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Cebu Pacific replacing older aircraft despite crisis

BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific, operated by Cebu Air, Inc. (CEB), received on April 2 its eighth A321NEO aircraft out of 47 narrow-body orders from European planemaker Airbus, a company official said.

“Pre-pandemic, we have already started embarking on our long-term vision and fleet strategy, which includes an orderly exit of older aircraft. We envision the total CEB fleet to be composed of new-generation aircraft in the next few years,” Mark V. Cezar, Cebu Pacific deputy chief finance officer, said in an e-mailed news release on Tuesday.

The budget airline is expecting to receive seven more aircraft this year, a mix of Airbus and ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) fleet.

The newest aircraft “is set to enter service on April 9, 2021, to serve various domestic routes,” the company said.

“To date, the Cebu Pacific 74-strong fleet is comprised of eight A321NEO, 25 Airbus A320, seven Airbus A321CEO, five Airbus A320NEO, seven Airbus A330, six ATR 72-500, and 13 ATR 72-600 aircraft,” the low-cost carrier said.

It also has two ATR freighters on top of one A330 freighter.

Cebu Air recently announced a net loss of P22.2 billion for 2020, mainly due to the coronavirus crisis.

Its total revenues for 2020 dropped 73% to P22.6 billion. Cargo business contributed P5.4 billion or 24% of the total.

Passengers carried last year dropped 78% to five million. The number of flights was 71% lower at 41,804.

Cebu Air shares closed 1.40% lower at P45.70 apiece on Tuesday. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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