* Studying purchase or lease of Airbus A350s or Boeing 787s
* Delivery of new planes could be 2017-18
* To replace Airbus A340 aircraft serving US and Europe
* Looking to buy or lease nine Bombardier turboprops (Adds details, background)
MANILA, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co are competing for contracts to supply Philippine Airlines Inc (PAL) with eight wide body, twin-engine aircraft, PAL’s president said on Thursday.
The acquisition or lease of the fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A350 XWB aircraft is a result of a strategic review after Philippines’ fourth richest man Lucio Tan took over the carrier last year.
“The Dreamliner and XWB will be contributing to savings in fuel, savings in maintenance and will allow us to improve our product because we can fly non-stop to more destinations,” PAL President Jaime Bautista told reporters.
He said an evaluation will be completed this year and delivery of the aircraft could be in 2017-2018.
PAL’s six A340s currently serve the Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, New York and Vancouver routes. It also flies Boeing 777s on its long-haul routes, having retired its last four-engine Boeing 747 jumbo in September last year.
As of end-2014, PAL had 49 aircraft, 43 of which are Airbus planes and six are Boeing. On the global scale, U.S planemaker Boeing posted 380 aircraft orders in January to July this year, outpacing its European rival’s 367 net orders.
The Philippine carrier’s subsidiary PAL Express was also considering buying or leasing nine Q300 or Q400 Bombardier turboprops to replace ageing similar models in its fleet.
PAL will finalise next year its decision for the new Bombardier turboprop aircraft, which will serve tourist destinations like Boracay in the central Philippines and the northern province of Batanes that are accessible through small island airports, Bautista said.
Shares in PAL Holdings closed 4.55 percent higher on Thursday, outpacing the benchmark index’s 2.24 percent gain.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Michael Perry