According to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network, PAL’s narrowbodies are powered by CFM International engines, and all its widebodies, with the exception of its CFM-powered Airbus A340s, use General Electric powerplants.
The carrier says it has four Airbus A319s, 14 A320s, eight A330s, four Airbus A340-300s, three Boeing 777-300ERs and five Boeing 747-400s.
PAL’s decision to go with the higher capacity A321 is significant. Not only does it add a new type to PAL’s fleet, it also mirrors a fleet decision by the airline’s largest local competitor, Cebu Pacific Air, which has ordered A321s.
Cebu Pacific CEO-advisor Garry Kingshott also has said publicly that slot constraints at Manila airport mean the importance of the larger capacity narrowbody “cannot be underestimated.”
With its higher capacity, PAL may also use the A321 to replace some of its widebodies on short-haul international routes. PAL, for example, operates A340s and 747-400s from Manila to Hong Kong.
The A321 has a much lower operating cost than the aging, four-engine widebodies.
As for PAL’s decision to order more A330s, it may be a sign that the airline is preparing to pull 777-300ERs from its medium-haul Asia Pacific routes, such as those it serves from the Philippines to Australia and Tokyo.
PAL originally ordered the 777-300ERs for routes to the U.S.