By Emmie Abadilla
AirlineRatings.Com gave 4-Star carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) the “Most Improved Airline Award 2019” for the flag carrier’s “move to expand its global footprint using new generation fuel-efficient aircraft equipped with the latest cabins.”
“PAL has expanded its global footprint by more than 60 percent in recent years with innovative services such as a single-aisle A321neo flight between Manila and Brisbane and an A350-900 trans-polar route to New York,” according to the rating body.
“The four times weekly A321neo service featured the first flat-bed business product on a narrow-body aircraft operated to Australia and replaced three flights a week run by a fuel-hungry A340.”
AirlineRatings.Com pointed out that PAL’s fleet modernization initiatives is a move “which is seeing the new breed of more extended range, single-aisle planes replace bigger aircraft on routes of up to eight hours and part of an ongoing expansion by the Filipino carrier.”
The rating entity described the features of PAL’s brand new Airbus A321neos and A350-900s:
“The A321neo offers12 flatbed business class seats and 156 economy seats with in-seat power, seatback screens and Wi-Fi access across all cabins.”
“The brand new A350-900 came configured with 30 business class seats set in a 1-2-1 format and offered a seat pitch of 44 inches and seat width of up to 24 inches.”
The seat reclines to a 78-inch fully-flat bed and features an adjustable air cushion to adjust seat firmness, lumbar massage feature, additional storage for personal items, power ports and augmented reading lights.
There are also 24 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration with a 38-inch seat pitch and a width of 19 inches.
The premium economy seats have a recline of up to 8 inches and come equipped with leg rest and footrest, additional front pockets for personal items, bottle holders, reading lights and power ports.
Economy class passengers also get a generous seat with 241 18-inch full seats in a 3-3-3 configuration and a seat pitch of 33 inches. There is a recline of up to six inches and four-way headrest and USB power ports.
In late October, PAL marked another historic milestone with the first non-stop service to New York from the Philippines.
AirlineRatings.Com cited PAL’s 16-hour journey from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport to land at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on the evening of the same day.
It also cited PAL’s extensive Asia network, as well as flights to London Heathrow, the Middle East and several North American destinations including New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles.
AirlineRatings.Com editors lauded PAL’s international and domestic route network expansion plans, citing the airline’s forthcoming services to the Japanese city of Sapporo, New Delhi and Mumbai in India.
The airline said last month other destinations are being eyed as more A350 aircrafts join the fleet. These include Seattle, Chicago, and a point in Western Europe.”
Also cited were routes on which PAL is boosting frequencies such as Cebu-Siargao, Davao-Tagbilaran, Davao-Clark, and Cebu-Bangkok.