A second A350-900 for Philippine Airlines (PAL) will land in Manila on Wednesday, less than one month after the airline took delivery of its first of the aircraft type on July 17. With three more A350s still on order, this aircraft will serve as a replacement for the airline’s aging A340-300 fleet. The Manila-based carrier has configured its newest Airbus flagship to feature 295 seats in total.
Business class features 30 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Every passenger will have access to the aisle. This comes as a major upgrade from the airline’s 777-300 business cabin that features angled lie-flat seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. In the premium cabin, the airline is installing the Vantage XL seat, made by Thompson Aero Seating. The seat is also used for Delta Air Line’s new Delta One suites.
In the premium economy cabin, 24 seats will be available in a 2-4-2 layout. The seat pitch for these seats will be 38 inches, five inches more than the seat pitch of the economy cabin onboard.
Everyone onboard PAL’s new A350s will have access to personal TVs and USB outlets. The airline is also promising free wifi for everyone on board, subject to time and volume caps.
Starting on Oct. 30, the A350 will begin flying nonstop between Manila and New York’s JFK airport. For the first time, this route will be operated without a stop in Vancouver, making the flight almost 17.5 hours. At 8,520 miles, this flight will officially be the longest from JFK, just about 700 miles shorter than the aircraft’s 9,200-mile range. Originally, the airline was going to operate the nonstop flight using the 777-300, but has since changed decisions and opted for the more fuel-efficient A350.
In addition to New York, the airline also plans to begin using the A350 on flights to London by October. PAL is also planning to operate the A350 twice a week to Bangkok. According to RoutesOnline, on Mondays and Fridays, the A330 will be replaced by the A350 on PR730/731. In total, the airline operates 21 weekly flights between the two Asian cities.
Officials at the airline said that other A350 destinations would be added within a year.
In 2017, the airline announced that it was in the final planning stage for its route expansion to the U.S. with flights between Houston and Manila via Vancouver. The airline has not yet officially announced Houston as a destination as it is still waiting to receive final regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), however when approved to operate the route, the city may be a candidate for the airline’s A350.
For Asia’s oldest airline, the delivery of the A350 signifies a big part of the carrier’s fleet modernization program, aiming to provide a more comfortable experience to the airline’s passengers.