PAL eyes 20 new Boeing planes
MANILA, Philippines - Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) plans to acquire 20 additional Boeing aircraft for long-haul flights to as it positions to take advantage of the anticipated lifting of the ban on Philippine carriers from mounting additional flights to the US and Europe.
PAL plans to initially acquire 10 Boeing 777X aircraft, the airline's president and CEO Ramon S. Ang told reporters on the sidelines of the 5th year anniversary celebration of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
“It depends on the price. We are looking at the new Boeing 777X. We will buy 10 and if it performs well, we’ll exercise an option for 10 more,” he said.
“We want those planes for our long-range flights,” he added. PAL captures the most international traffic among local competitors.
PAL is undergoing a major refleeting program that involves acquiring 100 new aircraft to cut fuel costs, which account for bulk of the airline's operating costs. The new aircraft feature feature more fuel efficient engine, bigger wings, and lighter cabins.
Boeing vs. Airbus
PAL has earlier entered into a US$7 billion order from EADS Group, the biggest airline deal in the country, announced in August 2012. This was for the acquisition of 54 Airbus aircraft consisting of 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo, and 10 A330-300s. It has another $2.5 billion option to acquire 10 more A330 aircraft.
The large number of long-haul aircraft orders by PAL has set the world's two major manufacturers -- Boeing and Airbus -- scrambling for a piece of it.
Airbus -- originally a consortium between France, Germany, Britain and Spain -- is pushing for major contracts in Asia. Both aircraft makers are locked in a global contest for market share, with top-level officials and diplomats giving support during trips to Asia.
During the October 2012 visit of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Manila, he hinted that PAL has confirmed an order for 10 Airbus A330 jets on top of a purchase in the summer."
United Kingdom Member of Parliament (MP) Hugo Swire who visited Manila in December 2012 pitched for Airbus orders from PAL.
"Incidentally, their (PAL) passengers will probably be arriving on new aircraft made partly in Britain," he had said.
Planes for PAL
For 2013, Ang said PAL would likely acquire 71 new aircraft, including 68 Airbus aircraft from EADS and 3 from Boeing.
PAL expects the delivery of 16 new Airbus aircraft starting August. Half of the arriving aircraft would be used by PAL while the other 8 would be used by PAL Express (formerly Airphil Express), which is currently undergoing a rebranding.
PAL has an existing fleet of 42 aircraft consisting of five Boeing B747-400s and four B777-300ERs, as well as four Airbus A340-300s, eight A330-300s, 17 A320-200s, and four A319-100s. - Rappler.com