Before Santa Maria’s term, in July 2019, Lucio Tan, PAL’s chairman of the board, and his daughter, Vivienne, took charge after the retirement of Jaime Bautista, PAL’s longtime president, and Tan associate.

It was reported that Santa Maria was leaving his post after helping steer PAL into and out of its Chapter 11 restructuring last year. He had been president for two and half years.

“The former President and COO will continue to make himself available to assist in the leadership transition over the next few weeks,” PAL said.

The revamp comes at a crucial and challenging time for PAL. After exiting the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the carrier still needs to make sure it can recover from a pandemic-led slump. Part of this goal is to raise more funds to bankroll its post-restructuring needs.

Ng is taking over a leaner airline after the bankruptcy process that saw US$2 billion of its liabilities forgiven, 25 percent of its fleet cut, and roughly a third of its workforce slashed. But Ng inherits the daunting mission of reviving PAL, which had been struggling with losses even before the pandemic.

Before Ng’s appointment, he was senior vice president (SVP) for Airline Operations. He started as on-ground staff in 2003 before training at the PAL Aviation School. In 2008, he started flying as a second officer and rose the ranks until his promotion to SVP in 2019. He also trained at the Airbus Training Center in Toulouse, France, and recently completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Ng, a graduate of the De La Salle-St. Benilde, has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Computer Applications. He is the husband of Tan’s daughter, Lilybeth, assistant vice president for Pilot Affairs.

“The board expressed full trust and confidence in Capt. Ng, as well as in its senior management team which remains intact, as the nation’s flag carrier looks to maintain the momentum toward full recovery,” the company said in a statement.

–With Ricky Rillera

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