Cebu Pacific Air may try to secure more narrowbody jets, a tactic it believes could be needed to defend its position against a resurgent Philippine Airlines (PAL).
Cebu Pacific will revisit its fleet plans to determine “what additional lift it may need to supplement its existing orders,” Garry Kingshott, Cebu Pacific’s CEO-advisor tells Aviation Week.
“We’ve got a large number of deliveries in 2013 and 2014 and it looks like this may be enough, but we will look at the possibility [of getting more],” he adds.
Kingshott says there are two reasons why Cebu Pacific is reconsidering its fleet plan: the airline’sare leaving the fleet earlier than expected; and Cebu Pacific anticipates PAL will place a large order for aircraft for delivery in 2013-14.
Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp. recently assumed control of PAL, and Ramon Ang–who is the president of PAL and San Miguel–earlier this month revealed that he is in talks with Airbus andand plans to soon place an order for new aircraft.
According to PAL’s website, the carrier operates three-400s, three -300ERs (with a fourth due in November), four Airbus -300s, eight Airbus -300s, 15 Airbus A320s and four A319s.
PAL has fewer narrowbody aircraft than Cebu Pacific, which currently operates 10 A319s, 21 A320s and eight-500s, although Cebu Pacific recently signed a deal to sell the 10 A319s to U.S. carrier Allegiant Travel Company. The aircraft will be delivered to Allegiant over a 15-month period starting in March.
Cebu Pacific says it currently commands a 45% share of the Philippine domestic market and a 16% share of the international market.
Cebu Pacific also has an order with Airbus for 21 A320s and 30 A321NEOs, which should be added to the fleet starting this year and ending 2021.
“The importance of the A321NEOs in years to come, with slot constraints, cannot be under-estimated,” Kingshott says. “It has been our plan to grow capacity in slot constrained markets.”
Even though Cebu Pacific is moving towards larger narrowbodies, there appears to be little hope of convincing Kingshott of the merits of larger turboprops.
When asked if Cebu Pacific may be interested in the new 90-seat turboprop thatis developing, Kingshott says there is “no interest from where I am sitting.”
Cebu Pacific mostly uses its ATR 72s to serve Caticlan, a small airport that can only handle turboprops and is the gateway to Boracay, the Philippines’ most popular resort area.