Philippine Airlines (PAL) is targeting to expand its footprint in Europe and the USA, with its latest commitment for up to 12 Airbus A350-900s.

The airline signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire six of the type at the Singapore air show, with options for another six aircraft, in a deal worth $1.8 billion at list prices.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista says the first A350 is scheduled to be delivered to the airline by end-2018, with two others to follow in the first half of 2019. The jets will have 300 seats in a three-class configuration.

Bautista says the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered jets will allow PAL to operate non-stop from Manila to the US west coast and New York, as well as to new destinations in Europe. PAL is currently operating some of these flights with its six fuel-hungry Airbus A340s, some of which will be retired when the A350s are delivered.

Asked why the airline chose the A350 over the Boeing 787-9, which it was also evaluating, Bautista says he believes the Airbus aircraft will help it operate long-haul services efficiently, and is a jet that is “viable” for the airline “technically and commercially”.

Bautista also discloses that PAL is studying the possibility of adding regional jets or turboprops to its fleet, for the operation of domestic routes where there are runway constraints. Its PAL Express unit currently has four Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s and four Q300s in service.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard