APAC Airlines Select Airbus for Fleet Upgrade Programs

Credit: Airbus/Qantas

Two Asia-Pacific airlines have selected Airbus to help upgrade their aircraft for better fleet optimization and performance. Philippine Airlines and Qantas signed contracts with the OEM at the 2022 Singapore Airshow related to cabin modifications and systems and airframe upgrades, respectively.

Qantas’ agreement with the OEM pertains to upgrading its three A321P2F freighters with modifications including new LCD cockpit displays, weather radar, on-board flight data management, ETOPS 120 capability and the application of Airbus’ “extended service goal” airframe life-enhancement program.

Airbus says the modifications will upgrade the aircraft to the latest technical standards. It is providing Qantas with service bulletins and engineering support, as well as updating the A321P2F’s technical documentation.

Qantas became the first operator of the A321P2F when it took delivery of the three aircraft between October 2020 and December 2021. The aircraft were converted from passenger-to-freighter format by Elbe Flugzeugwerke at the ST Engineering facility in Singapore.

Philippine Airlines, meanwhile, has selected Airbus to help it modify aircraft cabins with extra seats as part of its fleet restructuring plans. The airline will perform cabin modifications on 15 aircraft total, including 11 A320s, two A330-300s and two A350-900s. The A320s will gain an extra 24 seats, the A330s will gain an extra 50 seats and the A350s will gain an extra 18 seats.

“Philippine Airlines believes that, as we exit the pandemic, our fleet restructuring strategy helps us to better adapt to changing market situations and ensure that we are well-positioned for recovery,” says Philippine Airlines’ Chief Financial Officer, Nilo Thaddeus Rodriguez. “Our aircraft deployment decisions and related technical support arrangements are tailored for a restructured network that suits a vastly different global environment.”

The airline has contracted Airbus to provide the relevant service bulletins and kits required for the cabin modification program. It also extended its Flight Hour Services material program with Airbus to cover more of its fleet, including A321 family and A330ceo aircraft. The OEM will provide components standard exchange, components repairs, component reliability and engineering services, and on-site stock at PAL’s main base in Manila.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for AviationWeek.com, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.