Cebu Pacific bolsters fleet, aiming to address flight Disruptions and augment growth

  • Cebu Pacific is set to receive 21 new aircraft this year, surpassing its initial expectation of 15.
  • Ongoing maintenance and supply chain issues have caused flight cancellations and delays.
  • The airline is reopening more routes, including its Manila-Beijing flights in October, anticipating increased air travel demand.

MANILA — Cebu Pacific announced it would expand its fleet further, expecting a delivery of 21 new jets this year. This is a rise from the initially planned 15 aircraft.

This expansion comes as the airline grapples with flight disruptions due to several of its planes undergoing maintenance. Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer, faces challenges in promptly servicing the backlog of aircraft due to supply chain hiccups.

Of the 21 aircraft, the roster consists of 17 Airbus neo (new engine option) and four ceo (current engine option) planes. On July 27, the airline accepted a brand-new Airbus A321neo from Hamburg, marking the ninth aircraft delivery in 2021. Additionally, an A320neo unit was added to the fleet about a month prior from the Airbus facility in Tianjin.

Alex Reyes, the chief strategy officer of Cebu Pacific, emphasized the airline's commitment to sustainability and said, "The addition of these new-generation planes underscores our commitment to provide reliable service. Simultaneously, we are keen on progressing with our sustainability initiatives."

Cebu Pacific has dedicated P42 billion for capital expenditure this year, primarily for aircraft-related investments. This surge in aircraft acquisition is timely, as the aviation industry observes increasing air travel demand and a gradual reopening of more routes.

The airline, which currently serves 35 domestic and 23 international locations, has indicated its plans to resume Manila-Beijing flights by October. This is in response to anticipated heightened travel demand to Beijing, one of Asia's top tourist destinations. Earlier in the year, Cebu Pacific recommenced flights to other major Chinese cities, including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Xiamen.

Notably, competitors like Philippine Airlines and Air Asia Philippines are also tapping into the rebounding passenger demand by reopening their routes to China.