MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Airlines is looking at adding the largest version of Airbus’s A350 series to its fleet, the flag carrier’s president said on Thursday.
The Southeast Asian nation’s first airline is undergoing a $2 billion expansion program to make its fleet one of the youngest in Asia.
“It is one airplane we can consider. It is a bigger version of the A350-900,” Jaime Bautista, president of the airline’s operator, PAL Holdings Inc, told reporters before an A350-1000 test flight in the capital Manila.
There is commonality in spare parts between the A350-900 and the A350-1000 and Philippine Airlines’ pilots can fly both aircraft, Bautista added.
In 2016, Philippine Airlines ordered six wide-body A350-900 jets worth about $1.8 billion at list prices to help the company expand its lucrative international network. The flag carrier expects to take delivery of 15 planes this year, including four Airbus A350s.
The A350-1000 is the largest version of the A350 series, and was launched to compete against Boeing’s 777s in the up to 400-seat market. Airbus will deliver this month the first A350-1000 jet to an airline, Qatar Airways.
Philippine Airlines expects to carry about 16.5 million passengers this year, up from last year’s total of almost 15 million.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Stephen Coates