|Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG|
According to Lance Gokongwei, CEO of Cebu Pacific, the A330 has established itself as the aircraft of choice for low-cost carriers. "The A330 has proven to be the right choice for our long haul low fare product," said Gokongwei. "The newly ordered aircraft will enable us to add more long haul routes, including the launch of our first flights to the US."
Although Cebu Pacific has not revealed which routes the new aircraft will be deployed on, there is strong possibility that the aircraft will be utilised on a new non-stop route from Manila to Honolulu, Hawaii, and a route to Melbourne, Australia, after the success Cebu Pacific experienced in the Sydney market.
Cebu Pacific originally launched service to Sydney, Australia in September 2014. Although it took time for the new route to mature, the carrier carried a leading 138,793 passengers between Manila and Sydney in 2015, earning itself a dominant 41 percent share of the market. The carrier continues to fly four to five weekly flights between the two cities.
According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Cebu Pacific previously planned to launch flights between Melbourne and Manila by the end of 2015. However, delays were caused by the failure to secure a gate in Manila for the new route.
The latest indications suggest that Melbourne and Honolulu remain possible destinations for 2016. The addition of the two new wide-body aircraft make this an even strong possibility. Although Cebu Pacific could redeploy one of its existing A330 aircraft to operate Melbourne flights, the carrier wants to continue utilising the aircraft on domestic trunk routes in order to maintain market share. With the acquisition of the new aircraft now complete, the launch of Melbourne flights hinges on the carrier's ability to secure the necessary gates and slots.
Meanwhile, Airbus expressed its gratitude for the order, re-affirming the efficiency of the Airbus A330 aircraft, which makes it an ideal fit for long-haul low-cost operations. "This order from Cebu Pacific is another endorsement of the unrivalled efficiency of the A330 for profitable long haul low cost services," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operation Officer, Customers. "Combining low operating costs, proven reliability and a great passenger experience, the A330 is the clear preferred choice of airlines in this competitive market segment."
The A330 aircraft remains one of the most popular wide-body aircraft ever built having won more than 1,600 orders. Currently, there are more than 1,300 aircraft of its type flying around the world with approximately 120 different airlines.