After PH visit of French PM, PAL to buy more Airbus aircraft?
The French official said it has secured orders for 10 Airbus A330 jets on top of PAL's previously announced purchase of 10 of the same aircraft

STATE VISIT. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III in a state dinner in Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace on October 19, 2012. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines – Is legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) buying more Airbus aircraft after the October 19 state visit of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault?

In a report on October 23, Reuters said the French official hinted on this in a speech at the opening of a new Airbus factory in southwest France, days after his visits to Singapore and the Philippines.

“I would like to add that during this trip, Airbus signed an order for 15 aircraft and took options for the A350 and possibly the A380,” Reuters quoted Ayrault as saying. The French official was stressing the importance of remaining competitive on world export markets.

Reuters noted: “During Ayrault’s trip, Philippine Airlines confirmed an order for 10 Airbus A330 jets on top of a purchase in the summer. An official in the French prime minister’s office said his comments alluded to this latest purchase “and nothing else.”

PAL is among those seen as considering fresh orders for long-haul aircraft. In August, it announced an order for 54 wide and narrow-bodied Airbus aircraft with a list price of $7 billion.

At the time, PAL announced that, of the 54, it will purchase 10 A330-300 twin-aisle jets.

These 10 previously announced A330 aircraft are meant for PAL’s regional and mid-range flights, including the planned return to the Middle East.

AIRBUS ORDERS. Philippine Airlines executives (chair Lucio Tan, second from left, and president Ramon Ang, rightmost) announce orders for new aircraft. Photo by Katherine Visconti

PAL, now controlled by diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp, has an ongoing multi-year refleeting and modernization plan, which involves the purchase of up to 100 new planes.

“Our intention is to buy up to 100 aircraft, 26 of that will be long range, wide body,” PAL president Ramon Ang had said then.

Airbus — originally a consortium between France, Germany, Britain and Spain — is pushing for major contracts in Asia.

The territorial spat in the South China Sea appears to have made a dent on the chances of American firm Boeing to secure all the planned 100 aircraft orders from PAL.

Both aircraft makers are locked in a global contest for market share.

Philippine carriers are implementing expansion and refleeting plans to deal with jet fuel price hikes and aggressive industry growth targets. –

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