• Airbus emerges as top PH aircraft supplier

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    Toulouse, France: Airbus, a European aircraft manufacturer, said on Friday that it has emerged the leading supplier of aircraft in the above 100-seat-passenger aircraft category in the Philippines.

    From the best-selling single aisle A320 Family to the popular widebody A330 and A340, the manufacturer’s aircraft are flying with all the major carriers in the country, operating from short domestic flights to the longest intercontinental services to the United States.

    In recent years, Airbus recorded several high-profile orders from airlines in the country, including contracts from Philippine Airlines (PAL) in 2012 covering a total of 44 of A320 Family aircraft and 20 A330s.

    “This is the largest aircraft order in Philippine history and we’re delighted to partner once more with Airbus in creating aviation history,” said Ismael Augusto Gozon, senior vice president for operations of PAL.

    Airbus’s relationship with the Philippines is long-standing. It dates back to the manufacturer’s early days, when in 1978 PAL placed an initial order for the original A300B4—the world’s first widebody twinjet airliner.

    “Indeed, we are old friends. The partnership between PAL and Airbus goes back 35 years, to 1978, when we ordered our first A300-B4, making PAL the second Asian airline and first in Southeast Asia to order Airbus aircraft,” Gozon added.

    Affectionately dubbed the “Lovebus” by PAL, the first aircraft arrived in Manila in 1979, marking the start of an extremely successful partnership between the European manufacturer and the Philippines.

    With a maximum take-off weight of 235 tons, this aircraft is destined to be a game changer for PAL enabling us to open up new frontiers in our rapidly growing network as well as in service innovations for our passengers.

    We look forward to the rest of the deliveries until 2019 and, beyond that, to more collabo-ration with Airbus.

    At present, PAL operates 19 A320 Family aircraft on its domestic and regional network, nine A330s on regional services across Asia and seven A340-300s on long-range routes to the United States. Meanwhile, PAL Express operates 14 A320s on its domestic and regional network.

    “Today, we take our partnership with Airbus up a notch with this High Gross Weight version of the A330-300,” Gozon said.

    Asian network

    The country’s leading low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific became a customer for Airbus in 2004, when it selected the A320 Family to replace its existing fleet of DC-9 and B757 aircraft. Altogether, the airline has placed firm orders for 71 aircraft and is currently operating 34 A320 Family aircraft for its fast-growing Asian network.

    In 2011, Airbus finalized a major new order with Cebu Pacific for 30 of the latest generation A321neo, reaffirming the fast-growing carrier’s all-Airbus fleet status in the jet category.

    In 2013, Cebu Pacific took delivery of the first two of four A330s being leased by the airline. The widebody aircraft are currently operated by Cebu Pacific on domestic and regional routes, before launching its long-haul services to the Middle East, bringing the carrier’s value-based concept to new markets.

    In addition to the country’s two biggest airlines, Airbus aircraft also form the backbone of a number of carriers operating in the low-cost market.

    These include Zest Air, which currently operates 11 A320 Family aircraft on its domestic network, as well as on its new international services to Asian destinations.

    The year 2011 saw the addition of two new Airbus operators in the Philippines. First was Seair (now Tigerair Philippines) which now operates five A320 Family aircraft in partnership with Tiger Airways of Singapore.

    Seair was followed in August 2011 by AirAsia Philippines, which took delivery of its first two aircraft to develop its domestic and regional network out of the Philippines.

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