MANILA, PHILIPINNES — Philippine Airlines (PAL) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to acquire nine A350-1000 aircraft, marking its first major fleet expansion since undergoing business restructuring. 

These new jets will be deployed on ultra-long-haul routes to North America and Europe.

PAL's commitment, formalized on May 10, is set to conclude the airline's 'Ultra Long Haul Fleet' project. The first of these A350-1000s is expected to be delivered in 2025, with the deliveries continuing until 2027. PAL has also secured purchase rights for an additional three A350-1000s, to facilitate further expansion.

The airline's decision comes a few months after PAL CEO Stanley Ng hinted at reevaluating its order book and considering the larger A350-1000. It is likely that the new aircraft will replace the current Boeing 777-300ERs, which constitute the majority of PAL's long-haul fleet. The airline currently operates nine Boeing 777s, ranging in age from five to 13 years old.

PAL's new A350s will supplement the two existing A350-900s in its fleet. The airline previously operated a more extensive A350 fleet but scaled back during its restructuring process.

The new A350-1000 aircraft will feature three classes: business, premium economy, and economy. However, PAL has not disclosed the number of seats in each class. According to Ng, the addition of these A350s will allow PAL to fly non-stop transpacific and transpolar routes throughout the year, as well as reestablish direct connections between the Philippines and Europe.

In addition to the A350s, PAL's fleet includes A330s, which primarily serve medium-haul routes to the Middle East and Australia, and A320 family aircraft, which are utilized for domestic and intra-Asian flights.