Two of Philippine Airline's Boeing 777-300ER are turning 10 this November, namely, RP-C7777 and then followed by RP-C7776. Both aircraft are on lease. One question remains if PAL will be returning both 777s to their lessors or will they renew the lease which should expire by 2021 or 2022. Should they return the ageing 777s, what aircraft will they replace them with?
It has been rumored that PAL has been studying to add more Airbus A350s into its fleet, with the likelihood of the A350-1000.
At the same time, Boeing has been pitching their upcoming 777X to PAL as replacements to the present 777-300ERs. So what is the possibility that PAL will take in the Airbus A350-1000 to its fleet?
We are not saying that PAL will definitely go for the A350-1000, nor are we confirming anything but we are just looking into its likelihood. First and foremost, PAL has 6 more options for the A350 which could be converted into the A350-1000 model. Should they decide to exercise their options, they could opt for another 6 -900 series or go for the longer -1000 to compliment the 77W fleet. At the same time, the Boeing 777-9X has not yet even taken its first flight. If PAL were to order the Boeing 777X today, the earliest they could receive the aircraft is on 2026 or so.
Another clue that can lead to the possibility of PAL ordering the A350-1000 is Cathay Pacific. If you will look at PAL's profile, their wide-body fleet is similar to Cathay Pacific. The latter uses uses the Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-300, Airbus A350-1000, Airbus A350-900, and Airbus A330-300. They also have Boeing 777-9Xs on order. PAL operates a similar wide-body fleet consisting of Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A350-900, and Airbus A330-300. In the region, PAL's main competitor is Cathay Pacific, sharing almost similar profiles. Notice the presence of the Airbus A350-1000 and later on the Boeing 777-9X on their fleet. No Airbus A380 nor the Boeing 787. It is not far from happening that PAL would have a similar wide-body fleet in the future, taking into consideration the advantage of an Airbus A350-1000 complimenting the Boeing 777-300ER fleet. Usually, it is Cathay Pacific who puts in an order first before PAL so let us just watch closely.
Last but not least, the Airbus A350-1000 falls between the 295-seater A350-900 and the 370-seater. What we see here is that the A350-1000 will be able to accomodate a tri-class configuration while seating more than the A350-900 but less than the 777-300ER. Also, it is said that the A35K has a better cargo payload than the 77W on a flight to Manila. This may be a perfect aircraft to compliment PAL's existing Boeing 777 fleet.
Should PAL take in the A350-1000s, they would definitely replace the ageing 777-300ER but totally not the whole 777 fleet. As early as now, Boeing has been pushing for the 777X and it is least likely that PAL is not going for an all-Airbus fleet and the 777-9X has the biggest probability of joining the fleet.
So let us keep an eye on these orders. We are not confirming nor denying anything. Anything can change though as everything are on the hands of PAL number crunchers. Though we would love to see an A350-1000 and Boeing 777-9X in the PAL fleet, everything will still depend on the airline's requirement.
For now, let us hope for the best for our national flag carrier.