Cebu Pacific (CEB) is expanding its Cebu operations hub with the addition of two new aircraft and three new domestic flights.
Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei said CEB will take delivery of two high standard regional ATR 3 and ATR 4 turboprop aircraft on October and November, respectively.
These aircraft will be based in Cebu and will strengthen the CEB hub at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which presently has four Airbus A320s.
The two new environment-friendly and fuel-efficient planes involve a combined investment of US$40 million.
Gokongwei said the two aircraft will also strengthen Cebu’s already leading presence in the domestic and international front, improve frequencies and schedules and optimize Cebu’s central location in the country.
He said the CEB set up its Cebu hub after considering the vibrancy of the market, the strategic location of the province being in the center of the country and the availability of skilled people who can carry out the airlines services.
Gokongwei said CEB earlier ordered 10 ATRs, which are manufactured in France. The first two arrived in the first quarter this year and are now based in CEB’s Manila hub.
The budget airline expects delivery of six more planes in the coming months. Its fleet is expected to have 25 planes by the end of this year and grow to 31 aircraft next year.
With the new aircraft, CEB will service three new routes: Cebu-Dipolog, Cebu-Ozamis, and Cebu-Surigao.
The three-times a week Cebu-Dipolog route will start on Oct. 3 with an all-in seat sale of P688 (US$15), or 57 percent less than CEBs competitors, said Gokongwei.
The Cebu-Ozamis route, also three times a week, will start on Nov. 10, while the four-times a week Cebu-Surigao route will start Nov. 13. Both will have an all-in seat sale of P688.
This is a way to encourage people to fly, Gokongwei said,.
With more flights out of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, he said the airline will be able to further support Cebu as a tourism and economic gateway in the country and provide better product for business travelers who frequently fly sometimes twice a day.
However, due to general difficulties faced by the airline industry – mainly as a result of the rising fuel prices – that pushed about 20 airlines in other countries to declare bankruptcy in the past six months, CEB has no plans of adding international routes between now and December.
Gokongwei said that while CEB is affected by the same difficulties faced by the airline industry, it will continue to look for cost-efficient measures to be able to serve its customers.