Cebu Pacific expects to 'keep fares low' with 12 new aircraft in 2019

Gokongwei added that majority of the A321neo aircraft to be delivered this year will be assigned to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to maximize slots.

"We know that slots [in NAIA] are limited, but at the same time the Philippine economy and the demand for aviation continues to grow," Gokongwei said.

"The basic strategy for us is to employ the Airbus 321s in Manila – they offer about 31% more seats than our basic 320s – and then employ the 320s in additional routes, particularly Clark as well as other provincial airports," he added.

The new aircraft is also seen to be deployed to Bali in Indonesia, as well as other Southeast Asian cities, Cebgo president and CEO Alexander Lao said.

The A321neo is also capable of operating on routes in excess of 5,000 kilometers or flying up to 7 hours. Lao said Cebu Pacific is still studying flights to India, Russia, nothern Japan, and other cities in Australia.

Lao added that the entry of the new Airbus plane and stabilizing fuel prices allow the carrier to "serve more passengers and keep the fares competitive." (READ: Cebu Pacific has new baggage rules starting January 15)

The 32-unit order for the A321neo is the biggest in Southeast Asia, Gokongwei said. Flag carrier Philippine Airlines ordered 21 A321neo aircraft, the first of which was delivered in June last year.

As of December 2018, Cebu Pacific has an Airbus A321neo, 36 Airbus A320, 7 Airbus A321ceo (current engine option), 8 Airbus A330, 8 ATR 72-500, and 12 ATR 72-600.

Gokongwei said the budget carrier's fleet is one of the youngest in the world, with an average age of 5 years and two weeks. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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