PAL Bids Farewell to the Queen of the Skies

Time To Say Goodbye!

April 24, 2014

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will bid farewell to its flagship fleet of Boeing 747-400 in May as it completes the first stage of its major fleet modernisation programme.

The airline signed a $9.5-billion deal with Airbus in August of 2012 covering 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo (new engine option) and 10 A330-343s with 10 more options slated for delivery between 2013 to 2019. In 2013 however, 5 A330-343 option orders were traded for 8 additional A321neos as part of fleet renewal.

No announcement has been made by the airline as to the last flight of the seven four sevens whose retirement has been announced Tuesday.

PAL’s main long-range fleet of six Boeing 777-300ERs were set to replace its four aging Boeing 747-400s plying the Manila to San Francisco and Los Angeles routes, PAL President and COO Ramon S. Ang said.

“2013 was a clean-up year for PAL as we go through the costly yet necessary fleet renewal process but we are on track with our goals and we remain committed to improving your airline’s financial and operational performance,” says Ang in a statement.

Ang also added that switching to fuel-efficient B777s would result in about $160 million in annual fuel and maintenance savings in the near-term for the airline.

PAL reported a comprehensive loss amounting to $229.7M for the first nine months of 2013 following a one-off expense of $261M consisting of 20 pre-termination penalty payments of its sold-and-leased-back jets covering four Boeing 747-400s, four Airbus 340-300s, eight Airbus 330-300s, and four Airbus 320-200s to be stricken off its fleet this year. 

Ang likewise discloses that by 2015 PAL will be one of Asia’s airline operating the youngest fleet at 4.5 years old seen to reduce costs amid expected productivity gains.

Ang did not answer queries whether new wide body orders for long haul are forthcoming but said the airline’s six Boeing 777s would be “enough, for now” to the US West Coast and soon to be launch flights to the US East Coast, the airlines most profitable destination.


  1. Any plans for PAL to order more 777's and/or add 787's to its long haul fleet?

  2. ^Check the last paragraph.

  3. Paging PAL's Marketing Department, you can hype this up.

  4. It's a nice idea but I don't think it will work on the Filipino market for several reasons. 1) The final flights would be Transpacific, thus it would require a visa and the ticket's quite expensive. 2) This would only be an exciting news to the aviation geeks. The local market might even say "So what? What the hell is a 747?". The local market isn't like the SG and AUS market. Those are rich markets and are fully aware of aircrafts. That's the reason why the first a380 flight was a PR success. In PAL's case, it would just make the carrier spend money and get almost nothing in return. That's the ugly and sad truth.

    1. I do not get you to be honest.
      PAL is making a right decision on replacing the aging Boeing 747.
      Its causing PAL to be on the red zone on paying so much on fuel and maintenance.
      With the new B777 it will save lots of money from its fuel efficiency and direct flight to US Destinations without stop overs which cost lots of money too.
      PAL will surely benefit from this. This is a step for PAL to become profit as they will also open to profitable US Routes.
      Once they become more profitable they will eventually upgrade their service as this is just a beginning to become a successful airline

    2. What I'm saying that won't work is creating a lot of noise and PR for the 747 retirement. :)

  5. PAL enters a new era at a difficult juncture. It cannot decide if it is going to be a normal air carrier or a cheap, budget carrier.
    If PAL is serious about long-haul business, it needs to update its business class and dump those not quite flat recliners. They're a nuisance.
    And they need to get IFE in their wide-body planes and the planes they use for regional flights to keep up with competition.
    Finally, they need proper hand towels in their rest rooms!

  6. From whom did PAL lease the Iberia A340s? if it's from Airbus corp and if they got it at a deep discount, chances are that part of the deal will be orders for the A350. I.e., Airbus provided a temporary plane until they can deliver A350s.

  7. Philippine Airlines is set to retire its fleet of Boeing 747-400s on Monday May 12 with morning ceremonies to be held at Villamor Airbase compound in Pasay City. The last flight of the 747 is PR105 from San Francisco leaving today Saturday scheduled to arrive early Monday Morning. Watch out for the announcement!

  8. Philippine Airlines has announced that it is extending Boeing 747-400 operations until 31 AUG 14 due to capacity issues in San Francisco. The airline will begin daily Boeing 777 services in 1 SEP 14. The airline previously announce extension to operate B747 service until 30 JUN 14, but increase booking led airline to postpone eventual retirement.