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.
Just last June during the Paris Air Air Show, Cebu Pacific signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for 16 A330-900NEOs, 10 A321XLR (NEO), and 5 A320NEO. NEO actually stands for New Engine Option, and for Cebu Pacific, that would mean that their fleet will be powered by the Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine for the A330s, and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engine for the A321 and A320s. Once all deliveries are complete, the airline will be operating 65 Airbus NEO aircraft with 7 A321CEOs or Current Engine Option.
So where will they fly these aircraft? First of all, the NEOs will be replacing the old fleet which consists of current engine options A330-300s and A320-200s. Secondly, the new aircraft will allow more capacity while keeping costs down. Third, they will be able to address the problem of airport congestion in major destinations where getting slots is a huge problem. Example, instead of operating 2 A320 flights in one airport, Cebu Pacific can opt for a single A330 flight and add an additional A321 to address the demand yet, without having problems of getting more slots.
Cebu Pacific has mentioned that they are not keen on more long haul routes just yet as they want to maximize the demands in its existing routes. Though their upcoming Airbus A330-900NEOs have the capability to fly non-stop to the United States west coast and Europe, it seems like adding more long haul flights will be placed in the back burner first.
This does make more sense as the airline's upcoming A330-900NEO will have 460 all-economy seats from the current 436 on its A330-300. This may mean that the upcoming ones may have thinner and more economical seats like those found on the current Airbus A321s that they have. These may be good for flights up to Australia but we are not sure how comfortable they would be for flights going to the United States west coast or for Europe.
We are pretty sure that those A321XLRs (same as the A321NEO with additional 2 center fuel tanks) will be used for Australian, and maybe India routes in the future as they have the capacity to fly such range. Philippine Airlines uses its A321NEOs from Manila to as far as Sydney so we do also see Cebu Pacific doing the same thing which will complement its A330 operations. Also, the airline's XLR will have 240 all economy seats, that means 4 more additional seats from its current A321NEO with 236, and 10 more compared to its A321CEO with 230 seats.
We are pretty sure Cebu Pacific is planning more routes already but as of now, their aim is to maximize their present routes and making its operations more efficient. After all the new aircraft has been delivered and the old ones phased out, Cebu Pacific will have 75 Airbus jets, should they not put any other orders from now.