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PAL to get 15 new planes this year

MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is taking delivery of 15 new aircraft valued at $2 billion this year to expand operations by serving new destinations.

In a press conference Tuesday, PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the carrier would take delivery of 15 new aircraft this year.

“The value, based on lease price for all aircraft is almost $2 billion,” he said.

He said PAL would take delivery of six Airbus A321neos, four Airbus A350-900s and five Bombardier Q400s this year.

The first new 168-seater A321neo is slated for delivery starting March and would be used for the Manila to Brisbane non-stop route by May.

Aside from Brisbane, Bautista said PAL may use the A321neos to operate flights to new destinations such as Sapporo in Japan,  and New Delhi and Mumbai in India from Manila in the third quarter.

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As for the A350s, the first is expected to arrive in June, while the second would be delivered in August, the third in September and the last one in December.

The A350-900s – equipped with business class, premium economy and economy class seats, would allow PAL to operate flights to the  US East Coast through the polar region, as well as more routes to Europe.

First would be the non-stop service from Manila to New York  by October, to be followed by services to Seattle, Chicago and a point in Western Europe in the pipeline afterwards.

Apart from long-haul flights, PAL is also looking to expand operations in Clark, Cebu and Davao as part of its multi-hub network strategy.

By next month, PAL will start flights on the Davao to Siargao route.

In April, PAL will add services on the Cebu to Bangkok route by offering daily flights from the current thrice per week.

PAL will also continue to offer the only direct airline services between the Philippines and Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the US East and West Coasts, Hawaii, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as the only flights between Bohol and Korea, and between Cebu and the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Nagoya.

Bautista said the delivery of new aircraft would not just allow PAL to expand operations, but also to retire old aircraft such as the A340s and older Q400s.

“We will end the year with 98 to 100 aircraft,” he said.

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