PAL: Getting its 1st A350-900 from Toulouse
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2018 - 12:00am

TOULOUSE, France: We arrived from London for an overnight stay at the Renaissance Hotel and had dinner at the Market Garden Restaurant together with 15 media personalities from Manila. I’m the only one from Cebu that Philippine Airlines (PAL) invited for PAL’s first Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) delivery. PAL has ordered six such beautiful aircraft with an option to purchase another six when PAL president and chief operating officer (CEO) Jaime Bautista signed a purchase agreement with Airbus Industries president and CEO Fabrice Bregier during the Singapore Airshow.

The A350-900 is configured by PAL to have a business class, premium economy and regular economy. This aircraft is capable of flying non-stop from Manila to New York on a full load. This flight would probably take at least 15 hours depending on the weather. A remarkable advantage of the Airbus 350-900 is its long-range capacity and lowest operating costs of any aircraft offering a wide body configuration.   

PAL also signed a $600 million order of engines from Rolls Royce for Trent XWB engines to power the six A350-900 they ordered in Singapore. The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine is the world’s most efficient engine flying many world airlines today. Our official turnover for the delivery of the A350-900 is tomorrow, so I can only report this for my Tuesday column.

But with PAL getting its new status as a four-star airline, the six new A350-900 will be deployed to new routes in North America and Europe. As PAL president and CEO Jaime Bautista said, “After a thorough commercial and technical evaluation, we decided that the A350 will best meet the requirements of our expanding operations. With the A350, we will be able to offer superior passenger comfort with spacious cabin while flying non-stop on long haul routes.” Indeed, the A350-900 that we are taking back to Manila this Sunday is the latest generation airliner, featuring the most modern aerodynamic, carbon fiber fuselage and wings. What can we say but indeed PAL is on its way moving forward with the A350-900.

Meanwhile, today we are taking the train from Toulouse to Lourdes, which is a near two-hour trip. This will be my third trip to Lourdes and my first since my kidney transplant operation last Nov. 8, 2016. One of the miracles that happened in my life was when I took the miraculous water in Lourdes prior to my operation. So now it is time to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary who obviously wanted me to visit Lourdes again.

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It was indeed a positive thing what Pres. Rodrigo Duterte did when he met with Davao Archbishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Arch. Romulo Valles in a private meeting between two old friends. As Presidential spokesman Harry Roque pointed out, Pres. Duterte agreed to a moratorium on his criticism of priests, bishops and the Catholic Church in general.

Actually, this happened only simply because Pres. Duterte more often than not, drop his prepared speech in favor of an extemporaneous speech and when that happens, you are open to talk about so many things that you may have come across even if the subject is foreign to his audience. I hope that this time, Pres. Duterte would finally keep his mouth shut about God.

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When the Consultative Commission (Concom) released its draft of the new federal constitution for the Philippines, they exposed one reality… that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte including all former Philippine presidents can seek another term of office in a new federal Philippines. Honestly, I really don’t know why the Concom commissioners allow this? If I were in the Concom, I would have raised hell… that these former presidents who already served their country should no longer be allowed to serve so that other can also serve the nation.

But knowing Pres. Duterte, he has promised to the Filipino people that the moment we adopted a new federal constitution, that is enough for him and we know him too well that he is very tired not to mention that he’s getting too old. Last Monday Pres. Duterte instructed the Concom that is drafting a new constitution to include an elected transitional president following the adoption of a new federal charter.

DU30 added, “I am willing to cut my term to be co-terminus with start of [the] transition period [which] the committee agreed.” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque quoted the President as saying that his stepping down would remove all suspicions involving the adoption of a new form of government. “He said he was very tired, he’s old, and maybe electing a transition leader would enable a younger leader to take over,” said Roque. So what more do we want? Let’s have a federal constitution now na!

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES CONSULTATIVE COMMISSION PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
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