PAL replaces Boeing 747 fleet with 777-300ERs and Airbus jets
Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects to clinch the sale of 16 of its old planes within the month to a big foreign company for an undisclosed sum as it prepares to expand to new routes such Manila-Vancouver-New York, Manila-Tokyo-New York and targets to fly to Chicago and Florida from Japan or Korea starting this October, President Ramon S. Ang told reporters the other night.
The flag carrier plans to operate a fleet of at least 100 planes to achieve economies of scale, he revealed. Right now, it has 72 new aircraft. Earlier, PAL acquired 65 new aircraft, accepted deliveries of three more fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300 ERs, bought six more Airbus 340s and intends to acquire more planes.
For 2014, PAL will dispose a total of 20 of its old aircraft to finance the purchase of new ones, according to Ang. In principle, the company has already sold four Boeing 747 aircraft, four Airbus 340s and eight A330s and expects the contract to be signed this May.
After the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the country to Category 1 rating recently, PAL has deployed its fleet of Boeing 772-300ERs on non-stop flights to the US mainland, starting with Los Angeles this May 3 and to San Francisco next month.
The flag carrier will save USD$120 million per year in fuel and maintenance costs using the B777 on its US routes inasmuch as the aircraft can fly 7,930 nautical miles or 14,700 kilometers from Manila to the US mainland and back nonstop without refuelling.
PAL’s sixth B777 was delivered five months ago, bringing the average age of its B777 fleet to just two years. The long-range aircraft are currently used on long-haul flights to Australia, Canada and Europe.
Next month, PAL will retire its B747-400, its flagship for its trans-Pacific route for the last two decades.
The B747 was the world’s most popular long-range aircraft until the manufacture of more fuel-efficient modern Boeing 777s.