The world’s latest wide-body airliner visited Manila on Wednesday, enticing local carriers to review their business plans with regards to airplane acquisition.
AirBus A350 visits Manila
The majestic Airbus A350 XWB landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that morning, wowing guests that are eager to try the airliner for the first time.
The large airliner was screaming with top of the line features–the latest in-flight entertainment system, an engine that burns 25-percent fuel, and a dynamic wing to name a few. After all, it carries a very hefty price.
The two largest carriers in the Philippines are considering this new plane, officials of both airlines said in separate interviews.
“This would be the next generation aircraft. We will study this very carefully,” Philippine Airlines President Jaime J. Bautista said.
He said the new aircraft can be an option for his company’s flights to transpacific destinations.
“This is a long haul aircraft which can fly even further than the A340. So, it can replace the long haul aircraft of any airline,” he added.
There is a need, Bautista said, but the decision will still have to be made after a thorough review of the prospect.
“There would be a need for us to get some long haul aircraft for expansion in North America, Europe and Rome,” he noted.
For his part, Cebu Pacific President Lance Y. Gokongwei said the possibility of his airline taking in an aircraft like the A350 will depend on the demand of the long haul market.
“I think we are just taking a look at the aircraft now. We are evaluating it among other aircraft. I think your fleet strategy always follows your network strategy, it really depends what route you plan to carry. This A350 is very ideal for long haul,” he said.
The A350 is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus widebody product line. Seating up to 369 passengers in a two class layout, the aircraft can fly on routes of up to 8,000 nautical miles, enabling non-stop service from Manila to Europe or North America.
The aircraft features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuelburn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.
For passengers, the A350 XWB brings new levels of in-flight comfort, with more personal space in all classes. In the premium cabin airlines can install the most luxurious lie-flat seats, while the extra wide fuselage allows for comfortable full service or budget layouts in economy class. The aircraft also features widerpanoramic windows, larger overhead stowage compartments and a new draught-free air conditioning system, as well as the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems.
The A350-900 being displayed in Manila is an Airbus flight test aircraft fitted with a two class cabin with 42 lie-flat business class seats in a four abreast configuration and 210 economy-class seatsset at nine abreast. The aircraft is also fitted with special on-board flight test equipment.
The A350 XWB has been especially successful in the Asia-Pacific region, where airlines have ordered a total of 244 aircraft, representing almost a third of the 780 orders recorded so far worldwide. Carriers from the region that have already ordered the aircraft for their future long haul operations include Asiana Airlines, Air China, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Japan Airlines,Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.