Philippine Airlines (PAL) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321. The aircraft was handed over at the Airbus delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany yesterday and is the first of 64 new Airbus aircraft ordered by the airline in 2012 under a major fleet modernisation programme. These include 44 single aisle A321s and 20 widebody A330s.
Philippine Airlines has specified a two class layout for its A321s, with 12 seats in Business Class and 187 in Economy. The airline will operate its new A321s primarily on international routes across the Asian region, as well as on selected domestic flights.
“We are excited about the A321 not only because its size fit our expansion plans, but the flexibility it gives us in matching the aircraft to specific route requirements is tremendous,” said Ramon Ang, President and CEO, Philippine Airlines. “With the A321 we will be able to add capacity without compromising comfort, offering our passengers a choice between full premium class and a great range of value fares.”
“The addition of the A321 to the PAL fleet reflects a general move towards larger aircraft types in all the various size categories – including the single aisle market,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. “With the A321 PAL will benefit from the additional seat count and unbeatable operating costs offered by the aircraft, while offering its passengers a great in-flight experience. We are sure that the A321 will be a winner for the airline, enabling it to compete even more effectively in the fast-growing Asian market.”
The A321 joins an Airbus fleet at Philippine Airlines that already includes 22 A320 Family aircraft flying on domestic and regional routes, as well as nine in service with its budget subsidiary PAL Express. The carrier also operates eight widebody A330s on higher capacity routes across Asia and seven A340-300s on its longest services to the United States.
Following the introduction of the A321, Philippine Airlines will take delivery of the first of its 20 new A330s in the third quarter of the year. The carrier is also currently adding four A340-300s to its fleet for deployment on new non-stop services to Europe, scheduled to begin next month.
The A321 is the largest member of the best-selling single aisle A320 Family which has the lowest seat mile costs of any single aisle aircraft. As with other members of the A320 Family, the aircraft offers a wider cabin than competing single aisle products, enabling wider seats, a wider aisle and more personal space.
To date, more than 9,800 aircraft from the Family have been ordered and over 5,600 delivered to more than 385 customers and operators worldwide.