We all know it as the Airbus A321NEO ACF or the A321-271NX, where ACF means "Airbus Cabin Flex". To Philippine Airlines, they are dubbed as the A321NEO SR meaning Shorter Range as compared to the airlines's first 6 A321NEO LRs which have the capability to fly from Manila to Sydney non-stop. So let's call it the A321NEO ACF as the A321NEO SR, and here is why this is the perfect regional product for the passengers who want to fly in comfort.
In its move to cement itself as the Philippines's only legacy airline and a 4-star airline of the world, the airline went into a fleet modernization program which also includes the retrofitting of its aircraft interiors for a more consistent product across the line. Aside from the wide-body jets in the fleet like the Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A350-900 and Airbus A330-300, PAL's narrow-body aircraft now shows a different interior from what it usually had before, now all fitted with IFEs! The airlines's very first 6 Airbus A321NEO LR which are used for medium haul flights like Manila to Australia are equipped with full-flat business class seats, something only found in wide-body jets.
PAL ordered a total of 21 Airbus A321NEO jets, 7 of which are already flying for the airline. Out of the seven presently operating, six are LRs and one is the SR with 14 more to be delivered.
The A321NEO SR first and foremost, is actually an ACF version which means that it can take in more seats by eliminating the second door and having two overwing emergency exit doors instead. This allowed PAL to configure the SR with 195 seats in a 2-class configuration, business class and economy class.
PAL configured the A321NEO SR for regional flights, those that will be used from Manila to Asian countries, hence, the shorter range capabilities but more seats.
First thing is first to those wondering, yes PAL's A321NEO SRs are equipped individual Inflight Entertainment Systems with myPAL eSuite which allow passengers to stay connected too via their mobile device and WiFi connectivity.
Unlike the PAL A321NEO LRs, the SRs will not be flying that long and will be used for regional flights and a few domestic, hence, there is no need for business class full-flat seats. The SR's 12 business class seats are however still wide enough, they recline to a comfortable incline angle perfect for short hop flights, and are all equipped with individual IFEs.
Economy class seats are the same as those on the rest of the A321NEO fleet of PAL, all equipped with IFEs and a 31-32 inch seat pitch. Just like the rest of the PAL fleet, the SR features a "Sea of Blue" theme, consistent to the other aircraft in the fleet.
So why is this a perfect aircraft for regional hops for Philippine Airlines?
First of all, the A321NEO SR allows the airline to add more passengers as compared to their A321NEO LR without having to sacrifice comfort. Compared to the bare-interior A321-231CEO otherwise known as the A321 Classic of PAL, the A321NEO SR is indeed a refreshing sight and experience for the passengers. The A321NEO SR is also a far-cry from the A321 Classic in terms of comfort offering for the passengers, proof that PAL is serious about stepping-up its game in order to get more people to fly with them.
Second, the A321NEO SR is equipped with PW1100G-JM turbofan engines which makes it 15% to 20% more fuel efficient than the A321-200 Classic. Did we mention too that the PW1100G-JM is perhaps one of the world's most quiet engine?
At this point, PAL is the only Philippine-based airline that offers such product on narrow-body aircraft. No need to always check for regional flights that utilizes wide-body aircraft to enjoy such comfort features, you may now fly in style and full comfort in single-aisle aircraft, thanks to PAL for introducing a perfect product for regional flights.
We can't wait until all 14 A321NEO SRs are delivered! More seats without sacrificing a tad of comfort, indeed a perfect product for Philippine Airlines and its passengers looking for an awesome and comfortable way to fly from the Philippines to Asian countries.
Now this is 4-star for a narrow-body regional product!
NEO - New Engine Option
CEO - Current Engine Option
ACF - Airbus Cabin Flex
LR - Long Range
SR - Shorter Range (as compared to the LR)
IFE - Inflight Entertainment System