Philippine Airlines is in discussions with Boeing to acquire two new Boeing 777X aircraft. Boeing is reported to be pushing the 777X as a replacement for two of Philippine Airlines’ older 777-300ER aircraft. This would be welcome news for Boeing after it now seems like their 777X program will be delayed.
Philippine Airlines’ 777-300ERs
Philippine Airlines (PAL) operates 10 777-300ERs. Overall, these are relatively young aircraft as they first started to acquire the 777-300ERs in 2008. These 777-300ERs are outfitted with 370 seats in a two-class configuration.
In terms of size, the 777-300ER is the largest in PAL’s fleet. Aside from the 777, Philippine Airlines also operates A350-900s and A330s, however, the A350-900s are much smaller than the 777s.
Philippine Airlines likely has two ways to go when it comes to 777-300ER replacement. The A350-1000 would complement their A350-900 and would allow Philippine Airlines to be an all-Airbus airline. However, Philippine Airlines has pilots trained to fly on the 777-300ER. And, it would likely be much easier to retrain 777-300ER pilots on the new 777X. In addition, the 777X will give PAL additional seating capacity compared to the A350-1000.
Recently, Philippine Airlines has introduced new seating on their A350 aircraft that they could likely replicate on their 777X aircraft, while still maintaining capacity. For additional standardization, it would make sense that Philippine Airlines wants to maintain capacity while introducing the same product on all their long-haul fleet. Here is a video of Philippine Airlines’ new business class:
Philippine Airlines’ 777X order
The Philippine Star reports that Philippine Airlines is potentially looking at acquiring two Boeing 777X aircraft to replace their two oldest 777-300ERs.
Orders for two 777X could just be the start as Philippine Airlines seeks fleet renewal. In the future, Philippine Airlines could expand its 777X order book to cover additional aircraft renewal. While Philippine Airlines is not aggressively seeking expansion, they could take delivery of some 777X aircraft to launch new long-haul services. The range would not be a major issue on the 777X, since many points in Europe and North America are accessible with this aircraft.
Will PAL order the 777X?
An order for two aircraft represents one small order. This order is interesting in the sense that it indicates Philippine Airlines is looking on a short-term basis when it comes to fleet renewal. A larger order would give them a larger discount, however, Philippine Airlines also needs to return to profitability. As a result, they likely do not have a major influx of cash to devote to a new aircraft order. Unless, of course, ANA decides to offer PAL additional cash.
In addition, Boeing will likely offer attractive 777X pricing as a way to overcome some of the recent negative headlines they’ve faced with their 787s and 737 MAX, not to mention the impending 777X delay.
Do you think Philippine Airlines should order the 777X? Let us know in the comments!