Philippine Airlines Orders Six Airbus A350-900

On the heels of the Singapore Airshow, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has finally placed an order for six Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The deal, which is valued at $1.85 billion, ends months of speculation as to whether the national flag carrier would purchase Boeing or Airbus aircraft. The first A350-900 aircraft will be delivered to Philippine Airlines in 2018.

pal a350-900
Mock up of Philippine Airlines A350
Copyright photo: Airbus
Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier was elated by the Philippine flag carrier's decision to select Airbus aircraft over rival manufacturer Boeing. He reiterated that the A350 combines extra long-range capability and the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in the twin-aisle category. Moreover, he touted the A350's capabilities to bring superior passenger comfort and enhanced personal space for everyone on board.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista shared similar sentiments. He stated that Airbus' next generation long-haul aircraft came out on top in terms of meeting the flag carrier's operating requirements after a thorough technical and commercial evaluation. Moreover, it provides more efficiency and greater passenger comfort, according to Bautista.

Bautista also highlighted that the A350 now enables the carrier to operate a non-stop flight between Manila and New York. It has been no secret that Philippine Airlines has long been considering a possible non-stop flight to New York. However, any possible non-stop service will require regulatory approvals as it involves flying over the north pole. Philippine Airlines currently operates a Manila-New York flight with a stopover in Vancouver.

The new aircraft will feature three classes. However, it remains unclear whether Philippine Airlines will reintroduce a first-class product. As Philippine Airlines seeks to become a five-star carrier, it can be expected that the carrier will be introducing new on-board cabin products as the A350 gets introduced into the fleet.

The A350 is the replacement aircraft for the ageing Airbus A340-300 aircraft, which currently operates selected flights to the United States and London on behalf of Philippine Airlines. The A340-300 will also be deployed on the upcoming Cebu-Los Angeles flights.

According to the Airbus press release, Philippine Airlines intends to use the A350 on services to the west coast of the United States and on new routes to Europe. In addition to the six firm orders, PAL also has an option to purchase up to six more aircraft. Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines also signed a separate deal with Rolls Royce for Trent XWB engines. These are expected to power the A350 aircraft in a deal valued at $650 million.

The announcement puts to rest months of speculation. Reports previously surfaced from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation indicating the flag carrier's intention to order the A350. However, Philippine Airlines denied the report at the time, asserting that they were still considering the Boeing 787.

56 comments:

  1. Great news for Philippine aviation, future aspiring pilots like me and plane spotters!

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  2. wow at last may update na rin

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  3. JJB has selected the A359-XWB! It will be interesting to see what configuration in Y class they ordered. 3-3-3 is standard but Airbus also offers 3-4-3 in Y class, so with the extra wide body I would guess the Y layout will be 3-4-3 but we will have to wait for confirmation.

    Anyone know if they ordered the A359-ULR version?

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    1. 10-abreast layout has the same seat width as with the current 9-abreast a330s. If they wanted to be a five-star airline, just stick to the standard A350 9-abreast configuration.

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    2. They ordered the HWG ( High Gross Weight) versiom.

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    3. I bet PAL will configure its A350 aircrafts with 3-4-3- Yconomy class seating like its previous 747s (normal), 777s (sardinas) and this future A350! Pinoy "virtue" - tubo or profit agad!

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    4. I think and I hope it will be 9-abreast in economy seats. Mr. Jaime Bautista is going to reverse San Miguel's previous plans as he is about to reconfigure PAL's Airbus A330-300.

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  4. Is it just coincidence or what but, I have been searching on PAL.com the last couple of days for a few flights, and today after the announcement those same flights have all gone up considerably in price!

    Looks like I'm going to book those flights on CX.

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    1. My goodness, nobody's forcing you to book PR. For sure you can't afford it

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    2. Who cares??? Its Not Our Business if you can't Afford PR flight..Everybody here is interested about Pal's new A350-900.and not your ability to purchased PR Flight.

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    3. I can afford the tickets, I just refuse to be over charged.

      I can book CX or KE with a stop in HK or ICN for $500USD less per ticket for the same dates, and the CX and KE flights are filled with other kapamilya who also choose to save big $$$

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    4. So what???? Go to Pal's website and complain then.....!!

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    5. I'm not complaining, just stating facts. PAL can charge whatever they want, but PAL's International load factor is decreasing as a direct result of offering elevated fares.

      It's a well know fact that PAL has more expensive fares on N.American routes to help offset routes within Asia and to the Middle East where increased competition from LCC has kept fares low and PAL operates those flights at a loss.

      I travel with my wife and children, so saving $500USD per PAX is the right choice for me. If PAL were to charge a more reasonable fare I would consider booking a direct flight with PAL.

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    6. Well for me if you want faster time travel non stop or less stopover especially in longhaul flights in north america pal is a litte bit expensive compare with other airline companies but you should deal with long lay stopover,for a family man like you travelling with your family $500 is a lot of money to save.

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    7. My Korean coworker also complains that when he flies directly from LAX to Seoul with no layover the price is also very expensive. Must be a direct flight kinda thing and seems not unique to PAL. My flight to Manila from LA was around $700 but if I was going to Seoul on that same flight was around $1200.

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    8. That's $500USD per passenger! So for my family of four to travel to the RP that's a $2000USD saving if I book on Cathay Pacific with a 2hr connection time in HK.

      Saving $2000USD, flying on B777, with great service and I can avoid NAIA and fly direct into CEBU.

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    9. It is very true. Airline fares vary by consolidators, travel agents, bucket shops. Try Mango Tours and you will get a quote more than half of the price from travel sites like Priceline, Expedia, Justfly, etc. Try it! My nephew just got screwed by Mango, wasting precious vacation time, increasing dangerous blood pressure "barking" with an antagonizing agent unwilling to help because he cancelled a booking without reason one night before flight, etc. Wow, wow, wow! Learn your lessons kabayans!

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    10. Maybe Mangosteen Tours is much better. Or you can try Apple, Grapes;or Dragon Fruit Travel tours ..Lol

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  5. What's new? This has been news for months. Anyway, still happy the upgrade was official.

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  6. I hope they change their livery. Its about time.

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    1. I actually like the PAL livery, simple and clean. What PAL needs to consider updating, is the cabin interior color scheme

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    2. It's not really a big deal, maiiba lang. Look at 5Js new livery, a breath of fresh air.

      The cabin interior looks boring, saka lagging isang color lang. Ibahin non nila

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    3. Definitely 100% agree with about cabin interior..it should be changed ..walamg ka buhay buhay ang kulay.

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    4. Comfort, safety, legroom, decent Y food; aesthetics for most people is secondary. Only classy first class passengers should talk about livery, lighting, ambiance, etc. Pa-class class ka pa Juan e Y class ka lang naman!!! LOL.

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    5. Hahahaha true...andaming pretending dito hahaha...pa business class at first class ang drama yon pla..y class at economy lang ang kaya...worst,naghintay pa ng promo.

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    6. And both Eva Air and China Airlines of Taiwan just continue to upstage other Southeast Asian carriers (including PAL, of course)as they bring in more new aircrafts and "haul" countless Pinoys and other Asians to Americas, Europe, Middle East, Australia, etc. I would not be surprised when Eva Air very soon flies nonstop Taipei to Las Vegas (my town) hauling all Pinoys here because it is now a 4-star airline: Y class is superb, ample food and non-stop drinks from industrious crews. I love the guyabano and zapote juices. Why PAL crews cannot match these Chinese "merchants" is beyond my explanation! A Spanish-inherited attitude maybe? Or maybe not? I need explanation from PAL....

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    7. Beware, China Airlines uses B-747s on their Taipei to Manila route logically telling us that it can fly multitudes of Pinoys around the inhabited parts of this planet! Good for China Air and Eva Air! (Me not a Chinese citizen, I am sure!)

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  7. What the press releases don't mention is PAL went for Airbus because the planes can be delivered earlier, since there isn't much of a backlog for A350s. Airbus sold only a handful of these planes in 2015. The 787 backlog stretches to 2019-20. Also, Airbus is famous for sacrificing its bottom line by giving steep discounts and easier terms to win plane orders.

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    1. Does this mean that if they pick a initial date for 2018, the date may move forward?

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    2. 2018 is the earliest possible time for PAL to get the Airbus planes. But if PAL went with the 787, it would take longer for Boeing to deliver the planes because of its bigger backlog.

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    3. So this will be an almost three-year wait. The main wildcard will be whether the CAAP can maintain ICAO standards at that time. It will be nerve-wracking to see that.

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    4. By then, outdated na naman and PAL! Ano ba iyan, inday?

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  8. This is very interesting spec by pal according to a frirnd of mine working at Airbus the new A350 WXB have a front,tail and belly camera..with special navigational instrunents and capacity to travel the polar route region...this indeed amazing.

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    1. Mr. Bautista is indeed serious about making Pal a 5 star airline in 5years time.Good Luck Pal looking forward for your new polar route in 2018 flying non stop mnl-jfk, mnl-yyz, and new north american destination.

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  9. PAL is only the second airline (behind Singapore Airlines) to order this type the ultra long haul version, A359-URL.

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  10. I highly doubt it's ULR, cos at the airshow it says A350-900...

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    1. Airbus brought the A350-900 XWB test plane to the Singapore airshow and it's not the same model PAL ordered.

      PAL ordered 6 A350-900 HGW, which is modified to store more fuel for increased range and some structural changes for the higher MTOW specs.

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    2. Pal's new A350HWG version is also designed to travel over polar route area (arctic/north pole) to shorten longhaul flight time over new york/toronto and other new us destinations.and already applied permits to fly polar route area over Russia,USA,and Canada.

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    3. The 350HGW they selected with 305 seats will NOT allow for any cargo when returning from JFK...The only way they will make it is lower the seat count but then it wont make money....

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  11. I hope the FAs change their attitude as well. Last year my family (with 2 kids) went to SFO via PR J Class. When I asked for the junior setter activity kit for my kids, the FA said "we ran out of stock." No apologies whatsoever. So I roamed around the cabin and counted 3 kids (1 infant included). You mean they only had 2 kits?

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    Replies
    1. The flight crews on PAL keep things like the childrens activity kits, J class toiletry kits and the off menu special snacks for their friends and relatives and other PAL employees who are on the flight.

      Passengers who paid for full priced tickets get what's left over

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    2. Nice to know about this from people like you who works with pal or with other airline company and telling us how they keep things ..how do you know? Might you involved as well.:-) Peace!

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    3. I'm not a PAL employee, I'm a frequent flier with over 25 RT Canada-MNL flights on PAL since 09. So I learned a lot about the way PAL works just by watching and talking to hundreds of FA's and ground staff.

      Things like, PAL often overbooks economy class on the MNL-YYZ route, which means typically those travellers who have Elite or Premiere Elite status usually are the passengers who get upgraded to J class. Well that used to be the case but PAL now only upgrades those passengers who are getting off at in YVR.

      I look forward to the day when PAL takes possession of the A359 and flies the MNL-YYZ non-stop like PAL used to when they first acquired the B777.

      Good job JJB!

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  12. Examples of airlines now flying the Polar Route are: FinnAir Helsinki to Tokyo, Air France Paris to Tokyo, Lufthansa Frankfurt to Tokyo, Beijing, etc. Mr friend from Helsinki likes the short-cut route which is nonstop, of course!

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    1. I agree, nonstop flights are always better so long as PAL offers realistic fares

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  13. I have not found any other authorative source that verifies that the A350-900 was a ULR type. It seems logical that they should get the ULR but I have not found the information except on your website

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  14. To my knowledge the 6 A359's are not ULR versions. From what I have read the A350ULR has a reduced number of passengers to balance out the increased fuel load to be able to fly 19+hrs nonstop.

    PAL ordered the HGW version of the A359, which allows for increased fuel capacity and increased cargo capacity without the need to reduce passenger density.

    JJB made a very smart addition to the PAL fleet with the A359HGW, because they get delivery in a few years and it can fly MNL-JFK nonstop.

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  15. According to Mr.JJB early before October of 2016 they are expecting Polar Route permit Approval of Russian,American and Canadian Gov"t.

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  16. With the (7th and 8th) 777s to come this year , does anyone know if these will be used to upgrade London Heathrow or JFK services? I read in 2 articles that London was being mentioned as an inaugural destination for the A359? Anything more definitive about the next European destination FCO,CDG. or FRA ?

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    1. Rome FCO - hotbed of CX, SQ, TK, Emirates, Qatar Air, Saudia, Oman Air, Gulf Air and LCC Cebu Pacific wanting to fly this year. All the above serve Manila, therefore, the competition is really stiff for PAL.
      Paris CDG and Frankfurt were cities previously served by PAL, meaning did not do well because of competition with 4 or 5-star European airlines. Do you think PAL can still compete there, unless it becomes a 5-star airline?

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    2. On the MNL-JFK route PAL recently announced they have changed aircraft from the older A343 to the B777.

      PAL passenger numbers were low mainly due to the other carriers using newer B787/B777/A380's.

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    3. Are you sure pal passenger number are low because other carriers using new generation aircraft?! Im sure you inventing a story...hahaha liar!...pal jfk flight is profitable and will be upgrade to bigger boeing 777 this year.

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    4. The JFK-MNL flight was barely profitable when they used the A343, and that's because pal already owns the older A343's so no lease payment. It's no secret a lot of the passengers complain after taking a long haul flight on almost 20yr old a343's with no IVOD because pal is charging the same as other carriers who are using 777 A380's!

      I fly out of JFK, and there are always alot of pinoys in the checkin line for the KA A380 flight to ICN with connection to MNL.

      BTW pal has been using the B777 on the JFK-MNL route since October 2015, and since the switch passenger load has improved.

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  17. I already edited Wikipedia page of Airbus A350XWB Orders and Deliveries by adding Philippine Airlines. However, someone removed it. He/She doesn't encouraged PAL's Airbus A350-900 order. In other word, He/She hates Philippines.

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    Replies
    1. It's because the official announcement was considered only a MOU. A lot of things still need to be worked out and finalized including financing and eventually payment.

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