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PAL in fleet buildup to serve growing Asia Pacific market

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) is seen to capitalize on the increasing air passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific region with its ambitious fleet build-up  program, European plane maker Airbus said.

According to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast, Asia Pacific will surpass Europe and North America in air passenger traffic with annual volume expected to soar 200 percent in the next 20 years, fueled by economic growth, increasing accessibility of air transport services, ease of travel and migration.

The region’s traffic, as measured by revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) or the number of paying passengers carried multiplied by the distance flown, is forecast to triple to 4.8 trillion in 2032 from 1.6 trillion last year.

As a result, Asia Pacific is expected to further expand its lead in air traffic to a 34-percent share in 2032 from 29 percent last year.

Simon Azar, Airbus manager for twin-aisle models, said he sees the Philippines as a huge growth market in the coming years given its growing economy.

Asia Pacific is also seen to lead global demand for larger and more eco-efficient aircraft types in the next two decades with around 9,220 new passenger and freight aircraft valued at nearly $4.4 trillion will be needed to meet global demand.

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The Asia Pacific region is a core market for Airbus, accounting for 31 percent of all orders by the company to date. There are now more than 2,100 Airbus aircraft in service with 97 operators across the region, with another 1,800 on order with customers for future delivery. This represents over a third of the company’s total backlog, reflecting the importance of the region as the fastest-growing market for new civil aircraft.

PAL is in the middle of an aggressive refleeting program aimed at restoring its financial health and reclaiming dominance of its local market.  It placed a firm order with Airbus for 64 aircraft worth around $10 billion, consisting of 44 single-aisle A321s and 20 wide-body A330-300s. This is regarded as the largest aircraft purchase in Philippine history.

The flag carrier on Friday took delivery of the first of its new fleet of Rolls-Royce Tren-engine A330s.  The airline will receive its second A330 next month and another four will arrive before the end of the year.

PAL will take delivery of 17 aircraft next year to be followed by 15 in 2015, 10 in 2016, two in 2017, and four each in 2018 and 2019.

Ismael Augusto Dizon, PAL senior vice-president for operations, said the newly-acquired A330 is expected to further broaden the company’s global footprint and provide additional flexibility to its worldwide network.

The A330 is an aircraft of choice for a full range of users, resulting from its excellent operating economics, proven reliability and flexibility.  At the rate of 10 per month, A330 production is the highest ever for an Airbus wide-body jetliner.

The Rolls-Royce Trent engine, which is the market leader on the Airbus A330 and has won 70 percent of new orders over the last four years, includes novel technologies designed to shave off weight and minimize fuel consumption.

Rolls-Royce is a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a strong position in global markets — civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.


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