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Cebu Pacific’s two A320 to arrive next month
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2005-03-04
Two A320 aircraft leased by Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) will arrive by April and May of this year while the first A319 will come by September also of this year, followed by monthly deliveries until early 2007.

CEB President Lance Y. Gokongwei said the aircraft is part of the dozen A319s the company purchased in September 2004 at the cost of $670 million as part of its re-fleeting program.

The re-fleeting program will replace the airline’s existing DC-9 aircraft, which are already about 27 years old, by bigger 123-seater A319 aircraft.

The re-fleeting program, aside for being a strategic corporate move, is also a vote of confidence in the country.

"We are committed to the Philippines. We want to be partner in its growth. This huge investment will make travel and tourism a more vibrant sector. It would also help push trade since CEB would have a bigger capacity to move cargo," said Gokongwei.

He said the CEB will realize a 20 percent savings in operating cost using the Airbus versus the DC-9 and a seat cost savings of up to 40 percent.

The A319s will be deployed on the airlines’ domestic network that presently covers 19 destinations, he said adding. "We are considering new domestic routes in the Visayas and Mindanao areas."

Overseas, CEB is considering four international routes namely, Guangzhou, Xiaman, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Earlier, he acknowledged the possibility of restoring CEB’s services from Manila to Singapore, though that is not the carrier’s immediate priority. While the airline has chartered flights to Japan, it is not looking at long haul destinations, like the Middle East and the US at this point.

The Japanese government recently granted 14 additional flights destinations to Philippine carriers.

"Our key consideration in getting A319 as it will improve our range and enable us to fly to key growth areas in China and Korea, the growth markets for Philippine tourism. The benefits to Cebu in terms of economy and operations are long-term," Gokongwei said.

Earlier JG Summit and CEB have signed an agreement with SIA Engineering Co. Ltd. (SIAEC), a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, to handle the maintenance of CEB.

The company will invest $5 million in the partnership, which will be 51-percent owned by SIAEC and 49 percent by Cebu Pacific.

The investment will be spent primarily for light maintenance particularly tooling and equipment.

The joint venture will be SIAEC’s third maintenance joint venture outside Singapore, besides Pan Asia Pacific Aviation Services in Hong Kong and PT jas Aero Engineering Services in Indonesia.

CEB is the second largest airline in the Philippines, with a market share of 38 percent as of last year. The company tries to complete with arrivals with its 90 percent on-time flights." (PNA)


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