Philippine Airlines Joins The Premium Economy Club

Philippines national carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to launch a premium Economy cabin from 2017 retrofitting its Airbus A330 and equipping directly its future Airbus A350. The decision was taken to strengthen the positioning of the carrier as a full-fledged service carrier, positioning the carrier into the circle of legacy carriers. PAL is indeed now experiencing competition on its long haul network as Cebu Pacific has been moving since 2014 into the long haul market. Cebu Pacific is now flying to Australia, the USA and the Gulf.

PAL will then be the 11th carrier in Asia Pacific to propose a premium economy cabin according to consulting air specialist CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation). It will be in Southeast Asia the second to offer a Premium Economy product after Singapore Airlines. PAL decision will include the introduction of a new premium economy seat with a special layout and cabin. The carrier is planning to equip half of its Airbus A330 fleet (8 aircraft over 15) and on all of its six future Airbus A350-900. The A350 is due for delivery by 2018.

The Premium Economy is likely to be first introduced to flights to the Middle East and to Australia which are served by the Airbus A330. They are no plans to equip PAL Boeing 777 – the ones flying to the USA/Canada and London-with a premium economy. However, some of the routes will be served in the future by the A350 -such as London- and will then bear the new product.

With the delivery of the A350, Philippine Airlines announced already to look for launching non-stop flights to New York- they are currently served via Vancouver- and possibly to Toronto- also served via Vancouver. The Filipino national carrier is likely to also open a second route to Europe- most probably Frankfurt or Paris and also serve Perth in Western Australia.