Cebu Pacific Airways (CEB) has taken a step into the long-haul air market, following the arrival of its first ever wide-body aircraft.
The Philippine low-cost carrier took delivery of its first new Airbus A330-300 yesterday, during a ceremony at the European planemaker’s factory in Toulouse. The aircraft is the first of four A330s scheduled to be delivered to CEB, which will use the launch its new long-haul low-cost operations.
“The delivery of our first wide-body aircraft marks a milestone for Cebu Pacific,” said Lance Gokongwei, CEB’s president & chief executive officer. “The addition of the highly efficient A330 to our fleet ultimately translates to unbeatable operating costs, enabling us to offer the lowest possible fares to our guests. In addition, we will be the only Filipino carrier flying non-stop between Manila and Dubai, eliminating multiple stops or connecting flights.”
CEB has configured its twin-aisle A330-300s with just one cabin, seating the maximum capacity of 436 passengers in an all-economy class layout. The aircraft will also be installed with in-flight Wi-Fi services. CEB will initially operate the first aircraft on medium-haul regional routes, before launching its first long-haul services to Dubai in October 2013. Other long-haul destinations under consideration include Australia, the US and Europe.
“We are delighted to welcome Cebu Pacific as a new A330 operator,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers. “In the airline’s layout the A330 will offer the lowest possible operating costs per seat. This will enable Cebu Pacific to offer a highly competitive product, bringing its great value-based service to long haul routes.”
The A330 will join CEB’s fleet of single-aisle A320 aircraft, which it operates across a network of 34 domestic and 22 short-haul international destinations. In addition to its leased A330s, the carrier has outstanding orders for a further 47 A320s, including 30 of the new, fuel-efficient A321neo.