Hamburg - Philippine Airlines has taken possession of the first of the 21 Airbus A321neo ordered, which will initially be deployed between Manila and Australia. The first A350-900 of the company also takes shape in Toulouse.

Philippine Airlines' first A321neo (MSN8117) was officially delivered on May 31, in Hamburg. The aircraft is set to accommodate 12 passengers in Business Class and 154 in Economy (166 seats in total) and equipped with Pratt & Whitney's PW110G engines.

This plane gives us the right size and good performance to develop direct flights to Australian destinations such as Perth and Brisbane, as well as to Sapporo in Japan," said Jaime Bautista, the head of PAL.

Bautista also stated that his company is ready to launch new lines to Delhi or Mumbai later this year with the new aircraft.

From July 2, The carrier's first A321neo will fly betweenManila and Brisbane; a route currently served three times a week with an A340-300 (36 in Business + 218 in Economy).

From July 10, it will serve Sydney-Kingsford Smith Airport, with two and then gradually five weekly rotations. This route with an average flight time of 7:50 is usually served daily with an A330-300 tri-class.

The A321neo joins a fleet of 25 A320, 15 A330, five A340 and 10 Boeing 777-300ER. Philippine Airlines also expects the first of six A350-900 ordered by the end of the year. The operator is converting its high-density A330s (414 seats) to a cabin layout of only 309 passengers with brand new Business, Premium, and Economy seats.

Last year, Philippine Airlines carried 14.5 million passengers and 236.1 million tonnes of cargo, out of a total of 51,681 flights operated by 86 aircraft. All with an average load factor of 71.39%.