Yesterday July 15 marked one year since Philippine Airlines received its very first Airbus A350-900. Plane spotters waited long hours to get a glimpse of the new aircraft, many avgeeks waited so long to see a next generation aircraft in PAL colors, and many or the PAL regular customers were very happy as finally, the old A340 will be replaced. She is indeed such a beautiful aircraft in metal! All were excited!
Today, Philippine Airlines operates a total of 6 Airbus A350-900 flying ultra long haul routes including the 8th world's longest non-stop flight which is Manila to JFK, New York! Two also of PAL's A350s bear the "Love Bus" theme, reminiscing of the airlines's very first Airbus jet, an A300B4, delivered to the airline way back 1979.
So why was everybody excited to see the Philippine Airlines Airbus A350-900? Well first of all, the A350 is a next generation commercial aircraft wherein both fuselage and wings are made primarily of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer making the aircraft more light, hence, more fuel efficient. The aircraft was also made to compete with the popular Boeing 787 which was raking orders left and right. Second, the A350 itself is a very beautiful one operated by premium airlines worldwide such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Asiana to name a few. Third, they were simply excited to see this new generation aircraft in Philippine colors; blue, red, yellow, and white!
PAL's A350 fits 295 passengers in a 3-class configuration. Business class is equipped with 30 Thompson Vantage XL full-flat seats in a 1-2-1 abreast layout. Premium economy section has 24 seats in a 2-4-2 abreast layout and 38 inch pitch, while economy class has 241 seats with a pitch of 33 inches. All seats are equipped with their own personal IFE or Inflight Entertainment system.
PAL flies their A350s to mostly long haul flights like New York, Toronto, London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San and Francisco. They do also sometimes use these in some regional and Oceania flights like Sydney, Bangkok, and Hong Kong.
Presently, PAL has 6 more options for the Airbus A350. Should they decide to exercise those options, they may even go for the longer Airbus A350-1000 which will work perfectly the airline's primary flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER.
It is just so nice to see PAL advancing towards becoming a world premium airline, from being known as "Asia's oldest airline" to now a 4-star carrier that offers passengers excellent and exceptional service from the heart of the Filipino. Indeed, the PAL Airbus A350 is an aircraft many should experience, and we hope our kababayans, balikbayans, and OFWs will continue to patronize our country's national flag carrier with pride.
Happy 1 year in PAL, Airbus A350!