Philippine Airlines bolsters fleet to go nonstop to US

Philippine Airlines orders A350-900 jets for non-stop service
Philippine Airlines orders A350-900 jets for non-stop service   

Philippine Airlines has placed an order for six A350-900 jets with Airbus, with the option to purchase a further six, the two companies announced at the Singapore Airshow Wednesday.

The list price is $1.8 billion, Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said at a press conference at the airshow Wednesday, but added, "regretfully, PAL didn't pay the catalog price."

The order will allow Philippine Airlines to add nonstop service between Manila and the U.S. West Coast and to New York. Currently, PAL's New York-to-Manila route stops over in Vancouver.

The nonstop services will place the Philippine carrier into direct competition with other airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and United Airlines, which are planning long-haul nonstop flights to the U.S. from Asia. The flights are particularly popular with business travelers as they avoid long layovers.

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Currently, Emirates is operating the longest nonstop flight, a more than 17 hour trek between its home base of Dubai and Panama City.

Other lengthy flights include Dallas to Sydney (almost 17 hours), Johannesburg to Atlanta (16 hours 40 minutes) and Dubai to Los Angeles (16 hours 35 minutes), according to the AFP.

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PAL also hopes to use the new Airbus jets to add more flights to Europe.

The Philippines had been placed on the European Union blacklist in 2010 due to safety concerns about the country, but in 2013, PAL was allowed to resume flights to the region and the carrier currently flies to London. It is hoping to add flights to destinations including Paris and Amsterdam.

PAL is also planning to add a nonstop flight from Cebu to Los Angeles next month on the A340.

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