Philippine Airlines introduces new A330

The night prior to RP-C8760’s maiden Hong Kong flight, PAL invited some guests to showcase the aircraft's modern amenities.

Philippine Airlines introduces new A330

The night prior to RP-C8760’s maiden Hong Kong flight, PAL invited some guests to showcase the aircraft’s modern amenities. PAL officials at the event suggested that with the new on-board amenities, the airline was trying to create a comfortable experience for passengers that is reminiscent of what can be found in a modern hotel.

On May 16, Philippine Airlines’ first bi-class A330 High Gross Weight aircraft, RP-C8760, made its maiden commercial flight to Hong Kong, just barely a month after it was delivered. PR306 departed Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 3:39 pm and arrived in Hong Kong International Airport at 5:30 pm. The return flight, PR307, landed in Manila at 8:33 pm.

Philippine Airlines continued to deploy RP-C8760 to Hong Kong the following day during its morning PR300 and PR301 flights. On May 17, PR300 departed Manila at 8:23 am and landed in Hong Kong at 10:11 am. The aircraft is currently only being scheduled for one round-trip flight per day.

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The High Gross Weight Airbus A330 features PAL’s new Business Class product with 18 V-shaped flat-bed seats produced by Sogerma, 27 Premium Economy seats and 323 Regular Economy seats. In lieu of traditional seat-back in-flight entertainment (IFE), the flag-carrier opted to provide passengers with their own devices access to its IFE collection through wireless (WiFi) streaming technology called OnAir Play. Passengers using iOS (i.e. iPhone, iPad) or Android devices need to download a special app before boarding their flight to access the aircraft’s IFE database. For passengers that do not bring their own personal device, PAL has iPads available for rent on board. These are complimentary to Business Class passengers but for all other passengers, additional fees apply.

Philippine Airlines originally ordered 20 of these A330 aircraft as part of a massive re-fleeting exercise to expand its operations, replace older aircraft, and to give Asia’s first airline one of the youngest fleets in the region. Twelve of these aircraft were to be configured in the bi-class configuration. However, Philippine Airlines cancelled five of them for reasons that are still unclear.

The new A330 aircraft will also be deployed to Tokyo Haneda, Nagoya, Bangkok, Seoul, and possibly Honolulu. However, it is unclear when these other destinations will start enjoying the new bi-class A330 aircraft on a regular basis. According to Airbus, this 242-tonne aircraft can fly up to 6,100 nautical miles, which covers the distance between Manila and Dublin or Manila and San Francisco when using a great circle route.

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