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PAL mulls choice of A350 or Boeing 787 for new aircraft

MANILA, Philippines - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects to complete its evaluation for the purchase of new aircraft for long-haul flights within the year.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista told reporters the airline has limited the choice of aircraft to replace its Airbus A340s fleet to two.

“We’re still in the process of evaluation of whether we will acquire an (Airbus) A350 or (Boeing) 787,” he said.

The company hopes to complete the evaluation process within the year as the aircraft under consideration are in demand.

“Even if you order now, I think the earliest you can get from both manufacturers is 2018 or 2019,” Bautista said.

The airline will need at least six new aircraft to replace its A340 fleet.

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The number of aircraft to replace the A340s can even increase depending on the growth of demand in the market.

Bautista said the airline would need to choose only one from the A350 and Boeing 787 to replace the A340s to make operations efficient as pilots of the new airplanes would require training.

The airline wants to replace its fleet of A340s as they consume more fuel and are costly to maintain.

PAL plans to sell the A340s to interested buyers.

The replacement of the A340s is also part of PAL’s plan to beef up its long-haul business.

For this year, PAL has set its capital expenditures at $280 million primarily to acquire new aircraft.

As of end-June, the airline has taken delivery of five new A321 aircraft expected for this year.

The airline expects to take delivery of another five A321 aircraft and two 777-300ER next year.

The 777-300ER aircraft is used for long-haul routes particularly the US.

The PAL group, including low cost carrier unit PAL Express, has a fleet of more than 76 aircraft.

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