Cebu Pacific Eyes Larger Aircraft for Europe

With the Farnborough Airshow well under way in the United Kingdom, the eyes of the world are watching as jet manufacturers accept orders from the world's airlines as they expand their fleets. Boeing and Airbus are expected to attain more than 500 orders worth in excess of $50 billion. While it is unclear whether any Philippine carrier will be placing an order at this year's show, what is clear is that both of the country's top airlines are currently on the hunt for large, long range aircraft. 

Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
Most of the attention at this year's show, held from July 14-20, will be on Airbus as they are expected to launch a newer version of the popular A330 jetliner currently operated by both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Airbus is hoping to add more than 1,000 new sales to its existing order sheet from carriers such as Cebu Pacific. The country's largest low cost airline is in desperate need of longer range aircraft as it intends to serve destinations in Europe and the mainland United States. The carrier's existing fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft and A330 aircraft do not have the range to reach these highly coveted destinations. 

According to Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei, the carrier is still mulling over the acquisition of bigger aircraft to expand its long haul operations. At a recent stockholders meeting, Gokongwei stated that the company is in "constant contact with all aircraft manufacturers" including Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier.

As of March 2014, the number of aircraft in the Cebu Pacific fleet increased to 51 aircraft including the addition of three brand new A330 wide body aircraft.  The carrier only had 43 aircraft the previous year. The plan to acquire larger aircraft remains in line with the carrier's plan to operate long-haul flights to Europe and the United States. 

"We're constantly evaluating our complete plan," said Gokongwei. "So clearly if we're to do Europe and West Coast in the United States, then we need a new aircraft. At this time we're still on our feasibility study." Cebu Pacific is currently using its existing fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft to serve Dubai along with regional destinations such as Singapore and domestic destinations such as Davao. 

Cebu Pacific believes that one of the competitive advantages of its long haul service is the ability for guests to enjoy a fast and convenient connection in the same terminal to the airline's extensive network in the Philippines and throughout Asia. Gokongwei added that the airline is thoroughly studying expansion plans to Europe and the United States at the present time. 

"We are going to expand our long-haul route network as time goes by. We're trying to find opportunities in both short, regional, and long markets," said Gokongwei. "For Europe, we are studying all our options there. On our route list, we are beginning to consider to do some charters in Russia, particularly from Kalibo and Cebu."

Cebu Pacific recently announced that it will be expanding its long-haul network in September to Kuwait and Australia using its 436-seat A330-300 aircraft. The carrier will become the only airline offering non-stop service from Manila to Kuwait, which is home to 180,000 Filipino workers. Flights to Kuwait will be operated three times weekly, while service to Sydney, Australia will be operated four times weekly. Cebu Pacific is expected to expand to the United States by the end of the year with flights to Guam operated by the carrier's A320 fleet. 


  1. hope Cebu pacific will order the 777 300ers

  2. L.L.C. model is not compatible with long haul flights. Imagine being packed like sardines with nothing really to do for more than 12 hours! It may look promising at the beginning due to lower prices, but may be bad in the long run since it cost an airline a lot to fly long haul. It will also open to lawsuits when people end up having certain medical conditions due to lack of stretching opportunity. Better have them stay in short to medium haul. They even have a challenge now in mid east

  3. Actually quite the opposite: you use more fuel on take-off/landing than you do flying, so flying long haul is cheaper/km than flying short haul.

    IATA has a standard that you cannot squeeze people like sardines on long flights. This is why the legroom on the A330 is 2-3 inches LONGER than the A320s currently being used.

    To be honest, I find 5J's A330s more comfortable than PR's new A330s in economy class.


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