PAL set to deploy big, quiet Airbus plane to New York

PAL A350-900

Philippine Airlines (PAL), which has recently received a four-star label from London-based international air transport rating organization Skytrax, said it will deploy its first Airbus 350, a family of quiet and fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft from Airbus, for non-stop Manila-New York flights crossing the Polar route in June 2018.

The flag carrier said in a statement that a freshly painted Airbus A350-900 jet, sporting PAL's livery, has recently rolled out of the paint shop inside the Airbus assembly complex in Toulouse, France, prior to installation of two powerful Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines.

The plane is equipped with a luxurious, tri-class cabin, featuring the most modern inflight entertainment system. The A350XWB (extra wide body) will be deployed on the non-stop Manila-New York flights.

The 66.8-meter long Airbus A350-900, with a wing span of 64.75 meters, is a twin-engined passenger jet, that its manufacturer says flies better, more quietly and goes further on less fuel.

A member of Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB family, the A350-900 redefines the long and ultra-long haul travel. The jetliner can accommodate 325 passengers in a standard three-class configuration. Its fuselage is built with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – which supports lower fuel burn, easier Airbus A350 competes with the Boeing 787 and 777.

"The A350 XWB [extra wide body] will be deployed on the non-stop Manila-New York flights, using the Polar route,” PAL said in a statement.

PAL expects the delivery of three more A350s in 2018 and another two next year.

PAL has been recently certified as a 4-Star airline by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organization, joined 40 other renowned airlines in the prestigious category. It is the first and only airline in the Philippines to earn the 4-star rating.

The 4-star airline rating is a mark of distinction that recognizes excellent standards of product and staff service across different assessment categories for both the onboard and airport environment.

PAL said it achieved the rating after Skytrax conducted an audit of the airline’s in-flight and ground service for both international and domestic flights. It then noted major enhancements in its end-to-end passenger experience and distinct service called Buong Pusong Alaga.

“This is a big win for the Philippines,” said PAL chairman and CEO Lucio Tan.

“We are elated by this recognition, which is a victory for the more than 7,000 members of the Philippine Airlines family. Our achievement is the country’s achievement and we share this with all Filipinos around the globe,” the tycoon said.

Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said the rating “recognizes the great improvements that the airline has introduced over the last two years, both in terms of product change and development and enhancement of the front-line staff service.”

“New and retrofitted aircraft have played an important part in the quality improvement process, and this looks set to develop further when Philippine Airlines introduces the A350 into their fleet. We look for consistency of quality in the 4-star rating, and we look to Philippine Airlines to ensure this is duly delivered to customers,” Plaisted said.

The rating upgrade is a key result of a multi-year top-to-bottom end-to-end enhancement of the Philippine flag carrier.

“Our Get-That-Star journey began in 2016. Our efforts over the last two years have borne fruit,” said PAL President and COO Jaime J. Bautista.

“Since 2016, we have embarked on a journey of rolling out in-flight and on-ground innovations, opened new routes, increased connectivity across PAL’s route network, added new aircraft to our fleet and, importantly, invested in the Buong Pusong Alaga [whole-hearted] training of all our cabin crew, ground crew and service providers domestically and internationally in order to enhance the passenger travel experience and earn a higher Skytrax rating,” Bautista said.

PAL chief customer experience officer Jessica Abaya said: “We want to place PAL at par with the world’s best airlines. With this 4-star rating, we are inspired to work even harder. We will continue to delight our customers by giving them their desired experience, the best service in- flight and on-ground, across all phases of travel.”

Skytrax is the London-based international air transport rating organization that carries out comprehensive airport and airline audits and ranks airlines worldwide for staff service standards and product quality. The Skytrax Certified Airline Star Ratings, awarded since 1999, are internationally recognized as a global benchmark of airline standards.

In June 2017, PAL placed sixth on the list of the World's Most Improved Airlines and was ranked by Skytrax as 67th out of 320 airlines, reflecting a 16-notch increase in rankings from that of 2016.

From 2016 up to the present, the PAL Group finalized fleet orders of Airbus A350s, A321s, Boeing 777s and Bombardier Q400 Next Generation planes bringing the fleet count to 88 aircraft, the largest fleet in the Philippines.

Eight of the airline's 15 Airbus A330s have undergone a total cabin transformation from a single economy to a tri-class cabin providing maximum comfort on all classes. The latest Boeing 777s and the incoming Airbus A350s will further upgrade the PAL fleet for the airline's long-haul international routes, it said.

April 2018

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