Flag carrier Philippine Airlines said Thursday it reset the schedule for its refleeting program, as it now expects to complete the acquisition of 38 new aircraft by 2024, or four years behind the original plan.
PAL president Jaime Bautista told reporters five Airbus 321 aircraft would be delivered this year, five less than the original plan, as part of the agreement with French aircraft manufacturer Airbus. PAL ordered 38 aircraft until 2020, but is negotiating to extend the delivery until 2024.
“There would be two airplanes that will be delivered in March, two in April and one in June… We are working with the Airbus on the deferment of orders. This year, we should take delivery of 10, but we are working on a delivery of only five,” Bautista said.
He said Airbus already “agreed in principle” to the deferment and “fortunately our negotiation with Airbus is without penalty and there is no interest.”
“All our orders are A321 which we can use for domestic and regional [flights],” he said.
The delivery of the 38 Airbus 321 is estimated to cost $3 billion which the company plans to fund through various options which it has yet to finalize.
“Right now we have 73 airplanes, at the PAL Group, we operate six 777, six A340. We have 14 A330-300 brand new, and then we have four Q300 and five Q400 and the rest are Airbus A320,” Bautista said.
He said PAL would continue serving existing routes and was set to fly to New York on March 15, 2015, or 18 years after it pulled out from the route.
“We are prioritizing our US network expansion, after the lifting of the Category 2 rating in answer to the clamor of the huge Filipino community in the US East Coast,” Bautista said earlier.
Filipinos in the East Coast account for 15 percent of the estimated 3.4 million-strong Filipino population in the US, comprising a natural base market for PAL.
The new service will operate four times weekly between Manila and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
New York brings to five the US network of PAL, in addition to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.