By Rhony Laigo
Boeing’s new 777-300ER are now part of Philippine Airlines US-bound fleet. On Saturday, May 3, the new aircraft made its maiden voyage to Los Angeles from Manila and will be added to the regular fleet of Manila-US flights (Los Angeles and San Francisco) as PAL officials also announced a return to New York, Chicago and soon Florida.
In a product briefing held by the sea at The Reef Restaurant in the scenic city of Long Beach for the members of the media and travel agents, PAL officials, led by Area Manager Marie Jemma Saranillo, presented a glimpse of the new Boeing 777-300ER which is said to be “the largest twin-engine aircraft of today.”
Powered by two large General Electric 90-115BL engines, the new fuel-efficient aircraft can reach any city in the world from Manila “non-stop” while carrying a full load of 370 passengers and cargo.
Not only will the 777-300ER use lesser fuel, a PAL video presentation said cost in maintaining it is also lower because of the new avionics and other technology put in place in the modern Boeing model. PAL said the use of 777-300ER will “save Philippine Airlines some $20 million per aircraft per year.”
Saranillo said PAL, which is now 49 percent owned by giant food conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (the remaining 51% is still owned by tobacco magnate Lucio Tan), acquired six of these aircraft that are also being used to fly to Toronto and as mentioned soon to New York and to Frankfurt, Paris and Rome – all non-stop. Each 777-300ER costs $290 million.
Also unlike other airlines, the PAL 777-ERs will have a Business Class with “Full-Flat Business Class Seats” that allow Business Class passengers the ability to sleep like First Class passengers as their seats recline all the way.
Fiesta Class passengers will also be enjoying Business Class treatment as they will be soon be able to rent iPads during long-haul flights for their own entertainment, apart from the modern in-flight movies they already have thru their individual TV monitors. Meanwhile, chefs who specialize in different international cuisines – Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Western – have also been tapped to beef up the menu for a world-class in-flight dining experience.
In addition, to make PAL more accessible to the flying public, kiosks will be installed at Petron gas stations in the Philippines where would-be passengers can book a flight and buy their tickets while gassing up their vehicles and pay either thru credit card or in cash.
Also gracing Thursday’s briefing were Philippine Consul General to Los Angeles Leo Herrera-Lim and delegates from the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board led by its Vice Western USA/Latin America Vice President Azilina Azni Zainal Abidin and Deputy Director Azham Ishak and from the Tourism Authority of Thailand led by Director Kulpramote Wannalert and Assistant Director Suriya Sittichai, who also made presentations about their respective countries along with our very own Manny Ilagan, current Philippine tourism director in Los Angeles.