PAL seeks longhaul edge with A350 XWB

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) has taken delivery of its first A350 XWB aircraft, Airbus’ new family of mid-size widebody longhaul airliners, which it believes will help it better compete in the premium longhaul market.

PAL has ordered six A350-900s, which will be primarily operated on non-stop services to Europe and North America. These will include the carrier’s longest route to New York, which the A350-900 can operate non-stop in both directions, all year round.

From left: Airbus’ Jean-François Laval; Philippine Airlines’s Jaime J. Bautista; and Rolls Royce’s Christophe Molus

Representing a distance of over 8,000 nautical miles, the 17-hour return journey from New York to Manila previously involved a technical stop in Vancouver.

PAL has configured its A350-900s with a layout seating 295 passengers in three classes. This includes 30 seats that convert to fully flat beds in business class, 24 offering extra space in premium economy and 241 18-inch wide seats in the main cabin.

The aircraft features the Airspace by Airbus cabin, which is said to offer more personal space and full connectivity, on top of being “the quietest of any twin aisle aircraft”.

“The arrival of the A350 XWB will see PAL offer new levels of comfort on our longhaul flights,” said Jaime Bautista, president and COO of Philippine Airlines. “At the same time we will benefit from the A350 XWB’s new generation efficiency, with a significant reduction in fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs. We believe that the A350 XWB will be a game changer for PAL as we compete with the best in the premium longhaul market.”

The A350 XWB joins PAL’s existing Airbus fleet of 27 A320 family aircraft, 15 A330s and four A340s.

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