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Cebu Pacific bolstering fleet with five more aircraft this year

Cebu Pacific bolstering fleet with five more aircraft this year

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By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad, Inquirer Business

The operator of Cebu Pacific continues to beef up its fleet with a lease deal for an additional five aircraft this year amid an increase in travelers.

In a disclosure on Wednesday, Cebu Air said this was on top of the 10 new Airbus neo (new engine option) units it was set to receive this year. It currently operates a 77-unit fleet.

The company earmarked P42 billion in capital expenditures this year for mostly aircraft-related spending.

“[Cebu Pacific] confirms an additional five aircraft will be entering its fleet in 2023 on operating leases. These fleet are in addition to the orders that will be delivered from its Airbus contract,” Cebu Pacific president and chief commercial officer Xander Lao said.

Three will be based in Clark International Airport. The Gokongwei-led airlines is operating 13 domestic and international routes from Pampanga. These are Caticlan, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Narita and Macau.

“We are excited to reestablish our presence in such an important gateway that will boost accessibility and connectivity for the traveling public,” Lao said earlier.

The remaining two aircraft, meanwhile, would “be used to support overall growth ambitions as Cebu Pacific recovers fully from the pandemic,” he said.

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Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience, previously said the budget carrier was set to fully restore its 34 domestic and 25 international routes by March. It currently accommodates about 350 flights per day on average, which is nearing the 380 to 420 daily flights prior to the pandemic.

Last year, it flew nearly 15 million passengers, a marked growth from just 3.3 million passengers in 2021. The low-cost airline is upbeat on growth opportunities coming from international routes, including Bangkok, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau and China.

The carrier also recently added local and foreign destinations coming from and to Mactan Cebu International Airport. It is set to offer flights to Naga, Hong Kong and Narita. It will have direct flights to 23 domestic and four international destinations from Cebu after launching the said routes.