Cebu Pacific receives 32nd Airbus A320

Rappler.com
This is the 3rd of 4 Airbus A320 aircraft the budget carrier is set to receive in 2015, as Cebu Pacific targets Honolulu as a new destination early 2016

NEW AIRCRAFT. This is the 3rd of 4 Airbus A320 aircraft that the airline is set to receive this year, Cebu Pacific announces on Monday, September 28, 2015. Photo from Ajig Ibasco / Cebu Pacific

MANILA, Philippines – Budget carrier Cebu Pacific accepted the delivery of its 32nd, brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft which arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on September 26.

This is the 3rd of 4 Airbus A320 aircraft that the airline is set to receive this year, Cebu Pacific announced Monday, September 28.

The brand-new Airbus A320 is the airline’s 13th aircraft that comes equipped with Sharklets – those 2.4-meter wingtip devices that enable airlines to reduce fuel burn by up to 4% on longer sectors.

“With an average age of 4.82 years, Cebu Pacific’s aircraft fleet is one of the youngest in the world,”  the budget carrier said.

Between 2015 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 6 more brand-new Airbus A320; 30 Airbus A321neo; and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The A321neo is the largest model in the A320neo series, with new engines and Sharklets. (READ: Cebu Pacific orders 16 planes worth $673M)

As part also of upgrading its fleet, Cebu Pacific announced in February this year that it was  selling 6 aircraft to Las Vegas-based, low cost carrier Allegiant Air. (READ: Cebu Pacific to sell 6 Airbus to Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air)

NEW ROUTE. Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei shares that the airline is firming its plans to fly to Honolulu, Hawaii early 2016. Photo by Lynda C. Corpuz / Rappler

Next stop: Honolulu

While Cebu Pacific is in a middle of a $4 billion refleeting program, the country’s largest budget airline also eyes new destinations, and considers Honolulu, Hawaii for its next route early 2016.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2015 Philippine Aviation Summit on September 25, Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei said flying to Honolulu is a good move considering the large number of Filipinos living there.

“Using Manila as a hub, probably a lot of North Asian countries can connect to Manila with direct flights from Honolulu,” he said.

Apart from Honolulu, Cebu Pacific is also allowed to fly to Guam, Saipan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, following the country’s upgraded aviation rating to Category 1 by the US Federal Aviation Authority in April 2014. (READ: PH gets US aviation upgrade)

Gokongwei added that Cebu Pacific might also increase its flights to Australia. Currently, the staunch rival of legacy carrier Philippine Airlines is already flying to Sydney. (READ: Cebu Pacific seeks more seat entitlements to Australia)

In April 2015, the Center for Aviation noted that Honolulu, Hawaii and Melbourne, Australia would be Cebu Pacific’s 6th and 7th long-haul destination, joining 4 in the Middle East and Sydney.

Targeting 18 million for passenger volume this year, Cebu Pacific is also solidifying its place in the region, competing with the likes of Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad.

On September 21, the airline announced that it bagged the approval of the Singapore government to enter into a strategic alliance with Tigerair, a unit of Singapore Airlines Ltd.

“Cebu Pacific’s passengers, particularly from the Philippines, will be able to enjoy seamless connections onto Tigerair’s established network in Southeast Asia and India. Tigerair’s customers, on the other hand, will be able to select from Cebu Pacific’s extensive network in the Philippines and North Asia,” the statement read. – with reports from Lynda C. Corpuz / Rappler.com