The first of Philippine Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 aircraft has arrived, paving the way for aircraft upgauges on its services to London Heathrow and New York towards the end of this year.
The new aircraft is the first of six that Philippine Airlines has on order and which it plans to operate primarily on non-stop services to Europe and North America.
As previously reported by Business Traveller, this notably includes its flights to New York, which at 17 hours are set to become the longest route in Philippine Airlines’ network when the current stopover in Vancouver is dropped in favour of a non-stop service.
This change is set to take effect from the end of October, with the A350 taking over the newly non-stop route shortly after, on November 4.
“The arrival of the A350 XWB will see Philippine Airlines offer new levels of comfort on our long-haul flights,” said Jaime J Bautista, the airline’s president and COO.
“At the same time we will benefit from the A350 XWB’s new generation efficiency, with a significant reduction in fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs. We believe that the A350 XWB will be a game changer for Philippine Airlines as we compete with the best in the premium long-haul market.”
So what can travellers expect from the newest member of Philippine Airlines’ fleet?
The A350 has been outfitted with three classes comprising 295 seats in total, utilising the Airspace by Airbus cabin that offers comfort-focused details such as improved space, mood lighting and better humidity control.
The business class cabin offers 30 seats laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning direct aisle access for all passengers. All seats are able to recline to a fully flat position.
Seats are staggered, with the window seats alternating between being closer to the window or the aisle. For solo travellers, this means seats A and K on rows 3, 5, and 7 are closer to the window, offering greater privacy.
The centre D and G seats, meanwhile, alternate between being positioned to the right or to the left, meaning you always have the same distance between yourself and your immediate neighbour. Row 1 also has just two seats in the centre with no aisle seats beside them, though these are particularly close to the lavatories.
Premium economy, meanwhile, is laid out in a 2-4-2 formation with 24 seats spread across three rows.
Finally, the 241 remaining seats in the economy class cabin are configured nine-across with each offering 18 inches of width.
Currently, the A350 appears set to debut on Philippine Airlines’ route between Manila and London starting October 28, though travellers likely will see the aircraft deployed sporadically on regional routes before then as the airline’s crew gets familiarised with it.
Philippine Airlines is now the 19th carrier to operate the A350-900.