PAL Gearing For A350-900

Why Airbus?

29 August 2015

A330/A340 to A350 In Eight Days
There is no official announcement just yet but Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expecting to order the Airbus A350-900 in couple of days following Cathay Pacific direction in fleet planning.

Commonality favored the European planemaker as it offered cost efficiency and savings to the airline from simplified pilot training that will run only for eight (8) days from A330-300 and A340-300 operations to A350-900 flights.

The airline will announce the decision favoring the European manufacturer soon after it considered the A350 a good compromise for efficiency and capacity, coupled with frame commonality to existing fleet that would consolidate pilot rating of the Airbus A330/A340 and the A350.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already approved common type rating for A330/A340 and A350 aircraft types last year.

According to Airbus, the "differences training" of A330/A340 to A350 aircraft types does not necessitate the use of a ground-based full-flight-simulator, which allowed it a 65 percent reduction in pilot training time comprising eight days as compared to standard transition course.

Airbus said the training course facilitates the creation of a pool of pilots who can fly both the A330/A340 and A350 XWB in a single-fleet flying (SFF) concept for increased scheduling flexibility and mobility.

The conversion course involves 4-day ground course plus 4 days of systems training, afterwards A330/A340 pilots make their first take-off and first landing in the A350.

PAL admits that Boeing 787-900 is a tough competitor having more range than the Airbus A350-900 but it is a smaller plane compared to the latter. Its flight operations department argued that the Airbus plane can carry more passengers and cargo, and has better economics than its Boeing counterpart to its proposed destination.

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