Philippine Airlines Accepts Delivery of First A321

The Philippine Airlines massive fleet modernization program and expansion began on Wednesday as the airline took delivery of its very first Airbus A321-200 aircraft. The aircraft is just the first of sixty five new aircraft that Philippine Airlines will be accepting delivery of from now until 2019.

pal a321
Image Source: Airbus
Last year, Philippine Airlines placed a $9.5 billion order with Airbus for 45 single-aisle A321 aircraft and 20 wide-body long haul A330-300 aircraft. "The A321's arrival heralds a new, exciting era for PAL. It not only gives us size to fit our expansion plans but also the flexibility to match capacity to specific route requirements. This is a tremendous advantage for us," said Ramon Ang, COO of Philippine Airlines. "We are excited about the A321 not only because its size fits our expansion plans, but the flexibility it gives us in matching the aircraft to specific route requirements is tremendous." Ang added that the A321 will enable the airline to add capacity without compromising comfort, offering passengers the option of a full premium class and a range of value fares. "Our passengers will love this highly efficient aircraft, which features a tri-class cabin with unique amenities," Ang said.

The Philippine Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft is configured to accommodate 199 passengers in three classes that include Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy.

Business Class features 12 seats offering a comfortable 37 inch seat pitch in an ergonomic design providing more knee and leg room plus enhanced bottom support. The seats recline 120 degrees and feature six way adjustable head rests and an extending leg rest. Universal sockets and USB ports are provided for convenience.

The new Premium Economy service features 18 slim line seats with a 34 inch seat pitch. Four way adjustable head rests are provided in addition to under seat storage. Passengers travelling in Economy class will find 169 seats configured in the standard 30 inch seat pitch.

The new A321 aircraft is scheduled to be deployed on two major domestic routes from Manila to Cebu and from Manila to Davao. The aircraft will also alternate with the smaller A320 aircraft on various high-density Asian regional routes to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.

The twin-engined A321 is expected to gradually replace PAL's fleet of smaller A320 aircraft. The second A321 aircraft is due to be delivered on August 16, followed by the arrival of the airline's first new A330-300 HGW in the fourth week of September. The new High Gross Weight (HGW) variant of Airbus' A330-300 will add an additional 1,300 kilometres of range bringing the total range of the aircraft to approximately 10,200 kilometres. Philippine Airlines expects delivery of an additional twelve more aircraft from Airbus to be delivered within the next five months.

Philippine Airlines will anticipate delivery of seventeen aircraft in 2014, fifteen in 2015, ten in 2016, two in 2017, four in 2018, and four in 2019. The airline is still expected to place further orders for long-haul aircraft to accommodate its planned expansion into Europe and North America. Philippine Airlines originally announced that it planned to order up to 100 aircraft as part of its fleet modernization program. With sixty five aircraft ordered from Airbus, another 35 aircraft are expected to be ordered in the future.

The Airbus A321 is the largest member of Airbus' popular family of A320 single aisle aircraft. It provides the lowest seat mile costs of any single aisle aircraft and offers a wider cabin to enhance personal space with wider aisles and wider seats. "The addition of the A321 to the PAL fleet reflects a general move towards larger aircraft types in all the various size categories - including the single aisle market," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer for Customers. "PAL will gain from the additional seat count and unbeatable operating costs."
Meanwhile, Ismael Augusto Gozon, PAL Senior Vice President for Operations, indicated that the airline will be adding four A340-300 aircraft for deployment on new non-stop services to Europe scheduled for later this year. The airline is hoping to serve two European destinations by the end of 2013. Philippine Airlines is planning to serve London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, and Madrid. Gozon indicated that any two of those destinations would be served before the end of the year using Boeing 777-300ER and A340-300 aircraft. 
philippine airlines a321
Copyright Photo: Marco Dotti/


  1. Lucio Tan is still the CEO of PAL, Ramon Ang is The COO and President.

  2. I think that a premium economy is not necessary for such an airline, especially not on all flights of four hours or less, which includes all domestic market and flights to micronesia and many asian metropolis. A business class and an economy class which provides lots of space and room and a real good service will be sufficient and will make a distinguishable difference that the customers will notice. It is nice that PAL now offers all year flight offers in Business Class to all these asian destinations and on domestic flights as well.


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