Philippine Airlines on Monday named Stanley Ng, a pilot and the son-in-law of the company’s tycoon owner Lucio Tan, as its acting president and chief operating officer.
The 42-year-old will replace Gilbert Santa Maria, who steered the carrier during the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent Chapter 11 bankruptcy process in the US.
Stanley Ng, husband of Lucio Tan’s daughter Lilybeth and an Airbus A320 commander, will be the first pilot to assume presidency in the airline since the early 1960s.
He started in the company’s ground staff in 2003, began flying as second officer in 2008 and was the airline’s senior vice president for operations until his most recent assignment.
Local news cited sources saying that the airline is still looking for a president to steer its operations, with financial analysts describing the ‘OIC’ appointment as a lackluster move in the eyes of investors, especially since PAL just exited bankruptcy.
Ng’s appointment will see the replacement of Gilbert Santa Maria, who led the company during a critical time in the airline’s history. As part of its ‘recovery plan’, first approved by the US courts in December when Santa Maria was still president, the airline was able to shave off over $2 billion in debt and gain access to $505 million in equity and debt financing from its major shareholder.
In a statement at the end of 2021, the national carrier said it will ‘tap more air cargo market opportunities’ through its new cargo unit, including the operation of all-cargo flights to transport vaccines and medical equipment.
New airline president Ng’s tenure covers a period of six months or until a new president is identified, elected and qualified, a company press release stated.