Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cebu Pacific to double fleet with add'l Airbus orders

MANILA - Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific or CEB is more than doubling its current capacity with the addition of new aircraft that could bring its Airbus A320 orders to 20.

Cebu Pacific now operates brand new Airbus fleet with 21 Airbus (10 A319 and 11 A320) and seven ATR 72-500 aircraft.In a press release, Asia’s 3rd largest low-cost airline said it increased its orders from 10 to 15 and is thinking of buying five more.

At 20 aircraft, the total investment required would reach $1.3 billion. Delivery of the 180-seat aircraft will be from October 2010 to November 2013.CEB president and CEO Lance Gokongwei said the additional orders are needed because of the airline’s expanding domestic and international operations."

This expansion will more than doubles passenger capacity and enable us to provide our trademark low fares for new domestic and international destinations. We expect to increase our passenger numbers from nine million this year to 15 million in 2013," Gokongwei said.

"The global economic downturn notwithstanding, we are experiencing a surge in the number of passengers flying Cebu Pacific mainly because of our low fares. We expect this growth to continue, hence our decision to further expand our fleet," he said.Cebu Pacific carried 6.7 million passengers last year and expects to carry nine million this year. From 2010 onwards, the numbers should continue to grow as more aircraft are deployed to serve more destinations.

Altogether, CEB has now placed firm orders of 27 A320 Family aircraft with 12 already delivered. “We currently operate 21 aircraft from the A320 family, including nine leased aircraft, with an average age of just 1.9 years.” Lance Gokongwei emphasized.The new A320s will be powered by CFM International’s CFM56-5B engines (worth $140 million) which are very efficient and have better fuel consumption. The engine also meets the latest environmental protection standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization for its low carbon dioxide emission.

The airline had earlier signed a $100-million OnPoint solution agreement with GE Aviation’s services business. The 12-year service contract includes general maintenance and repairs, parts procurement, technology upgrades, engine leasing, and overhaul of the CFM56-5B engines.CEB operates flights to 15 cities in Asia and 32 domestic destinations

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