CEBU AIR, Inc. the listed operator of Cebu Pacific, continues to expand its fleet as it looks to acquire five new aircraft, all of which are expected to be delivered by next year.
In a statement released on Friday, the local carrier said it is looking at the arrival of the first planes of its order of five Airbus A320neo with Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofans during the first half of 2019.
“The five additional A320neo aircraft is on top of its order of two more A321ceo, 32 Airbus A321neo, and six ATR 72-600 aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2022. The additional aircraft will be used to support the carrier’s expansion plans,” the company said.
The new A320neos will join the Gokongwei-led company’s current fleet of 67 planes.
The acquisition of the new aircraft is hoped to be an economical move for the carrier, which may lead to “more compelling fares,” as it noted the A320neo’s higher seat capacity and more efficient fuel consumption. It said the new aircraft could fly a distance of up to 6,300 kilometers using 20% less fuel.
The new aircraft will come from Dublin-based aircraft leasing company Avolon Aerospace Leasing Ltd. Cebu Pacific signed an Operating Lease Agreement with the company for the acquisition.
Its Vice-President for Commercial Planning, Alexander G. Lao, said Cebu Pacific is eyeing nine additional aircraft every year from 2018 to 2022.
“We see expansion opportunities in new markets, as well as pent-up demand in areas where we currently operate. The introduction of the first new generation, fuel-efficient A320neo aircraft to the Philippine market will help us to further strengthen our position in the Philippines and allow us to further pursue expansion of our international route network,” Mr. Lao said in the statement.
During the first quarter, Cebu Air posted a 12% hike in its income at P1.437 billion, driven by an increase in passenger revenues. — Denise A. Valdez