Philippine Airlines Extends Service Life of Boeing 747

Philippine Airlines has decided to extend the run of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. According to, the jumbo jet’s final flight to San Francisco will now take place on August 31, two months later than the originally planned date of June 30. 

philippine airlines 747
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
In spite of the 747's delayed retirement, the Boeing 777-300ER will still increase its presence on the Manila-San Francisco route starting July 1. The airline plans to increase the deployment of the Boeing 777 to San Francisco from two to four flights weekly. Boeing 777 flights to San Francisco will be operated every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, while the Boeing 747 aircraft will continue to operate the Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday flights. On September 1, the Boeing 777 will take over the Manila-San Francisco route full-time.

It remains unclear why Philippine Airlines decided to extend the service life of the Boeing 747 after recently staging a retirement ceremony. However, it is believed that the airline is timing the retirement of the 747 with the end of the summer season in the northern hemisphere, which lasts through August. Summer is usually a peak travel season, which means demand for air travel is very high. That represents a busy time for Filipinos living in the US returning to visit relatives back home.

Philippine Airlines formally retired its 747 fleet on May 12 at a ceremony held at Villamor Airbase. It was attended by senior PAL and Boeing officials. The ceremony also saw the crowning of the 777 as PAL’s new flagship aircraft. Despite the retirement ceremony, two out of the original five jumbo jets in the PAL fleet, RP-C7471 and RP-C7473, still remain in active service.

PAL ordered the Boeing 777 aircraft in 2006 with the hopes of reducing fuel and maintenance costs, particularly on flights to the United States. But this was only realized after the United States Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the country’s aviation safety status to Category 1 on April 10 after more than six years under the restrictive Category 2 status. The PR102/103 flight between Manila and Los Angeles is already operated daily by the Boeing 777. At present, this aircraft also serves flights to Vancouver, Toronto and London. Philippine Airlines currently has a total of six Boeing 777 aircraft in the fleet.



  1. It begins to look that PAL has been kind of bad at planning ahead for matters in North America.

    1. I don't think they actually expected to get Category 1 so soon, so they weren't able to order more aircraft. But they're now planning to get more so this might just be a temporary setback.

    2. PAL order a number of A330 but they did not realize what they need is B777 in short term. They really need to order or lease more B777 now. PAL cannot wait for next generation of A350 or B777X for their current operation and planned expansion in North America.

  2. Because almost every public announcement by PAL seems to be premature and not fully thought through. it does not inspire confidence at all...

  3. It would had been very risky for PAL to order more B777-300ERs when there was no certainty of regaining Category 1. RSA was quoted that if Category 1 would not be regained PAL will lease out its B777s as its fall back position. Now they can acquire additional B77-300ERs (maybe 4 as also reported) for short term with B777-9x and/or A350 examples for long term expansion.


Powered by Blogger.