PAL orders nine Airbus A350-1000s to expand long-haul fleet


As travel demand continues to rise, Philippine Airlines is struggling to expand due to their fleet limitations, and the airline needs new-generation aircraft for future expansion and to restore pre-pandemic route frequencies. 

After expressing interest in 2018 and revisiting their interest in the aircraft this year, PAL has signed a memorandum of agreement with Airbus to purchase nine A350-1000s with three additional options for future expansion.

The A350-1000 will join PAL’s ultra long haul fleet program that aims to operate non-stop services from Manila to North America, including the East Coast of the US and Canada. The aircraft will enable the flag carrier to once again provide a direct link from the Philippines to Europe, as the airline halted flights to London when the pandemic started due to a lack of aircraft.

The new aircraft will complement the two A350-900s already in service at the airline, flying to destinations in North America and Asia. Delivery for the new long-haul workhorse will begin in the fourth quarter of 2025 and continue until 2027.

Captain Stanley K. Ng, President and Chief Operating Officer of Philippine Airlines, said that the range of the A350-1000 would enable the airline to fly non-stop transpacific and transpolar routes in both directions all year. These will include some of the longest commercial flights in the world, such as those linking the Philippines with New York and Toronto. With an expanded A350 fleet, PAL will have the ability to once again provide a direct link from the Philippines to Europe.

“The A350-1000 combines greater range capability with the higher capacity we need to serve future demand. It’s the perfect aircraft to enable PAL to meet its expansion plans in a sustainable way while offering passengers the highest levels of onboard comfort. We are committed to offering our passengers the best possible travel experience, and these state-of-the-art aircraft will enable us to do just that as we carry out our mission to connect the world and grow trade and tourism,” Ng said.

The A350-1000s will be configured with separate Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy Class cabins. The cabin is expected to feature state-of-the-art seats and in-flight entertainment as it will mostly be deployed for long-haul routes.

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Flying passengers farther and in greater comfort, the A350 brings a step-change in fuel efficiency and an immediate significant contribution to reduced emissions. These are the attributes that have made the A350 the choice of leading airlines worldwide. We look forward to working closely with our long-standing customer Philippine Airlines as it moves forward with its long-haul fleet modernization program.”

While the airline did not disclose the total value of the deal, it is expected that each Airbus A350 is priced at $366.5 million as of the manufacturer’s 2018 list prices. In total, it can be estimated that the total deal is worth over $3 billion.

With the arrival of this newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft, the gradual retirement of PAL’s Boeing 777-300ER fleet is anticipated. Aviation news website ch-aviation reported that the airline would retire some 777s in the next few years, which will eventually be replaced by the A350s.

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