RE-FLEETING PLAN:  PAL IS NEGOTIATING FOR NINE NEW AIRBUS

MANILA, November 10, 2005 (STAR) (AFP) Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is negotiating for nine new Airbus A320s as part of a dramatic refleeting plan, replacing all of their old Boeing 737-300 aircraft, company officials said Thursday.

The officials clarified remarks by PAL president Jaime Bautista carried in a local paper in which he said the airline had already agreed to lease nine A320 aircraft and had already received two of them.

Negotiations with Airbus for the nine A320s are still on going and the contract is not expected to be signed until next year, the airline official said.

The official also said the report that the new aircraft were to replace Boeing 707s was wrong as the airline no longer operates 707s.

It is not yet decided if PAL will lease the nine new aircraft or purchase them outright, the company said.

The A320s will replace nine Boeing 737-300s that were leased from overseas.

Two of the older Boeing 737-300s have already been returned and have been temporarily replaced by two Airbus A320s on short-term leases.

However once the deal for the nine Airbus A320s is finalized and the aircraft are delivered, these two leased aircraft will be returned.

Bautista had been quoted in a local daily as saying that nine Airbus planes would be acquired under an "operating lease agreement," with an option to purchase them.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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