Cebu Pacific is looking to order up to 16 new widebody aircraft, and has requested for Airbus and Boeing to provide more information about its A330neo and 787.
The low-cost airline’s chief executive adviser Mike Szucs tells FlightGlobal that the RFI was sent out in late 2018, and that discussions with the manufacturers will take place this quarter. Thereafter, it expects to launch a request for proposal for the widebody jets in the middle of the year.
The aircraft are expected to be delivered from the end of 2020 or in 2021. They will support growth in slot-constrained markets rather than the expansion of the airline's long-haul network.
“We are not doubling our widebody fleet to go and fly lots of places long-haul. Yes we will want to do long-haul, yes we may do the [US] west coast, but that is not our priority,” says Szucs.
“Our priority, we see it more as a big bus in these very very slot-constrained markets, where the only way we are going to grow is through extra seat capacity. There will be some long-haul routes for sure, but about 75% of the flying of the widebodies will be in the short-haul regional market around Asia Pacific.”
Cebu Pacific in 2017 shelved plans for new generation widebodies as competition on its long-haul services intensified, forcing it to cease services to Riyadh, Kuwait and Doha. Local competitor Philippine Airlines is also going strong into North America as it takes delivery of A350s.
Cebu Pacific's widebody fleet comprises eight A330s, which it puts on services to Sydney, Melbourne, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo. The aircraft also plies domestic services from Manila to Davao, FlightGlobal schedules shows.