Cebu Pacific links up with KLM AFI to service expanding fleet

WORKHORSE. The short -medium haul narrow body A320 comprises the majority of Cebu Pacific's fleet.

WORKHORSE. The short -medium haul narrow body A320 comprises the majority of Cebu Pacific's fleet.

MANILA, Philippines – Gokongwei-led budget airline Cebu Pacific (CEB) has chosen Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) to provide maintenance support for its expected new fleet of Airbus A320s .

“This is our first agreement with Cebu Pacific and also our first component support contract in the strategic Philippines market,” said Gery Mortreux, Executive Vice President of AFI KLM E&M in a statement released on March 28.

The selection of AFI KLM E&M came following a call for tenders by CEB in September last year for the carrier’s expanding fleet of Airbus passenger jets .

The long-term contract covers a fleet of over 40 Airbus A320-family aircraft, and encompasses full component support and solutions, including repairs and local pool access to maximize aircraft availability for both CEB’s A320s and its future A321neos.

The A321 neo (new engine option) is a variant of the A320 that features a more efficient engine and more aerodynamic refinements.

CEB currently has a fleet of 59 aircraft, comprised of 4 Airbus A319s, 36 Airbus A320s, 7 Airbus A330s, 8 ATR 72-500, and 4 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The average age of its fleet currently stands at 4.94 years.

The airline also expects to take delivery of 45 brand-new aircraft as part of its fleet renewal program composed of one brand-new Airbus A330, 32 Airbus A321neos, and 12 ATR 72-600s 

All told, the new aircraft will bring the CEB fleet to 85 by 2021.

CEB’s local rival, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), is also in the process of upgrading its fleet headlined by two new Boeing 777–300ERs set to arrive in December 2017 and January 2018, the airline announced over the weekend.

Along with that, it is also expecting the arrival of the Q400 Next Generation turboprops for domestic flights starting in July 2017, and the first of 6 new A350-900s expected to arrive in 2018. – Chris Schnabel / Rappler.com