The Philippines' largest budget airline Cebu Air Inc has ordered 16 Airbus planes worth USD 4.8 billion, the carrier said Monday, as it aims to expand carrying capacity with larger, more fuel-efficient jets. Cebu Air, commonly referred to as Cebu Pacific, said it sees the long-range A330neo jetliner as key to lowering its per-seat costs and maximizing the airport slots it already has.
The company will use the new planes for both domestic routes and Asian destinations, as well as long-haul flights to Australia and the Middle East where millions of Filipinos work overseas.
The new aircraft is scheduled to arrive between 2021 and 2024. Once fully delivered, the jets will replace the current A330ceos in the airline's roster. "The A330neo aircraft is integral to our fleet modernization program," Cebu Air president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.
"With this purchase, we aim to reduce our fuel emission and build a more sustainable operation," he added.
The Philippine carrier has a fleet of 74 planes, most of which are from Airbus, and has received eight new aircraft this year, the majority also Airbus planes. The airline flies to 37 domestic routes and 26 international destinations. It claims to have "one of the youngest fleets in the world", with an average age of five years. The order comes as the budget airline flew more than 20 million people in 2018, up to three percent year-on-year.