PHILIPPINE Airlines brought home the world’s latest Airbus aircraft, the extra wide body A350-900, on Sunday afternoon amid a traditional water canon salute at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (NAIA 2).
Heading the ferry flight from Toulouse, France was PAL president Jaime Bautista, who declared that the flag carrier’s new and magnificent acquisition would definitely lead to the airline’s goal of a five-star rating.
PAL is now part of an elite roster of airlines around the world with the very modern A350-900 among its fleet. Besides sleeker and roomier spaces across Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy, the giant of a plane runs efficiently on less fuel for long haul destinations with a much quieter Rolls Royce engine.
According to Bautista, this is but the first of six orders of the A350 made by PAL with Airbus. The official delivery of the plane from Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse marked the 40th year since PAL’s first Airbus acquisition in 1978.
On Tuesday, July 17, the A350 will receive a grand welcome in its newest home in the Philippines, the roll-out coinciding with the 83rd birthday celebration of PAL owner Lucio Tan. An estimated 1,000 guests are invited to the event, as the company awaits the confirmation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s attendance.
The A350 will initially fly to Hong Kong for the rest of July and will begin deployment on the nonstop Manila-London Heathrow by August. TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA