PAL fuels global expansion dreams with orders of Airbus 350s
MANILA -Building on a momentum following its exit from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) purchased nine long-range jetliners from Airbus that it says will support an international expansion campaign.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Lucio Tan-led airline said it had inked a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the acquisition of A350-1000 units for a long haul fleet program that includes the United States East Coast and Canada.
The first unit is expected to be delivered by the fourth quarter of 2025, with the rest slated for receipt until 2027. Currently, the flag carrier operates two A350-900s servicing North America, Asia and Australia.
It also secured purchase rights on three additional aircraft of the same kind for future expansion plans.
A350-1000 is the newest and biggest unit in the A350 family of long-range jetliners. Its layout features separate business class, premium economy and economy class cabins.
In September 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, PAL filed for a bankruptcy protection before a US court. It returned four of six A350s, forcing it to stop some of its long haul routes.
It exited bankruptcy in December that same year, but supply chain problems and stiff competition from other airlines for planes prevented it from making a strong comeback.
PAL president and chief operating officer Stanley Ng said the A350-1000s would finally allow the company to operate nonstop trans-Pacific and transpolar routes, including New York and Toronto. It would also enable the carrier to revive direct flights to Europe.
“The A350-1000 combines greater range capability with the higher capacity we need to serve future demand. It’s the perfect aircraft to enable PAL to meet its expansion plans in a sustainable way, while offering passengers the highest levels of onboard comfort,” Ng said.
“Flying passengers farther and in greater comfort, the A350 brings a step-change in fuel efficiency and an immediate significant contribution to reduced emissions,” Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said.
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