Cebu Pacific to use Airbus A330 for Singapore, Incheon flights
MANILA, Philippines - Budget carrier Cebu Pacific will be deploying the first batch of its newly acquired Airbus A330-300 long-haul aircraft for short-haul destinations starting July.
The new single class seating Airbus aircraft will initially be used for daily Manila-Singapore and Manila-Incheon flights, which are less than 4-hour trips.
Cebu Pacific is set to deploy the A330-300's for its long haul services, commencing with flights to Dubai in October.
Ancillary and fee-based services like wi-fi and other in-flight entertainment system are available onboard, Airbus said in a statement on Thursday, June 13.
Airbus designed the aircraft for Cebu Pacific to accommodate up to 436 all-economy seats. This is far more than the typical 180 maximum seating capacity of a typical Airbus A320-200 aircraft that Cebu Pacific mounts for short-haul destinations within the country or to various points in Asia.
This 436-seat capacity makes the widebody aircraft for Cebu Pacific the most packed A330-300 ever delivered to any airline in the world to date. The A330-300 has a legal capacity of 440 passengers.
Budget airlines follow the business model that maximizes the number of seats for sale so it could spread the cost to more people and sell tickets at lower prices.
"In the airline’s layout the A330 will offer the lowest possible operating costs per seat. This will enable Cebu Pacific to offer a highly competitive product, bringing its great value-based service to long haul routes," John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer for Customers, said in a media statement.
Cebu Pacific officials told Filipino journalists covering a ceremony marking the aircraft delivery at Airbus' facilities in France on Thursday, June 13, that the Gokongwei-led airline has leased four A330-300 units from US lessor CIT Group for 12 years. They have an option to lease 4 more.
Each aircraft has a list price of $230 million.
The first A330-300 will arrive in Manila on Friday, June 14. Three more A330s are slated to arrive by the second quarter of 2014.
"The addition of the highly efficient A330 to our fleet ultimately translates to unbeatable operating costs, enabling us to offer the lowest possible fares to our guests," Cebu Pacific CEO and president Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.
The operational cost savings of a widebody aircraft like an A330-300 are best realized on long haul routes. The Gokongwei-led airline aims to eventually deploy the new A330-300s to destinations more than 4 hours away, like Middle East, Australia and the US.
"Anywhere where there is a big Filipino community, we will fly there. Obviously, Saudi Arabia is on our radar screen and anywhere in the Middle East [where] there are a lot of Filipinos," Cebu Pacific long haul division head Alex Reyes told reporters.
"We are awaiting the approvals from all relevant agencies… We are also applying for Australia as well… Right now we don't have enough slots to Australia," Reyes said. "[In] Abu Dhabi we don't have the rights, but in United Arab Emirates we have the 7 times a week."
"Anytime we go into a market we are confident that we can grow very very strongly not only for us but for other airlines as well… If you lower the price, the market grows two to 4 times," he added, stressing their low-fare business model.
New Airbus A350
Reyes also said they are eyeing the soon-to-be launched Airbus A350, considered the next generation aircraft promising additional fuel savings.
"We always study what is available out there… Whatever suits the network that we are trying to build, as well as the cost situation… Normally when you are buying in bulk you get better price," he said.
Cebu Pacific currently has a fleet of 47 single aisle A320 and 30 A321neo covering 34 domestic and 22 regional destinations.
"The advantage working with the Airbus is the short training period for pilots," he added. - Rappler.com