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Business

Cebu Pacific places most order for aircraft among SEA carriers

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific has placed one of the largest aircraft orders in Southeast Asia and the largest in the Philippines, according to an international aviation data analyst.

Based on Cirium’s Aviation Data and Insights Report, Asia and the Pacific maintains the largest share of aircraft orders across all regions in the short term at 38 percent.

The region exceeds North America’s 26 percent, Europe’s 18 percent, Middle East’s 10 percent, Latin America’s seven percent, and Africa’s one percent.

In Southeast Asia, Cirium said budget airlines like Cebu Pacific are set to receive the  majority of the aircraft orders. In particular, Southeast Asian carriers are scheduled to take in a total of 1,483 aircraft, of which 29 percent or 424 were ordered by Indonesian operator Lion Air.

On the other hand, Cirium said AirAsia is set to add 362 units to its fleet, while VietJet Air is taking in  an additional 264 aircraft. Also, Singapore Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Thai VietJet Air is scheduled to receive 71, 69 and 50 units, respectively.

Likewise, Cirium said that Cebu Pacific placed an order for 45 aircraft, followed by AirAsia X’s 35, and Scoot and Malaysia Airlines, both of which have 34.

The other carriers in Southeast Asia combined for an order of 95 aircraft in the short term, but as demand for air travel goes up Cirium expects them to catch up in terms of fleet expansion.

By type of aircraft, Cirium said that 87 percent of orders in Southeast Asia are for narrow-bodied units like Airbus A320, A321, and Boeing 737 Max, while the remaining 13 percent are divided into wide body, regional, and turboprop planes.

Cirium expects demand for air travel in Asia and the Pacific to recover to pre-pandemic levels by November this year. Using latest data on air traffic, Cirium believes the region is nearing to reach that projection, although China’s prolonged stay under lockdowns threaten this rebound.

With China’s reopening, however, Cirium believes the aviation sector in Asia and the Pacific can rebound to pre-crisis level of activity before the end of 2023. For the first semester, for instance, scheduled flights in Southeast Asia are projected to hit 80 percent of pre-pandemic level.

In the Philippines, domestic airlines are restoring their local and international routes one after the other to capture the rising demand for leisure travel.

Further, they are expanding their fleet to ensure that supply can keep up with demand like Cebu Pacific, which is eyeing to spend as much as P42 billion for capital expenditures in 2023 mainly for the addition of 15 aircraft to its fleet.

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