PAL transforms from Asia’s oldest to youngest fleet

Philippine Airlines (PAL), once known for having one of Asia’s oldest fleets, has now transformed into an airline with one of the youngest fleets. This transformation is a result of a $261 million re-fleeting and modernization program aimed at replacing aging planes. The average age of the fleet has dramatically dropped from 15 years to just 3.5 years.

Toshi Aoki - JP Spotters, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As part of the re-fleeting process initiated this year, the flag carrier is set to retire 20 of its older planes, including the Airbus A330-301. These will be replaced by the more fuel-efficient Airbus A330-343X.

Ramon Ang, President of PAL, stated that the retirement of the airline's old fleet is part of a strategic turnaround. The goal is to transform the flag carrier into Asia’s airline of choice through a three-pronged approach: fleet modernization, network expansion, and service innovation.

According to a report from Airline News Philippines, four Boeing 747-400 planes have already been sold.

Despite reporting a comprehensive loss of $229.7 million in the first nine months of 2013, the airline managed to cover the $261-million modernization program to retire its aging fleet.

The upgrade to Category 1 status means that PAL can now deploy their new planes, add more flights, and explore new destinations in the United States. The airline is also planning to re-launch flights to New York.

This month, the airline announced plans to deploy six Boeing 777-300ER planes, previously operated by the Boeing 747-400, to the US. By using these more fuel-efficient planes, PAL could potentially save up to $160 million a year.