PAL evaluating 777X and A350 for re-fleeting plans

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) is studying the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 as part of its re-fleeting plans.

"PAL is evaluating the 777X versus the A350," its president Ramon Ang tells Flightglobal Pro in a text message.

The carrier could acquire between 10 and 20 of either aircraft type, he adds, declining to comment further.

Local media reports, meanwhile, say PAL has expressed interest in the 777X because of its fuel-efficient engine and lighter cabin. The carrier could possibly acquire 10 of the aircraft for its long-haul operations, with an option for a further 10, they add.

Last year, PAL inked orders with Airbus for 34 A321s, 10 A321neos and 20 higher gross weight A330-300s.

The flag carrier had previously said that it aims to purchase 100 new aircraft and retire its older and uneconomical widebodies to compete more effectively in the long-haul market.

Boeing is still refining the design and business case for the 777X before requesting the company's board for authority to launch the programme.

Judging from the development schedule of the General Electric GE9X, the exclusive powerplant for the 777X, the aircraft will likely enter service only after mid-2019 at the earliest. This is because there is usually at least a one year gap between engine certification and aircraft certification.

The developmental A350 meanwhile is due to make its maiden flight later this summer with first deliveries of the A350-900 to follow in the second half of 2014.