Toulouse, France: Cebu Pacific took delivery of its first A330-300 during a special ceremony in Toulouse on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The aircraft is the first of four A330s being leased by Cebu Pacific from US lessor CIT, and will be used to launch the carrier’s new long-haul, low-fare operation.
Cebu Pacific has specified a single class layout for its A330 fleet seating 436 passengers.
The airline will initially operate the first aircraft on medium-haul regional routes, before launching its first long-haul services to Dubai in October.
The carrier said that passengers flying on the aircraft will be able to enjoy the airline’s wifi connectivity.
“Were using it initially for short haul, Singapore and Incheon [Korea]. Manila-Singapore, Manila-Incheon, because we need to deploy that in short haul [where there are more passenger demand is],” said Alex Reyes, general manager of the Long Haul Division of Cebu Pacific.
The carrier said that the deal is a 12-year lease agreement with the CIT.
CIT Aerospace provides financing solutions to a broad spectrum of the global aerospace value chain, ranging from operators of commercial and business aircrafts to manufacturers and suppliers in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as to financial institutions.
“The signing ceremony today [Wednesday in France] is what we called transfer of title, so it’s become, instead of Airbus owning it, it becomes the property of CIT. Of course, we lease it from CIT so today is the official turnover of the aircraft,” Reyes said.
Additional seat capacity
The budget carrier said that by obtaining new aircraft, the budget carrier would add additional seat capacity for its short- and long-haul flights.
“Ichon would really add to the capacity. We’re actually adding capacity in to it, we’re adding total seat capacity to it, so it’s growing the number of Korean tourists . . . so we’re putting it to Inchon as well,” Reyes said.
One of Cebu Pacific’s remaining three aircraft would be delivered in September, and it will be used on its long-haul expansion which is Dubai. The other one is in the first quarter of next year and the fourth aircraft will be delivered on the second quarter of 2014. All three aircraft are also on lease.
“This past week, we’ve been doing the technical acceptance, last week there was a test flight, with our own pilot, of course, to test how the aircraft performs,” Reyes said.
The airline currently operates 10 Airbus A319, 25 Airbus A320 and eight ATR-72 500 aircraft. Its fleet of 43 aircraft is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world.
Between 2013 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 17 more Airbus A320 and 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft orders. It is slated to begin long-haul services in the third quarter of 2013.
“As we said, anywhere that there’s a big Filipino community we will fly there, obviously Saudi Arabia is in our radar screen,” Reyes said.