MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Philippine Airlines is seeking to acquire additional Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 widebody aircraft to bolster the post-pandemic resumption of long-haul flights.

However, the airline is facing challenges in finding available planes, according to acting President and COO Stanley Ng. He also mentioned that the privately-owned flag carrier is open to new investors.

Despite a positive outlook for the year, driven by robust local demand and China reopening, supply-chain issues and competition with global carriers for aircraft and spare parts are hampering growth. Ng told the Inquirer newspaper that while the airline aims to finalize new orders, delivery of new aircraft could take up to two years.

Having emerged from a brief, voluntary bankruptcy process 16 months ago, Philippine Airlines reduced its fleet size during the pandemic and returned several aircraft to lessors. The airline currently flies to New York JFK 4x weekly from Manila, using its remaining A350-900s and nine B777-300(ER)s. Ten A330-300s complete its widebody fleet.

Acquiring used aircraft is not a viable option due to the time and cost needed for reconfiguration. As a result, Philippine Airlines will not launch new long-haul routes this year. Supply-chain bottlenecks are causing further delays in fixing even minor issues like broken tray tables and seat recliners.

Parent company PAL Holdings plans to acquire ten more aircraft over the next five years, expanding its fleet size to approximately 80 aircraft as older jets retire. Currently, Philippine Airlines and domestic unit PAL Express operate a total of 75 aircraft, with 13 still grounded awaiting return to service.

Regarding potential investors, Ng stated that the company is open to new partners, with interest expressed from Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines. ANA Holdings, which previously held a 9.5% stake in PAL Holdings, now owns less than 1% following the bankruptcy process.