Philippine Airlines studies the replacement of the A340

Philippine Airlines revealed last month that it was studying possible replacements for its existing fleet of A340 aircraft. Philippine Airlines President Jaime Bautista says the carrier plans to have a replacement by 2020. But many passengers are hoping the national carrier will act sooner as experience on board the carrier’s A340 fleet is significantly lower. to his modern Boeing 777. fleet.

Photo credit: Angelo Agcamaran / PPSG

Philippine Airlines’ A340 fleet is considered fuel efficient and expensive to operate. For passengers, these are dated planes showing their age and lacking modern flight amenities synonymous with a world-class carrier, such as personal televisions and video-on-demand at every seat.

Philippine Airlines currently operates six of these aircraft. The average age of the A340s in the PAL fleet is 14.3 years. Although planes were to retire earlier, the recent drop in global fuel prices has extended their lives with Philippine Airlines.

Despite their age and lack of energy efficiency, former PAL president Ramon Ang ordered four additional planes in 2013 to operate transpacific and possibly European routes, while it was still uncertain whether the Philippines would step out of Category 2 status imposed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Philippine Airlines’ A340 fleet currently operates flights from Manila to Bangkok, Xiamen, London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco and New York. Although Philippine Airlines is considering eventually phasing out the aircraft type, PAL chairman Jaime Bautista has said they need to complete the carrier’s long-term fleet plan first.

“We are in the process of preparing a long term fleet plan for PAL,” said Bautista. “What we have finalized is only for national and regional service, but for long journeys we have not yet finalized our fleet plan.”

According to Bautista, Philippine Airlines has evaluated the Boeing 787 and A350 planes as a possible replacement. These aircraft would complement the six Boeing 777s and fifteen A330s that make up the rest of PAL’s long-haul fleet.

“We’re going to change the A340 over time because they’re twelve-year-old planes. Maybe over the next five years,” Bautista said. He added that the A340 consumes a lot of fuel and costs more to maintain.

Philippine Airlines also has the option of buying used planes if it doesn’t want to wait for delivery slots for brand new planes. A number of airlines announced last month that they would sell their Boeing 777 fleets.

philippines airlines b777
Photo credit: Angelo Agcamaran / PPSG

More recently, Malaysia Airlines revealed that it will sell its four Boeing 777-200ERs and its entire A380 fleet as part of a financial restructuring plan. All four Boeing 777s are available for immediate purchase. However, Philippine Airlines operates the Boeing 777-300ER and it remains unclear whether PAL would be interested in operating another variant.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways and Jet Airways are both parting ways with their Boeing 777-300ER fleets. Kenya Airways sells three planes, while Jet Airways sells ten planes.

Although the Jet Airways planes date back to 2007, the Kenya Airways planes are much newer as they were delivered between 2013 and 2014. Kenya Airways wishes to remove the aircraft type from its fleet as it is having difficulty filling it. plane, while Jet Airways wants to use the money raised from the sale of its planes to raise capital and repay debt.

It is believed that the value of the Jet Airways 777 aircraft at current market prices is estimated to be between US $ 81 million and US $ 97 million. As the Boeing 777-300 nears the end of production in favor of the next-generation Boeing 777-9X, several older Boeing 777-300s will enter the market for sale.

According to Ascend Aviation Consulting, at least fifteen Boeing 777-300ERs are currently operating on lease with global carriers who are expected to return them over the next two years. However, if Philippine Airlines wishes to order new Boeing 777s, the first delivery slots currently available are in 2018.

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