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PAL to return one A350 to lessor — report

Aviation Updates Philippines – National flag carrier Philippine Airlines will return at least one Airbus A350-900 to its lessor, according to the Air Finance Journal. European aviation outlets have also reported the same, even upping the number of possible returnees to four A350 aircraft.

Aviation news website aeroTELEGRAPH also cited an Air Finance Journal report that PAL plans to return a single A350 aircraft to SMBC Aviation Capital. The leasing company reportedly already found a new airline customer.

PAL’s A350 aircraft are all leased: two from SMBC, two from Goshawk Aviation, and two from Avolon.

Last Saturday, an Airbus A350 of PAL, with registry RP-C3506, flew direct from Manila to Munich, Germany as PR-5004, amid reports of Lufthansa leasing the specific airframe. The plane left on July 10 at 11:00 AM to Munich.

First PAL A350 destined for Lufthansa arrived in Munich (Credit: MASaviation)

RP-C3506 is a 2018-built A350 aircraft delivered to PAL on October 9, 2018. According to aviation database website Planespotters.net, RP-C3506 is leased from Avolon. This means the airframe may not be the one referred to by the AFJ article.

It is still unclear if Lufthansa will completely retrofit the airframe with its in-flight entertainment system and cabin configuration.

Bloomberg reported in May 2021 that at least two A350s and four Boeing 777-300ERs are in the process of being taken back by aircraft lessors. Bloomberg says these are eyed to be redeployed to other carriers, citing people familiar with the matter.

The next plans of PAL are still unknown; however, local and international media reports suggest the company is preparing to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in New York to help them recover from the billions of losses last year.

AUP requested for comment on these fleet developments from a representative of PAL's Corporate Communications. However, they were "not aware" of the matter as of posting. AUP is still open to receive PAL's statement on the subject.


  1. Do you think this is a wise decision of Philippine Airlines? There are lots of choices of aircraft of Philippine Airlines that they can return to the lessor. But why did they considered their considered as "flagships" which are Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 for return? Why not Airbus A330 and/or Airbus A321/321neo? Is Philippine Airlines going to ditch their flagship?

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