Brent Hannon/MANILA

Philippines domestic carrier Cebu Pacific Air plans to conclude a deal with Boeing for up to fourteen 717s, to replace its ageing McDonnell-Douglas DC-9s.

The Manila-based airline, which has 12 DC-9-30s, says it is in final negotiations with Boeing about a firm order for ten 717s, with four options, which it will use to update its fleet and fly on regional routes to Singapore and Jakarta.

"We're pretty much settled on the 717, and we've reached an agreement on price," says Cebu Pacific managing advisor Ron Ridgeway, who adds that the Airbus A318 was also evaluated. The airline is now arranging financing for the 717s.

Delivery of the first four aircraft is set for 2001, with three following in 2002 and three more in 2003. The four options would be delivered in 2004. The airline expects that replacing its DC-9s with 717s will result in fuel savings of at least 30% and produce lower maintenance costs.

Within a year, Cebu Pacific plans to begin its first scheduled international route, a four-times weekly Manila-Singapore-Jakarta-Manila flight. There is no airline service currently between the Philippines and Jakarta. Singapore services are also planned.

Domestic turboprop carrier Asian Spirit, meanwhile, has ordered two IPTN CN-235s and one Let L-410, says president Antonio Buendia. The first CN-235 is in service, with the second due to arrive in mid-June.

The CN-235s will eventually replace the airline's six ageing NAMC YS-11 twin turboprops, while the new L-410 will replace a similar aircraft which crashed last December.

Source: Flight International