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Philippine Airlines joins A350 club, counts down to Manila-New York launch

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 17, 2018
Philippine Airlines's first Airbus A350-900 takes off from Toulouse. (Airbus)
Philippine Airlines’s first Airbus A350-900 takes off from Toulouse. (Airbus)

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900, paving the way for the opening of yet another ultra long haul route.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista accepted the first of six A350-900s at the official ceremony held in Toulouse on July 14 with Airbus and airline executives in attendance alongside invited guests and media.

The aircraft, RP-C3501, arrived at Manila Airport on July 15.

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Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista accepts his airline's first A350-900. (Airbus)
Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista accepts his airline’s first A350-900. (Airbus)

The airline plans to utilise the next generation widebody to launch five times weekly nonstop Manila-New York flights. Currently, PAL serves New York JFK from its Manila hub as a one-stop flight via Vancouver.

The Manila-New York route measures 7,404nm according to the Great Circle Mapper. It will be the seventh longest nonstop route by distance when it takes off at the end of October.

PAL has configured its A350-900s to carry 295 passengers with 30 lie-flat seats in business class offering direct aisle access, 24 seats in premium economy in a 2-4-2 layout and 241 seats in economy at nine abreast.

“The arrival of the A350 XWB will see PAL offer new levels of comfort on our long haul flights,” Bautista said in a statement.

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“At the same time we will benefit from the A350 XWB’s new generation efficiency, with a significant reduction in fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs.

“We believe that the A350 XWB will be a game changer for PAL as we compete with the best in the premium long haul market.”

Philippine Airlines plans to open up nonstop flights from Manila to New York with its A350-900. (Airbus)
Philippine Airlines plans to open up nonstop flights from Manila to New York with its A350-900. (Airbus)

Flight PR126 is scheduled to depart Manila at 2000 and arrive in New York JFK 15 hours and 15 minutes later at 2315 the same day.

The reciprocal PR127 is an overnight service, taking off from New York JFK at 0145 and touching down in Manila at 0715 the next day for a total travel time of 16 hours and 30 minutes.

While Australians heading to New York may find Manila a rather circuitous routing, travellers from this country heading to Europe will also be able to sample PAL’s A350-900 as the airline plans to switch its daily Manila-London Heathrow nonstop flight from the Boeing 777-300ER to the next generation Airbus widebody.

The A350 family of aircraft is also a contender for Qantas’s Project Sunrise challenge to Airbus and Boeing for an aircraft capable of operating nonstop between Australia’s east coast and London and New York.

It is up against Boeing’s 777-8X, which is still in development.


VIDEO: A look at how Philippine Airlines’ first A350-900 came together from Airbus’ YouTube channel.

Current longest nonstop passenger flights by distance (nautical miles)

1. Auckland-Doha (7,848nm) – operated by Qatar Airways with Boeing 777-200LR.

Qatar is welcomed to Auckland. (Mike Millett)
Qatar is welcomed to Auckland. (Mike Millett)

2. London Heathrow-Perth (7,829nm) – operated by Qantas Airways with Boeing 787-9

QF9 touches down in London for the first time after flying nonstop from Perth. (Qantas)
QF9 touches down in London for the first time after flying nonstop from Perth. (Qantas)

3. Auckland-Dubai (7,668nm) – operated by Emirates Airline with Airbus A380

Emirates Airbus A380's inaugural Auckland-Dubai flight. (Mike Millett)
Emirates Airbus A380’s inaugural Auckland-Dubai flight. (Mike Millett)

4. Los Angeles-Singapore (7,621nm) – operated by United with Boeing 787-9. (And Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR from November 2 2018)

An artist's impression of an Airbus A350-900ULR in Singapore Airlines colours. (Airbus)
An artist’s impression of an Airbus A350-900ULR in Singapore Airlines colours. (Airbus)

5. Houston-Sydney (7,470nm) – operated by United with Boeing 787-9

United Boeing 787-9 N35393 at Sydney Airport. (Kurt Ams/Sydney Airport)
United Boeing 787-9 N35393 at Sydney Airport. (Kurt Ams/Sydney Airport)

6. Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,454nm) – operated by Qantas with Airbus A380

Qantas flight QF7 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW Airport)
Qantas flight QF7 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW Airport)

7. San Francisco-Singapore (7,339nm) – operated by United with Boeing 787-9 and Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900

Singapore Airlines A350-900 9V-SME touches down at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Rob Finlayson)
Singapore Airlines A350-900 9V-SME touches down at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Rob Finlayson)

8. Atlanta-Johannesburg (7,333nm) – operated by Delta Air Lines with Boeing 777-200LR

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

9. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles (7,291nm) – operated by Etihad Airways with Boeing 777-300ER

A file image of an Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER. (Steve Bottom)
A file image of an Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER. (Steve Bottom)
Planned future routes

1. New York Newark-Singapore (8,285nm) – to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From October 11.
2. Manila-New York (JFK) (7,404nm) – to be operated by Philippine Airlines with Airbus  A350-900. From October 29 2018

Philippine Airlines' first Airbus A350-900 arrives in Manila. (Philippine Airlines/Facebook)
Philippine Airlines’ first Airbus A350-900 arrives in Manila. (Philippine Airlines/Facebook)

3. Auckland-Chicago (7,111nm) – to be operated by Air New Zealand with Boeing 787-9. From November 30 2018

An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Andrew Aley)
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Auckland Airport. (Andrew Aley)

4. Hong Kong-Washington DC (7,085nm) to be operated by Cathay Pacific with Airbus A350-1000. From September 15 2018

Cathay Pacific staff pose in from of the A350-1000. (Airbus)
Cathay Pacific staff pose in from of the A350-1000. (Airbus)
Speculated routes

1. Sydney-London (LHR) (9,188nm) – Qantas
2. Sydney-New York (JFK) (8,646nm) – Qantas
3. Sydney-Chicago (ORD) (8,022nm) – Qantas
4. Melbourne-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,814nm) – Qantas
5. Auckland-New York (JFK) (7,672nm) – Air New Zealand

An artist's impression of the Boeing 777-8X. (Boeing)
An artist’s impression of the Boeing 777-8X. (Boeing)

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3 Comments

  • Christian Cuevas

    says:

    Correction on the Planned future routes:
    The A350 that Philippine Airlines uses is not the ULR but the High Gross Weight version.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Dear Christian,
      The story has been updated. Apologies for the error.

  • Rick Hawthorne

    says:

    Congratulations to PAL on their choice. The cabin layout looks fresh and well up-to-date. I’m enjoying their Premium Economy product on the MNL-SYD run with their reconfigured A330 300s so I hope to fly on the A350 in the future.

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