By: AirTravellerPH Staff
The past year, 2019, was indeed a roller coaster ride for commercial aviation. The crash of Ethiopian Air 737 MAX 8 which lead to the grounding of all 737 MAX aircraft worldwide, the announcement of the end of the A380 line, and the launch of new aircraft like the Airbus A321XLR which really made waves. The same "roller-coaster ride" indeed goes for Philippine commercial aviation which now makes 2020 more interesting.
By: AirTravellerPH Staff
A recent report from the Philippines's Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that as of the current year (2019), domestic scheduled passenger traffic reached 15,160,999. Out of that, 6,601,280 were transported by Cebu Pacific and 968,576 were transported by CebGo. This means 7,569,856 passengers were transported by both Cebu Pacific and CebGo combined, accounting to 50% of the total domestic passenger traffic!
Philippine-based carriers are set to receive around 84 more aircraft in the coming years as of this writing. This is both good news and bad news. Good news is that the Philippine commercial aviation industry is indeed growing. This means more tourism, more jobs, more investment, and more taxes. Bad news is, the government is currently pressured to really come up with a new airport that will serve Metro Manila.
Cebu Pacific ordered 10 Airbus A321XLRs during the 2019 Paris Air Show, and the aircraft will be configured to fit 240 passengers. They also announced that they will be introducing new routes utilizing the long-range narrow-body jet from Airbus. The A321XLR has a range of 8,700km which can carry up to 240 passengers in a single-class configuration. So now, we predict where Cebu Pacific will possibly fly the aircraft.
We see more low cost airlines ordering them in the future. A few months after Cebu Pacific placed an order for 16 Airbus A330-900NEO and 10 Airbus A321XLR, AirAsia X followed suit with an order of 12 additional Airbus A330-900NEO and 30 A321XLR. More than added capacity, both can fly longer distances. The A330-900NEO can fly non-stop from Manila to United States West Coast while A321XLR can now fly straight from Kuala Lumpur to Australia.
We are all familiar with Cebu Pacific's present fleet of Airbus jets but little did many know that they were about to be a Boeing operator in 2004 as they were close to purchasing the Boeing 717! Sadly, Boeing no longer produces the 717 and if Cebu Pacific ordered the jet in favor of the Airbus A319, the Embraer E175, or the Bombardier CRJ200. They were supposed to serve as replacements for the ageing Douglas DC-9-30s during that time.
When we think of low-fares and affordable air travel in the Philippines, one airline comes in mind, and that is Cebu Pacific. They are like the "Colgate" and "Xerox" when Filipinos search for "murang airline ticket" or "cheap airline tickets." Moreso, they changed the way other airlines would purchase aircraft, influencing a myriad of carriers in the Philippines to go for the Airbus A320.
You might be wondering why Cebu Pacific ordered an additional 31 aircraft when they have a pending 34 Airbus jets still to be delivered. Well to be straightforward about it, it is more for additional capacity and better efficiency. Fuel is usually the biggest single expense airlines face nowadays and with oil prices going up, it is but best to utilize more fuel efficient jets in order to keep fares at check and expense lower.