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Pilot elected as PAL president, a first since the 1960s

Aviation Updates Philippines – Philippine Airlines announced on Monday the appointment of Capt. Stanley K. Ng as the new acting President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the flag carrier, replacing Gilbert Santa Maria.

Photo from Philippine Airlines

“The appointment was made after the end of Gilbert F. Santa Maria’s engagement as President and COO following the recent successful completion of the Chapter 11 restructuring,” PAL said in a press release. 

The management thanked Santa Maria’s contribution as the airline’s chief for more than two years. The former president directed the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic, deemed as its most challenging year in existence. He was instrumental in keeping the travel and tourism industry going amid tightening restrictions back then.

PAL said Santa Maria would “make himself available” over the next few weeks to oversee the leadership transition.

Capt. Ng, his replacement, has been the Senior Vice President for Operations at PAL since February 2019. He also had experience as the Chief Pilot and Chief Instructor for Airbus Narrowbody, First Officer of the Airbus Widebody.

“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.

Since the 1960s, Ng’s appointment means that he becomes the first pilot to assume the presidency for the first time. Rising through the ranks, he first started at PAL as an on-ground staff in 2003 before beginning training at the PAL Aviation School, and eventually became Second Officer of the Boeing 747 fleet in 2006.

Ng completed an Advance Management Program at the Harvard Business School and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Computer Applications at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

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