Philippine Airlines Favours A350 to Replace A340 Fleet

Philippine Airlines has revealed that the Airbus A350 aircraft is the leading contender as the replacement for its ageing fleet of Airbus A340-300 aircraft. The news comes following the recent stop that was made by the A350 XWB in Manila last month as part of a global sales tour.

Image Source: Airbus
Philippine Airlines has been considering the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 as possible replacements for the A340 fleet, which currently range from thirteen to sixteen years of age. The Lucio Tan Group is currently in the process of completing a new widebody fleet program for Philippine Airlines that will likely see the A340 aircraft retired from the fleet in 2018.

In an interview with the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, Jaime Bautista, CEO of Philippine Airlines, stated that the national flag carrier is looking to acquire between four and six new-generation widebody aircraft. There are currently four ex-Iberia A340-300 aircraft remaining in the fleet under a lease agreement with Airbus.

According to Bautista, the new-generation widebody aircraft would be needed for delivery in 2017 and 2018. Although Philippine Airlines needs at least four to replace the entire fleet of A340 aircraft, acquiring six would provide an opportunity for PAL to expand its long-haul network to new cities in North America and Europe. In addition, it would have the option of boosting frequencies to any of its existing destinations, where demand is strong.

Philippine Airlines seems eager to increase its London route to daily service given the improved performance after the carrier was able to alter its arrival and departure times at London's Heathrow Airport. The new schedule enabled Philippine Airlines to enhance connectivity to the London flight.

If Los Angeles and San Francisco are eventually served exclusively by PAL's Boeing 777 fleet, London and New York will be the last remaining A340 routes. With the strong demand that Philippine Airlines has seen after restoring flights between Manila and New York in March, the carrier is eager to offer a non-stop product, as opposed to the service which currently operates via Vancouver.

The New York route may prove to be the deal breaker for Boeing and tip the scales towards Airbus. According to the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, Philippine Airlines does not believe that any variants of the Boeing 787 or its current fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft can operate the Manila to New York route non-stop without payload restrictions.


Philippine Airlines has revealed that the Airbus A350 aircraft is the leading contender as the replacement for its ageing fleet of Airbus A340-300 aircraft. The news comes following the recent stop that was made by the A350 XWB in Manila last month as part of a global sales tour.

The Boeing 777-X is a next generation ultra long-range aircraft that would serve the needs of Philippine Airlines. However, it will be too late for Philippine Airlines when it enters service sometime in 2020. Consequently, the A350-900 emerged as a leading contender after Airbus officials informed Philippine Airlines executives that the aircraft could operate non-stop between Manila and New York.

No announcements were made during the A350 tour in Manila. However, it is expected that officials from Philippine Airlines will discuss the A350 further with Airbus during the Paris Air Show, which is set to begin on June 15. It remains unknown if any announcements will be made.

30 comments:

  1. Can't wait for PAL to finally have this aircraft in it's fleet!

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  2. Good for PAL. The A350 is a good choice: similar size but more fuel efficient. Pero I would suggest that they get the 787 too in the medium-to-long term, to fill a different niche (launch long-thin routes like say Manila-Mumbai), while the A350 could be the A340 replacement and complement the 777s.

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    1. It's much more expensive to run multiple aircraft family times. Would be more prudent for PAL to keep things simple and keep to one or two long haul aircraft families.

      I would suggest they go for an all A350 fleet and ditch the B777x - especially if Airbus launch an A350-1100 competitor for the B777-9.

      That said, the B777x family are going to be good planes, so if they are happy with the extra training and maintenance, then two aircraft, but not three.

      The B787 is so uncomfortable for economy passengers with its 9 abreast seating at 17in wide. The A350 is much more comfortable thanks to its wider cabin.

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    2. I think these can be complied by A321neo/LR to serve these thin medium haul routes and A330 for the long haul routes which of now they are having an excess of it.

      - wEel^

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    3. The A350 cabin configs for go from 2-4-2 for Premium
      3-3-3 Standard and even
      2-4-3 High efficiency
      It is always up to the airline.....

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  3. A350-800 for long thin routes. A350-1000 for more seats.. XWBs much better than B787. Wider cabin width.

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    1. A350-800 is already axed in the program and is replaced by A330neo's so the former wouldn't be an option anymore. Previous orders of the said type was converted the later.

      -wEel^

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  4. why buy an a350 if your long haul fleet is already anchored on the 77W? I think it would be better for PAL to acquire more 77Ws for fleet commonality. For a long term plan, it would be logical for PAL to acquire the upcoming 777x.

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  5. A350 & B787 are made of composite materials. more fuel efficient than the B77Ws. The advantage of A350 over B787 is the fleet commonality of A350 and the A330s. Pilot training is also similar. and A350 is a little wider than B787.

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    1. The A350 does not have a composite fuselage but it does have more composites than the 330 or other airbus models. The same commnality exists betweenthe 777 and 787, and then you could use for the same flights just substitute based on the ticket sales....

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  6. I feel bad it's not Boeing.

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  7. Keep on talking, folks! It may not even be realized until 2018 so let us hope that PAL would still be operational by then! But keep the hope alive!

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  8. The big 3 airlines of USA also placed orders for A350, namely; United 35; Delta 25; and American Air 22......
    PAL does not even think twice if it has the money to buy it!
    Come on, everybody-----let's help PAL become profitable !

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  9. The 2 new B777-300ERs will free up the A340 SFO and LAX run and will increase JFK and LHR flights, just in time when the A350 arrive 3 years from now to replace the A340. With 4 to 6 A350's PAL can expand 1 to 2 US cities like ORD and SAN.

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  10. i hope that in the new plane, there will be power socket in individual seat so we can charge our ipads and iphone.

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  11. Power socket in individual seats(to charge our ipads and iphone - for IFE purposes), individual seat lights (for us to read books), and mainscreen IFE is enough to get the passengers entertained for 15 hours in the flight.

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  12. Imagine the fuel efficiency that PAL will be able to get from its non-IFE equipped A350s!

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    1. I think they were planning to include IFE again in the long-term, since LT said that they want PAL to become a world-class (not hybrid) carrier.

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  13. This is a sound decision if they will push through this direction. Since existing A340 pilots can just undergo 1 week training to transition for new type. Also, availability of A350-900 and range capability will be the key decision points here for the selection.

    -wEel^

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    1. it is only a 4 day transition from 777 to 787 as well. Also don't think the 350 has the range to make JFK with out serious penalties in the summer months. Similar situation with the 777's and even 787-900 but not near as severe as on the 350.

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  14. I just doubt if PAL would receive the A350s by 2017/18. There are several hundred orders ahead of PAL. Maybe they must exercise leasing modern fuel efficient aircraft to keep up with the need for expansion or the immediate fleet renewal.

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    1. Remember Emirates cancelled it's order of more than 80 A350s? Allot of slots opened up after that big order loss of Airbus.

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    2. So far, since this big loss of orders from Emirates, there has no been big orders coming in for A350..

      Since the cancellation from June 2014, only 29 aircraft's were ordered further that year with the bulk of it coming from Delta.

      As of the latest in Paris Air Show, 30 LOI was signed by Garuda and 1 firm order from Air Lease. I'm not pretty sure how these slots were assigned to Emirates but this will give us something like 20 (+/-) slots available just basing on the Emirates canceled orders. I'm hoping they could announce something just before the Paris Air Show ends.

      -wEel^

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  15. Of course, while waiting for the A350s to join the fleet later on.

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  16. It's a good thing that PAL decided to consider buying the Airbus A350XWB to replace the Airbus A340 for longer flight hours. What if consider buying the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 & Boeing 747-8 to replace the Boeing 747-400 fleet of PAL.

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    1. Not clear what your trying to state.... The problem I see with mixing the 777 with 350 is nearly the same passenger load....using a smaller 787 would add flexibility for ticket sales and still servive all long haul routes as well as be available for Aus and NZ....Same crew can aslo operate with minimal x train... More than likely though the only way out of the over abundance of A320's A330's and the Airbus leased 340's is to trade for 350 slots.... The 350 is expected to be good so we will see....

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    2. Where will you park your A380 if you buy it?

      If your seeing the trend and decision they are taking, is doing away with four-engined planes so that eliminates 747-8 of the equation.

      787-9 has the range vs A350 but the later has advantage in capacity. And they have plenty of under-utilized A330 that has the same capacity of 787. A330 might have not the range but PAL is not on the direction right now to add long haul thin routes just for the sake of adding it.

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    3. I think Pal will not make the order in the Paris Air show, I know they will, somewhere else, They shy out on Garudas's 30 unit order of the A350.

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