By Emmie V. Abadilla
Cebu Pacific (CEB) has ordered 31 jets worth US$6.8 billion from Airbus during this week’s Paris Airshow and took out options to buy 10 more to replace its current fleet so it will only have new generation, environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient aircraft by 2024.
The airline’s most recent order included 10 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR aircraft, launched during the show in Le Bourget, France – the global aerospace industry’s biggest trade event, along with 16 A330neos and five A320neos.
The new- generation aircraft , selected for their operational efficiency, comfort and increased range, will strengthen CEB’s all-Airbus fleet status in the jet category, making it more competitive as it expands its Asia-Pacific network.
“The A330neo will give us the lowest cost per seat and allow us to continue offering the lowest fares,” according to Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of Cebu Pacific. “The lower fuel burn matched with higher seat density will allow CEB to address growing demand for leisure and business travel, by upgrading aircraft and maximizing available airport slots in Manila and other megacities we serve.”
Notably, CEB will be one of the launch airlines for the A321XLR, which can fly nonstop from the Philippines to India and Australia. The A320neo aircraft, on the other hand, will be the first of the type to feature 194 seats in a single class layout.
The A320neo and A321XLR are members of the A320 Family incorporating the latest technologies, including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver fuel savings of 20 percent. The 31 jets are scheduled for delivery between 2021 and 2026.
As of last month, Airbus has received more than 6,500 firm orders from over 100 customers for its A320neos.
CEB’s latest order, made during the 2019 Paris Air Show was on top of its 32 A321neo aircraft order in 2011, for delivery until 2022.
The 16 A330neo will be fitted with 460 seats, having 5.5% more capacity than CEB’s current fleet of A330ceo aircraft. The additional seats were made possible through a more efficient layout of cabin interiors and new generation seats.
The new A330neo will replace the A330ceo, which will be progressively retired. Using the new Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine and a more aerodynamic wing design, the A330neo is more efficient, providing a range of up to 7,200 nautical miles with as much as 12% less fuel burn per trip.
On top of a reduced environmental footprint, the A330neo also has a quieter cabin for an improved passenger experience. As part of the transaction, Rolls Royce has also been selected for engine maintenance and support.
CEB also ordered 15 A320neo family aircraft, including ten A321 XLR (Xtra Long Range) and five 194-seat A320neo. The increased capacity of the A320neo will bring down the cost per seat by seven per cent and fuel burn and emissions, by 15%.
Scheduled to start delivering in 2024, the A321 XLR is designed to have a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles and can potentially fly 220 passengers for up to 11 hours. This new and unique capability gives CEB the opportunity to develop new markets from key cities other than MNL.
As the new A320neo enter into service, the older A320ceo aircraft will be subsequently retired.