Philippine Airlines Cancels Order for Five Airbus A330, Adds More A321

Philippine Airlines has cancelled an order for five Airbus A330-300 aircraft that was part of a multi-billion dollar order announced in 2012 involving the acquisition of 64 new aircraft from Airbus.

pal a330-300
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
In August 2012, Philippine Airlines announced an order for 34 A321ceo aircraft, 10 A321neo aircraft, and 10 A330-300 aircraft. The following month the airline announced an order for an additional 10 A330 wide-body aircraft. 

The partial cancellation of the Philippine Airlines' order last month was not welcome news for Airbus which fell behind Boeing in orders for the first quarter of 2014. Airbus recorded 158 orders in the quarter but received 55 cancellations. Meanwhile, Boeing managed to net 234 orders in the first quarter thanks to a significant order from Air Canada for 61 narrow-body jets. 

Although Airbus recorded cancellations last month from Philippine Airlines, it compensated for the loss with a new order from PAL for 8 A321neo aircraft. This is in addition to the existing order for 10 A321neo aircraft placed in August 2012.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Philippine Airlines was forced to cancel a portion of its massive order from Airbus due to range limitations of the Airbus A330. The aircraft were planned to be used on European routes but an inability to come to an agreement with Russian authorities over the use of Siberian air space put the aircraft out of range on routes between Europe and the Philippines. 

Modern A330 aircraft do have the ability to connect the Philippines and Europe but only when routes are flown over Russian air space which is a considerably shorter distance. At present, the longer route being used by Philippine Airlines to fly to London takes approximately 2 hours longer than a route over Russian air space. It is believed that Philippine Airlines will use a similar route through Thailand, India, and Iran when it launches flights to other European cities later this year.

Philippine Airlines will now need to consider an order for a longer range wide-body aircraft in order to support further expansion in Europe over the long-term. Although the airline is currently leasing four-engined A340-300 aircraft that can fulfil the expansion requirements, these aircraft are fuel inefficient and costly to maintain in comparison to their modern counterparts. 

Industry rumours suggest that the airline is considering placing an order for the Airbus A350-900 that offers a similar range to PAL's current fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft but has lower passenger capacity and is more fuel efficient. At least for now, the remaining PAL orders for A330-300 aircraft remain unaffected and are scheduled for delivery at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines will be introducing a number of changes to its 2014 international summer schedule including adjustments on the following routes:

  • Manila-Bangkok: A320 flights upgraded to A321 (August 2014)
  • Manila-Beijing: Service cut to 4 weekly flights from 8 (March 2014)
  • Manila-Riyadh: 4 flights weekly instead of 5 (April 2014)
  • Manila-Seoul: One flight downgraded from A330 to A320 (March 2014)
  • Manila-Shanghai: Flights now operated exclusively by A320 (April 2014)
  • Manila-Narita: Boeing 777 flight replaced with A330 (March 2014)
  • Kalibo-Seoul: Increases to twice daily flights (March 2014)
  • Cebu-Narita: Both daily flights now operated by A321 (March 2014)
  • Manila-Dubai: Service increases from 5 to 6 weekly flights (April 2014)
  • Manila-Fukuoka: Increases from 5 to 7 weekly flights (April 2014)
  • Manila-Kuala Lumpur: All four weekly flights cancelled (March 2014)
  • Manila-Nagoya: Service increases from 1 to 2 flights daily (April 2014)
  • Manila-Osaka: Service increases from 1 to 2 flights daily (April 2014)
  • Manila-Tokyo Haneda: New route with two daily flights (April 2014)
  • Kalibo-Busan: 2 flights weekly increases to 4 in July. (April 2014)


  1. At least the airline is improving. Ang has dramatically improved the Philippine Airlines since he took over the position and it is just getting better. Hopefully the flight network PAL expands and become better competitive in the business.

  2. What mr. Ang is doing for pal is like taking your meds. It will take some time to work, but in the end it will. In a couple of months the riding public and the ciuntry will reap the benefits implemented by pal thru the initiative of mr. Ang!

  3. When does PAL plan to begin flying to Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam?

  4. PAL has to shrink first before growing. And RSA saw that too late and instead ordered a multi-billion Airbus order. Now he is stuck with this order and without FAA cat 2 upgrade and losses in all other long haul flight. And worst he has no place to park all these aircraft. PAL already parks aircraft overnight in CEB.

  5. Would like to see if PAL can get 787-9 and/or 777-8X/9X. That is they can afford it. Also, focusing on routes which are profitable and not just for convenience; might need to join an alliance or more code share routes. Also, what about getting a whole new airport built. Last time I was at Manila International Airport, it was quite dreadful compared to the rest of the worlds best airports. I heard PAL wanted to build a new airport.

    1. Apparently ANA is interested in a strategic partnership with PAL. If it comes into fruition PAL could end up joining *A. I think they tried to apply for oneworld a few years ago, I don't know why they were rejected.

    2. ANA and PAL partnership could be really great. ANA could benefit PAL's Australian+South East Asian Routes and PAL could benifit Japan's routes. 2020 Olympics is also held in tokyo.

  6. that would be the 777-300

  7. Their real problem is that A-350 and 787 production slots are not avalable until 2020. They should have ordered the more efficient and loger ranged planes 5 years ago. The ideal replacement for the cancelled A-330's would actually be the 787-10 which has 15 more seats, much lower fuel costs, and has the range to fly around Russia. The 777 can fly the distance but all those extra seats will have to be filled or the extra trip costs will eat them alive. The A-340's are available and cheap until you start paying for all that exta fuel.

  8. I am happy to see some improvements in the operations of PAL. Thanks to Mr. Ang. Airline rankings improved also from 102 in 2012 to 90 in 2013


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