By Loreto D. Cabañes
Toronto, Canada – Philippine Airlines (PAL) took delivery of the new generation Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft to boost its fleet for domestic operations. PAL thus became the launch airline for the new generation Bombardier Q400, the world’s first dual class 86-seat aircraft.
According to PAL President Jaime Bautista, Bombardier Q400 is the first of five ordered by the airline last December. The other four will be delivered in the next four months.
The initial aircraft was acquired by the Lucio Tan-owned airline through a lease financing provided by Mitsui & Co. (Asia Pacific) Pte, Ltd. Similar financing scheme will also be provided for the next deliveries. Each aircraft costs $31.5 million.
Attending the turnover ceremony Thursday, July 20, at the Bombardier facility here were Philippine Ambassador to Canada and PH Permanent Rep. to the International Civil Aeronautics Organization Petronila P. Garcia, Canadian Sen, Tobias Enverga (of Philippine ancestry), Ontario MP Michael Levitt, Francois Cognard, VP sales Australia and sea, Todd Young, VP Q400 program and customer service, Ross Mitchell VP commercial operations, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, PAL president Bautista, Lito Gonzales, VP for corporte planning, Noriyuki Moriyama, Mitsui & Co. (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd. GM Manila Branch, country Chairman, representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and JV Tan, PAL VP for finance.
Now registered as RP-C5 901, the first of the four aircraft left Toronto yesterday, July 21, for its 7-even airport 4-5-day flight to Manila, flown by a crew of two pilots – Captains Anthony Larena and Vincent Almeda, first officer Oliver Jiminez, and aircraft mechanics and engineers Jesus Wong, Rommel Salgado and Richard Ho.
From Toronto the plane will fly to Goose Bay, Newfoundland, to Reykjavik Iceland, to Paris, Malata, Egypt, UAE, India, Thailand before arriving Manila on Monday or Saturday.
Bautista said that the new fleet of Q400 will boost PAL’s domestic capacity, improve operating efficiency and help the airline with its goal to maintain domestic market dominance.
Last month at the International Paris Airshow, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced that PAL has signed an agreement for the exercise of its purchase rights for seven more Bombardier Q400 aircraft. This latest rights exercise brings PAL’s total firm order for 12 Q400 aircraft. Based on the list price of Q400 aircraft, the second firm order was valued at $235 million at $33.57 million each.
“As we position ourselves for growth, we are pleased to be adding more Q400 to our fleet,” said Bautista at the signing of the agreement during the Paris Air show.
“We are thrilled about the opportunities that lie ahead, and we look forward to offering more capacity in the region with comfortable, fast and efficient regional aircraft like Bombardier’s 86-seat turboprops.“
PAL has been upgrading its regional and international fleet alongside expansion of its global destinations to take advantage of the growing passenger demand for travel.
“The Q400 aircraft have helped airlines around the world expand their networks, and capture new opportunities,” said Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, at the agreement signing in Paris.
“We are delighted that Philippine Airlines is growing its fleet with more Q400 aircraft, and are confident that the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s outstanding economics and performance. We congratulate Philippine Airlines for taking delivery of the world’s first dual-class, 86-seat Q400 aircraft, and are confident that the airline will continue to benefit from the outstanding performance of Bombardier turboprops.”
“This delivery is an example of how Bombardier’s Q400 is an ideal solution for airlines that require higher-performance and larger turboprops as they develop regional routes to meet increasing passenger demand. Bombardier is proud to have the only commercial turboprop available today to offer up to 90 seats.”
With its superior performance capabilities, unmatched profitability advantages and exceptional passenger experience, Bautista said, the new Q400 aircraft will enable Philippine Airlines to increase its competitiveness and set a new standard for turboprops in the region.
“We are excited to bring this new aircraft back to the Philippines, and are confident that the Q400 aircraft will continue to play a significant role in positioning Philippine Airlines as a five-star airline and in regaining its dominance in the domestic market,” said Bautista.
Including the latest PAL order, Bombardier has now recorded a total of 585 Q400 aircraft on firm order.
Designed as a modern, 21st-century turboprop, the Q400 aircraft is the most recent development in the Q Series family of aircraft. It provides unmatched performance, operational flexibility and passenger comfort. In addition to the standard single class configuration, Q400 aircraft are available with an optional dual class interior for enhanced passenger comfort; in an optional extra capacity configuration offering up to 90 seats for higher density markets; and in a cargo passenger combi configuration.
The Q400 aircraft family includes over 60 owners and operators in almost 40 countries. The worldwide fleet has logged more than 6.9 million flight hours and has transported more than 429 million passengers.
Long recognized as a high value asset by operators, the Q400 aircraft is now also attracting growing interest from the leasing community.
Based on Montreal, Canada, Bombardier is the world’s leading manufacturer of both planes and trains.
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