aviation industry

Cebu Pacific readying for revenge travel with A330neo delivery

Aika Rey
Cebu Pacific readying for revenge travel with A330neo delivery

AIRCRAFT DELIVERY. Cebu Pacific's first A330neo with the delivery team.

Airbus

Cebu Pacific expects to have received a total of six new aircraft by the end of 2021, making it 'the only [airline] in the Philippines to take deliveries' during the pandemic

“Revenge travel” is the new catchphrase in the travel industry, and Cebu Pacific is readying itself for when it happens.

On Tuesday, December 7, Cebu Pacific said it is prepared to meet higher travel demand in 2022, with new aircraft deliveries as the economy reopens further.

On Wednesday, December 8, Cebu Pacific’s newest next-generation plane, the Airbus A330neo (new engine option), will be officially entering service with its inaugural flight from Manila to Cebu.

Cebu Pacific is set to receive one more A330neo and an ATR 72-600 turboprop. So far, it has already received two A231neo, one A320neo, and one A330neo in 2021 – for a total of six new aircraft by the end of December.

The next-generation A330neo is fuel-efficient and is designed with a more efficient layout of cabin interiors with new seats.

The A330neo will have 459 seats or about 5.5% more capacity than the A330 current engine option fleet. With the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine, it can fly up to 7,200 nautical miles, having as much as 15% less fuel burn per trip.

As of the start of December, Cebu Pacific has an average fleet age of 5.94 years.

“We are among the few airlines in the world and the only one in the Philippines to take deliveries during a pandemic, which is a testament to CEB’s resilience, liquidity, and expected recovery as we enter 2022,” said Cebu Pacific head of strategy Alex Reyes.

During the Paris Air Show in 2019, Cebu Pacific ordered 31 new Airbus planes – 16 of which were A330neo aircraft. When the pandemic hit, the airline said it might have to postpone the delivery of the first two A330neo planes from 2021 to 2022, but the first one arrived in late November.

Recovery

Although the budget carrier is “cautiously optimistic” given the threat of the Omicron variant, Reyes, in his presentation to the media, said there is a “healthy spike” in demand.

Cebu Pacific’s domestic flight capacity is now back to 60% of 2019 levels, according to the carrier. In fact, Reyes said Boracay, Cagayan de Oro, and Tacloban have already exceeded the 2019 capacity.

In December, the budget carrier increased its Manila-Boracay and Cebu-Manila flights to 11 times daily from nine times. Flights to Cagayan de Oro were increased to seven times from five times per day, while Manila to Davao flights were raised to five times from three times daily.

The following Cebu Pacific international flights, meanwhile, are set to resume:

  • Fukuoka, Japan – every Tuesday, starting December 7
  • Bangkok, Thailand – every Thursday and Saturday, starting December 11
  • Taipei, Taiwan – every Wednesday, starting December 15

By 2022, Cebu Pacific is expecting to reach 84% of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity. Its international network, while slowly opening up, is seen to reach 34% of 2019 levels. – 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.