National flag carrier Philippine Airlines has signed a Letter of Intent with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft of Canada to acquire twelve two-class 86-seat Bombardier Q-400 Aircraft. Last March, the carrier revealed that it was studying options for the replacement of its existing fleet of regional Aircraft operated by PAL Express.
PAL Express currently operates a fleet of four Q300 Aircraft and five Q400 Aircraft. If the deal pushes through, it would increase the size and capacity of PAL's regional turbo-prop fleet allowing further expansion. In addition, the carrier will be the launch customer of the two-class variant of the Q400.
The 86-seat two-class variant will feature 10 "premium service" seats. According to Philippine Airlines President Jaime Bautista, the Q400 will serve an integral role in helping the carrier to realize its vision of becoming a 5-star rate Airline.
"As we strive to become a 5-star rated Airline, the Q400 Aircraft, featuring a modern and innovative configuration, will be instrumental in providing our travellers with a world-class, in-flight passenger experience," said Bautista. "We are proud that our continued fleet growth now makes us the first Airline to launch service with the two-class, 86-seat Q400 Aircraft." Bautista added that Bombardier Aircraft have been instrumental in evolving the carrier's domestic network operations over the last decade.
Meanwhile, Bombardier praised the carrier's decision, noting that Philippine Airlines chose the right Aircraft for reshaping its domestic air travel strategy. "With its perfect balance of passenger amenities and operational flexibility, the 86-seat Q400 Aircraft will offer Philippine Airlines significant opportunities to differentiate itself in the region's fiercely competitive environment," said Fred Cromer, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "We look forward to working with Philippine Airlines to reach a firm purchase agreement for Q400 Aircraft."