Cebu Pacific looks to 'next stage' of expansion with new Airbus jets

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2019 03:39 PM | Updated as of Jul 29 2019 10:31 AM

Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei and Airbus executive vice president for Sales in Asia welcome the airline's first Airbus A321neo. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Cebu Pacific on Thursday took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo, which will enable it to expand to new destinations, airline president Lance Gokongwei said.

The Airbus A321neo can fly up to 5,000 kilometers or 7 hours. At that range, the aircraft can be flown to India, Russia, northern Japan and Australia, Gokongwei said, without saying what the new routes will be.

The A321neo can also help strengthen Cebu Pacific's foothold in China, he said.

"We are excited to welcome to Cebu Pacific a new fleet of aircraft that will usher in the next stage of our expansion," Gokongwei said.

The Philippines' largest airline ordered a total of 32 A321neo planes, each with a capacity of 236 seats or 31 percent more than the A320 that is currently on its fleet.

Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei during the welcoming ceremony of its new Airbus A321neo. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

The aircraft is 15 percent more fuel efficient which can translate to lower fares, Gokongwei said.

This year Cebu Pacific will see "accelerated growth" with the arrival of 12 new aircraft including 6 Airbus A321neo, 5 A320neo and one ATR 72-600.

The low-cost carrier aims to fly 22.5 to 23 million passengers this year, higher than the 20 million passengers flown the year before, Gokongwei said.

Japanese carrier ANA's investment in Philippine Airlines will be "good for the industry," he said.

Cebu Pacific currently operates 1 Airbus A321neo, 36 A320, 7 A321ceo, 8 A330, 8 ATR 72-500, 12 ATR 72-600. The airline, with its subsidiary CebGo flies to 36 domestic and 26 international destinations spanning Asia, Australia, Middle East and Guam in the US.