Cebu Pacific Acquires Its First A321

Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific has just received its first A321 aircraft on March 22.  RP-C4111 landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at about 10.27 am.

Cebu Pacific A321
Copyright Photo: Dirk Grothe/PPSG

This is the first of seven A321s with a current engine option (A321CEO) that the the carrier is expected to receive.  It will also take delivery of 32 A321s with a new engine option (A321NEO) starting in late-2018.

The new A321s have seats designed by aircraft seat maker Recaro.  They feature USB ports so passengers can charge their mobile devices during their flights.   The seats are also 40% lighter than most existing economy class seats and are ergonomically designed.  Cebu Pacific also says their new seating arrangements will allow them to not only add up to 50 more seats but also increase the legroom between each row.  Thus, the A321s can seat up to 230 passengers, which according to Cebu Pacific will help bring down unit seat costs and eventually ticket prices for passengers.

According to the carrier, the A321 is an important part of its plans to expand its network which consists of 63 destinations and 100 routes.  It is still unknown which destinations the A321 will serve but Cebu Pacific 'will immediately enter commercial service in time for the summer peak travel season', according to the Inquirer.

The A321 is Airbus' longest single-aisle aircraft.  Cebu Pacific also becomes the second Philippine carrier to operate the said aircraft after Philippine Airlines (PAL) took delivery of its first A321 in 2013.  Like Cebu Pacific, PAL will also take delivery of A321NEOs later in 2018.

Cebu Pacific also has 36 A320s and 8 A330s in its mainline fleet.  Meanwhile, its subsidiary Cebgo has eight ATR 72-500s and nine ATR 72-600s.

Although more low-cost carriers around the world choose an A319 or A320 as their preferred choice of aircraft, Philippine carriers have lately embraced the A321 for its added capacity and its fleet commonalities with the A320.  Although it is also unclear if Cebu Pacific will use the A321 to eventually replace its existing A320s, doing so nonetheless also helps solve the congestion problems that have been plaguing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for several years.  

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