On July 2, 2018, Philippine Airlines (PAL) started deploying the highly sophisticated Airbus A321neo jet on a fourth weekly flight to Brisbane, Australia, the fastest non-stop service on the route.
The maiden flight carried 151 Brisbane-bound passengers, arriving July 3, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The return flight had 155 (on a 156-seater aircraft).
The flag carrier’s first A321neo, fitted with two powerful engines (Pratt & Whitney GTF), covered the more than 5,800-kilometer distance between Manila and Brisbane in less than eight hours.
The game-changing A321neo, which has a maximum range of more than 7,400 kilometers, has enhanced cabin features including 12 full-flat Business Class seats, 156 Economy seats with wider legroom, in-seat TV monitors on all seats, free wifi connection (subject to time and volume limits), further reduced noise levels and myPAL eSuite to access more inflight entertainment selections.
PAL’s single-aisle jet service to Brisbane every Monday has been added to the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday departures from Manila. With the fourth frequency, PAL now operates a total of 16 weekly flights to three points in Australia – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
For delivery are six A321neos until 2019. The first and second arrived in May and June 2018.
PAL first flew to Brisbane on June 5, 1981 using a DC-10 tri-jet. Service was suspended in 1998. It briefly re-opened in 2009 until 2010. The service resumed in May 2013, using the A320-200 with a stop-over in Darwin. The flights were upgraded last March 2018 to the four-engine A340-400.
PAL’s recent operations to Australia have utilized the wide-body Boeing 777-300ER and A340-400. Current service to Sydney and Melbourne use the tri-class A330-300. Advancements in jet engine technology have made the fuel-efficient A321neo ideal for medium-range routes with medium-size traffic.
PAL has been flying to Australia for more than 50 years. A PAL DC-8 first landed in Sydney in October 1965. Other destinations previously served include Darwin, Perth and Cairns. An estimated 304,000 Filipinos reside/work throughout Australia, 21,000 of whom are in Brisbane (as of 2016).