Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) has taken delivery of its 40th aircraft.
The landmark aircraft – a new Airbus A320 – touched down in Manila late last week. The narrow-body aircraft forms part of a major fleet expansion plan for CEB, which expects to more than double its fleet over the next 10 years. In addition to the 40 aircraft currently in its fleet (10 Airbus A319s, 22 A320s and eight ATR72-500s), CEB has placed firm orders for a further 22 A320s, 30 A321neos, two ATRs and eight wide-body A330-300s, which will enable it to launch long-haul flights to destinations such as the Middle East, Australia and even the USA.
With the 10 A319s being phased out from next year, CEB’s total fleet size is expected to reach more than 90 aircraft by the year 2021. The next delivery – another A320 – will take place next month (November 2012).
“CEB will end 2012 with 41 aircraft – the largest aircraft fleet in the Philippines,” said the low-cost carrier’s Vice President of Marketing & Distribution, Candice Iyog. “CEB passengers will continue to benefit from the airline’s newest and fuel-efficient aircraft, as we open new domestic and international routes this year.”
One of the new domestic routes launched is the service between two cities on the southern island of Mindanao – Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro – which commenced on 20 October and will now run three times a week.
“This will make travel more convenient to our passengers in Mindanao, who can now take a one hour and 10 minute flight between Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro, instead of a 12 to 14 hour bus ride,” Ms Iyog added.
CEB will launch four more international routes in November and December, connecting the central province of Iloilo with Hong Kong and Singapore, and the city of Cebu with Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
The expansion of CEB’s fleet forms part of an unlikely resurgence for the Philippine aviation industry. CEB, which is Asia’s third largest LCC, is plotting major domestic and international growth, while a resurgent Philippine Airlines, which recently secured much-needed investment from local brewery San Miguel, is planning its own expansion, having recently placed orders for 69 new aircraft including 20 A330s.
All Philippine carriers remain on the EU aviation blacklist.