PAL becomes the newest operator of the A350-900, joining some of the world’s top airlines which now have the aircraft, touted by the European airplane giant as the “cornerstone of Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB – extra wide body – Family.” The aircraft flies more quietly and on longer destinations on less fuel.
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PAL brings home first A350-900
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - July 15, 2018 - 12:00am

TOULOUSE — Lucio Tan-owned Philippine Airlines made history yesterday as it accepted delivery of its newest Airbus aircraft, the A350-900, a sleek and shiny hulking white airplane that departed from the Airbus hangar here on Saturday.

PAL becomes the newest operator of the A350-900, joining some of the world’s top airlines which now have the aircraft, touted by the European airplane giant as the “cornerstone of Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB – extra wide body – Family.” The aircraft flies more quietly and on longer destinations on less fuel.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said the A350-900 becomes the newest flagship of the four-star airline’s young and trendsetting fleet and will help the company attain its goal of becoming a five-star airline.

 “More than 77 years after our airline was born, PAL’s first A350-900 will finally start its long journey home to Manila,” Bautista said during the delivery gala dinner on Friday at the glittering and historic Les Abattoirs, a museum of modern and contemporary art.

Upon landing around noon today at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the airplane will be greeted by a water cannon salute, a touching airport tradition.

It is the first of six firm orders and PAL has the option to take delivery of six additional A-350s through 2020.

Eric Schulz, Airbus chief of sales for commercial aircraft, said the A350-900 meets the requirements of demanding customers and is a testimony to Airbus’ high quality and standards.

“This airplane is a fantastic plane,” Schulz said during the delivery dinner.

Bautista said the A350 is slated for deployment on the nonstop Manila-New York JFK and Manila-London Heathrow routes.

The aircraft’s all-new design utilizes the latest technology for improved operational performance. It has a long-range capability of up to 8,000 nautical miles or 14,800 kilometers and a quieter cabin with up to four times less noise, making it the quietest twin-aisle aircraft to date, PAL said.

The business class cabin has 30 seats on a one-two-one configuration providing direct aisle access. The seat pitch is at 44 inches and seat width is 23 to 24. The seat – which reclines to a full flat measuring 78 inches in length – has an adjustable air cushion to adjust seat firmness, lumbar massage feature, additional storage for personal items and power ports.

Next to the business class cabin is the premium economy class, which will have 24 seats on a two-four-two configuration. Premium economy seats – which have a recline of eight inches – are equipped with leg-rest and footrest, additional front pockets for personal items, bottle holder, reading light and power ports.

The regular economy cabin, meanwhile, will have 241 seats on a three-three-three configuration.

PAL senior vice president for strategic planning Angelito Alvarez said four A-350s would be delivered this year and the other two are slated for delivery in mid-2019.

According to Airbus, the average list price of the A350-900 is $317.4 million but the price will vary depending on design weights, choice of engines and the level of selected customization for any particular airline customer.

The ferry flight included Tan’s son Michael, the president of LT Group and PAL Holdings treasurer as well as other top brass from PAL led by Bautista, Alvarez and senior vice president for airline operations Ismael Augusto Gozon.

AIRBUS PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
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