Cebu Air Inc., the operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, plans to acquire new-generation widebody aircraft for long-haul flights to the US West Coast, according to an aviation think tank.
The Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation said Cebu Pacific was studying the acquisition of A350, 787 and A330 neo and planned to issue a formal tender to Airbus and Boeing in the third quarter of 2017.
Cebu Pacific launched its long-haul operation in 2013, with A330-300 services to Dubai. It now operates five-long haul routes to the Middle East and Australia and also uses its A330 fleet on several short-haul routes.
Capa said the airline was slated to take its eighth and final A330-300 in the first half of 2017, completing the first phase of its widebody strategy.
“Phase two of Cebu Pacific’s long-haul strategy has always been to transition to a new longer-range widebody type and launch flights to California, which has the largest Filipino community not already served by Cebu Pacific,” Capa said.
“With new aircraft technology now available, and rival Philippine Airlines pursuing rapid expansion in the US market, it is time for Cebu Pacific to strategically make its move,” it said.
The airline in March launched four-times weekly flights between Manila and Guam, its first US destination.
Cebu Pacific offers flights to 36 domestic and 30 international destinations and operates an extensive network across Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the US.
Its 58-strong fleet is comprised of six Airbus A319, 36 Airbus A320, six Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500 and two ATR 72-600 aircraft.
Cebu Pacific expects delivery of two more brand-new Airbus A330, 32 Airbus A321neo and 14 ATR 72-600 aircraft between 2016 and 2021.
Cebu Pacific earlier reported a net income of P7.09 billion in January to September, up 99.6 percent from P3.56 billion in the same period last year.
Revenues went up 10.5 percent to P46.69 billion from P42.30 billion.