CebuPac to boost fleet

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
CebuPac to boost fleet
Airbus A320neo
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Budget carrier Cebu Pacific will spend about $2 billion for the delivery of 11 Airbus aircraft that it plans to deploy to domestic and international destinations eyed for restoration.

Cebu Pacific chief strategy officer Alex Reyes yesterday said the airline is nearing completion of its P32.8-billion capital expenditure program this year for the addition of seven new aircraft to its fleet.

For 2023, Reyes said Cebu Pacific would take in 11 new aircraft totaling close to $2 billion or around P112 billion, as part of its strategy to widen its fleet that can be used for network expansion.

Cebu Pacific will receive three Airbus A320neo at $110.6 million per unit and four A321neo at $129.5 million each. Further, the budget carrier will get four A330neo worth at least $259.9 million per aircraft to add to its fleet of wide-bodied units.

Cebu Pacific is slated to acquire a total of 51 new A320neo and A321neo until 2028 in line with its move to adapt an all-neo fleet. The airline owned by the Gokongwei clan wants to transition to an all-neo line to lessen fuel consumption and, in turn, reduce its carbon footprint.

Based on its roadmap, Airbus neos should account for 43 percent of Cebu Pacific’s fleet in 2022, 56 percent in 2023, 69 percent in 2024, 81 percent in 2025, 91 percent in 2026 and 97 percent in 2027 and 100 percent in 2028.

On the financial side, Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer Xander Lao said the low-cost airline hopes to break even in the fourth quarter as it works on returning to profitability in 2023 whether or not China reopens its borders to leisure travel.

“I think we provided guidance on the fourth quarter. We think we will break even. We are simply more confident on profitability next year,” Lao said.

At present, the Gokongwei-led airline has restored 92 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity, with more than 100 percent of its domestic routes reinstated. However, Cebu Pacific has reactivated just 68 percent of its international linkages, as Beijing insists on keeping its border restrictions in place.

The airline serves an average of 355 flights every day covering 34 domestic destinations and 19 international routes. Likewise, it offers roughly 64,000 seats daily in a proof that demand for air travel is recovering.

“Our system-wide capacity is now approaching pre-pandemic levels. We have basically grown. In fact, much more than what we were doing prior to the pandemic on the domestic level. We are seeing green shoots of recovery and it is encouraging to see people confidently flying again, not just within the Philippines, but even abroad,” Lao said.

Without China in its international list, Cebu Pacific decided to increase its footprint with flights to Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Seoul and Taipei.


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