Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com
TOULOUSE, France – Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Friday received the first of 20 long-range aircraft from Airbus in preparation for the revival of the flag carrier’s flights to the Middle East.
Ismael Augusto Gozon, PAL senior vice president for operations, told reporters flown in from Manila that the acquisition of A330-300s is part of the airline’s fleet renewal program.
Gozon said PAL expects to receive five more A330-300s in the fourth quarter.
The A330-300 has a list price of $239.4 million each. This means PAL would require $4.8 billion for the 20 aircraft.
Besides A330-300s, PAL also ordered 45 A321s last year for delivery between 2013 and 2019. The 65 aircraft combined would cost $9.5 billion.
“This is a milestone for Philippine Airlines. We are now starting the next phases of our fleet renewal, anchored on new generation A330-300s. This aircraft opens up new frontiers in our rapidly growing networks as well as in service innovations for our passengers,” Ramon S. Ang, PAL president said in a statement.
Ang said the new A330 will be used for the inaugural flight to Abu Dhabi on October 1, marking the flag carrier’s return to the Middle East.
“The A330 is earmarked for our Middle East route, which will allow our overseas Filipino workers to fly back to their homeland,” Ang said.
The A330-300 cabin accommodates 414 passengers, configured in two classes — premium economy with 39 seats and economy with 375 seats.
PAL has specified the Trent 772B-60 engine from Rolls-Royce of the UK to power its A330-300 fleet.
Over the last 12 months, PAL has taken delivery of the Boeing 777-300, followed by two Airbus 321s last August.