Philippine Airlines has increased its planned Boeing 777-300 Extended Range fleet to a total of six aircraft - four on firm order and two on lease - by exercising its purchase rights on two option airplanes that were part of the original order last year.Last October 2006, the flag carrier came to terms with the Boeing Company on the firm order of two B777-300ER jets and purchase rights on two additional units. Separately, PAL also signed a letter of intent with GE Commercial Aviation Services for the lease of two B777-300ERs.
Deliveries will commence in the third quarter of 2009 and until 2011.
“Our future fleet of B777-300ERs will allow PAL to enhance its passenger service to the United States, while providing superior efficiency in our operations,” said PAL president Jaime J. Bautista. “Our passengers will appreciate the world-class interior comfort and amenities of this high-technology aircraft.”
“PAL is a very forward-looking carrier and their fleet of six B777-300ERs is a great fit to provide their customers the best in service while achieving increased efficiency in these times of high fuel prices,” said Rob Laird, vice president for sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “These aircraft symbolize our two companies working together for the benefit of the passenger.”
The decision to acquire the B777-300ERs, PAL’s first new widebody aircraft model in 12 years, signals the long-anticipated modernization of the airline’s long-range fleet.
It follows on the heels of a similar upgrading of PAL’s single-aisle fleet, which started last September 2006 with the arrival of the first of 20 brand-new Airbus A320-family jets. Six of those aircraft are already in service with four more are arriving this year.
The fuel-efficient B777-300ER is the world’s largest long-range twin-engine jetliner and is capable of carrying up to 365 passengers in PAL’s two-class configuration, at a range of up to 7,880 nautical miles (14,594 kilometers).
It will complement the Boeing 747-400, PAL’s venerable flagship, on the trans-Pacific routes. PAL’s widebody fleet currently comprises 17 aircraft: five B747-400s, four Airbus A340-300s and eight Airbus A330-300s.
PAL has specified a bi-class configuration for its B777-300ERs, with state-of-the-art seats and in-flight entertainment system capable of providing audio/video on-demand in both Mabuhay (business) and Fiesta (economy) classes.