By LORETO D. CABANES
As part of its fleet modernization to support its network expansion, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is expecting to take deliveries of 45 more aircraft over the next four years from 2018 to 2022.
These new planes are part of earlier orders made with Airbus and French aircraft manufacturer ATR, according to Alexander Lao, CEB vice president for commercial planning.
Expected to be delivered this year are two more Airbus 321 ceos (current engine option), part of seven it ordered earlier of which five are already in service. Airbus puts the catalog price for this type of aircraft at $118 million each, for a total of $826 million.
In addition, CEB also ordered 32 Airbus 321 neos (new engine option) for deliveries over the next four years. Airbus puts a catalog price of $129.5 million each for this type of aircraft, which values the entire order at $4.144 billion. The airline is also expecting deliveries of five more A320 neos worth over $100 million per.
CEB’s unit Cebgo is also expecting to take deliveries of six ATR-600 aircraft during the same period.
Currently, Cebgo’s fleet is comprised of eight ATR 72-600 and 10 ATR 72-600.
ATR is Toulouse-based turboprop aircraft maker, considered a world leader in regional aircraft up to 90 seats.
Altogether, CEB pending orders are worth over $5.5 billion.
However, as a usual industry practice, airlines get substantial price discounts for aircraft orders depending on the number of jets ordered.
Lao said CEB would opt for asset leases to acquire these new aircraft, also a common industry financing practice.
CEB is pursuing an Operating Lease Agreement with Dublin-based Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited, one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, for five Airbus A320neo aircraft to be delivered starting the first half of 2019. Avolon was acquired by the Chinese conglomerate HNA aviation years back.
It would be CEB’s second operating lease agreement with Avolon, The first lease was for three Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
“We see expansion opportunities in new markets, as well as pent-up demand in areas where we currently operate,” explained Lao in an earlier interview.
“The introduction of the new generation, fuel-efficient A320neo aircraft to the Philippine market will help us to strengthen our position in the Philippines and expand our international route network. From this year until 2022, we are adding an average of nine new aircraft per year to our fleet,” he added.
“With higher seat capacity and much greater fuel efficiency, the A320neo will enable us to fly further and more economically. It’s the perfect addition to our fleet, allowing us to offer even more compelling fares to more passengers.”
CEB’s single-aisle A320neo aircraft will be equipped with the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan and has a maximum range of 6,300 kilometers but burns up to 20% less fuel.
The airline has one of the youngest fleets in the world, with a total of 67 aircraft with an average age of 4.8 years.
CEB has been expanding its route network including flights to Japan, China, Australia, the Middle East and Asian region.
Its fleet is composed of 36 Airbus A320, five Airbus A321CEO (Current Engine Option) and eight Airbus A330 plus a fleet of eight ATR 72-500 and ten ATR 72-600 aircraft, operated by subsidiary Cebgo.
Cebu Air, Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific, is the largest carrier in the domestic transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline.
Currently, CEB and subsidiary Cebgo fly to 37 domestic and 26 international destinations, with over 108 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. The CEB network operates flights out of seven strategically placed hubs in the Philippines: Clark, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Kalibo, Cebu, Iloilo and Manila.