Sichuan Airlines flies to Cebu from Chongqing

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Sichuan Airlines recently launched direct flights from Chongqing (China) to Cebu (Philippines. Flights depart every Tues-Thur-Fri-Sun. The four hour flight utilizes the Airbus 321 aircraft.

CAPA: Airlines Responding to Congestion with ‘High-Density’ Plane

AN AVIATION think tank said low-cost carriers (LCCs) in Southeast Asia, including Cebu Air, Inc., are moving to replacing their fleets with larger and high-density aircraft to maximize airport space, but the huge order book in the region is starting to get “alarming” as this will have a huge impact on capacity balance.

A321neo CFM AIRBUS V08 300dpi

“LCCs in Southeast Asia are starting to respond to growing infrastructure constraints at several airports in the region by up-gauging aircraft,” the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said in an analysis released on Friday.

“The use of larger and higher density narrowbody aircraft is logical as it maximizes the use of precious slots; but is also somewhat alarming given the huge order book for the Southeast Asian LCC sector.”

Cebu Air operates Cebu Pacific Air, which has the “most pronounced up-gauge strategy” of all LCCs in Southeast Asia after placing an order for 30 A321neos in 2011.

“The replacement of A320ceos with A321neos is an important component of the Cebu Pacific long term strategy to continue expanding at its Manila hub without increasing the number of flights. Manila is currently operating at capacity and very few — if any — additional slots are expected to become available over the next several years,” CAPA explained.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines, Inc. is also adopting a similar strategy of maximizing its slots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by replacing A320ceos with A321ceos and later A321neos. The carrier already phased out its A319 fleet last year.

CAPA noted that while Cebu Pacific has not yet committed to expanding its widebody fleet, any decision to lease additional A330s would be likely “driven by opportunities to up-gauge more short haul flights” instead of expanding its long haul network.

Over the next few years, A321s will become the “backbone of the fleet” of Cebu Pacific and other Southeast Asian LCCs, “resulting in an up to 33% increase in capacity before factoring in any expansion of the fleet.”

As of Dec. 11 (2015), Cebu Pacific operates eight A319-100, 33 A320-200, six A330-300E, and eight ATR 72-500, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

Source: Daphne J. Magturo,

Cebu Pacific Studying Europe, US West Coast Destinations


BUDGET CARRIER Cebu Pacific Air said it is considering potential new destinations in Europe and the West Coast of the United States and evaluating new aircraft capable of servicing those routes.

“At this time, we’re still in the feasibility study stage. We’re getting basic data from all aircraft manufacturers to assess whether there’s a business case to fly in EU (European Union) and West Coast United States,” according to Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and chief executive officer of the carrier’s parent Cebu Air, Inc.Speaking on the sidelines of the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Pasig City late Thursday, Mr. Gokongwei said: “We’re constantly evaluating our fleet plans, so if we were to do EU (European Union) and West Coast United States, we need a new aircraft.”

Mr. Gokongwei added that the carrier is constantly evaluating its fleet plans and talking with all manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing, saying “if we were to fly there, we will need a new aircraft.”

Cebu Pacific Air currently has 50 aircraft, and is has pending orders for 11 Airbus A320 single-aisle aircraft, plus 30 slightly larger A321 models under the new engine option (NEO) plan, as well as two twin-aisle A330s for operating lease. It is due to end its leases on eight A320s amid a move to the more-efficient A321 NEO.

This year, the carrier will take delivery of five Airbus A320s and three A330s and will return four leased A320s.

Cebu Pacific has increased seat capacity in markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, China and Japan.

“I think the market is going towards a larger fleet. Slots are limited so we went from A320 to A321,” Mr. Gokongwei explained. The A320 has 150-180 seats while the A321 has 185-220.

Asked if it is seeking more seat entitlements to other destinations, Cebu Air, Inc. General Manager Alejandro B. Reyes said that the company has requested the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to prioritize air talks with Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

“We feel that there’s really a lot of potential in those countries, especially in Hong Kong and Australia,” Mr. Reyes said.

“Currently Hong Kong has 15,000 seats available for Philippine carriers, so we’d like to see a substantial increase. There hasn’t been a capacity increase in about six years between the two,” Mr. Reyes said.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla told BusinessWorld early this month that it is targeting air talks with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the second semester of the year.

This year, the Philippines has so far concluded successful air talks with Canada, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and France. The country will hold air service talks with South Africa on July 9-10.

Dubai, Australia and Kuwait are currently Cebu Pacific’s long-haul destinations. Its foreign operations are largely focused on East Asian markets.

As part of a strategic alliance, Cebu Air, Inc. agreed in February to acquire 100% of Tigerair Philippines, including a 40% stake of Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd.

Cebu Air, Inc. closed at ₱56.55 on Friday, down 45 centavos or 0.79% from June 26’s ₱57.

Source:  Chrisee Jalyssa V. Dela Paz, BusinessWorld Online

JV Between Philippines-Cambodia: New Cambodian Airlines To Fly Dash 8s, A321s


Talks between Cambodian telecommunications, banking and property tycoon Kith Meng and Philippine Airlines (PAL) over a new Cambodian flag carrier called Cambodia Air have intensified following their failure to realize plans to close on a deal on October 15.

On April 25, PAL’s board agreed to acquire a 49-percent stake in Cambodia Air, now solely owned by Meng’s company, Inter Logistics (ILC).

The failure to finalize the joint venture on October 15 followed an earlier extension from July 15, when the parties held high hopes that flights would start in the fourth quarter of this year. According to a statement on the Philippine Stock Exchange, PAL confirmed that the Cambodia national elections delayed the process. Cambodia’s Secretariat of State for Civil Aviation reports that it hasn’t yet issued Cambodia Airlines its air operator certificate.

PAL plans to invest $10 million in Cambodia Air. The first $1 million would come due on closing, and the balance upon the call of the airline’s board of directors. Under the terms of the merger agreement, PAL will own 961 shares (49 percent), while ILC will own 1,000 shares (51 percent).

Among the closing conditions, PAL has agreed to equip the carrier with 16 to 22 aircraft worth an estimated $1.5 billion over a two-year period. PAL reports that it will initially deploy Bombardier Dash 8s and Airbus A321s. The new carrier would gain traffic rights and slots under bilateral agreements between Cambodia and other countries. Finally, PAL plans to address its own aging fleet with plans to invest $10 billion in new aircraft over a five-year period.

On October 26 and 27 Cambodia Air hosted a career fair in the capital city Phnom Penh in an effort to recruit captains, first officers and cabin crew as well as general airport staff.

PAL president Ramon Ang predicts that a code-share deal with Cambodia Air would boost his airline’s revenue by $300 million to $400 million. PAL has struggled financially for years and faces fierce competition from low-cost carriers, including Cebu Airlines, which controls 28 percent of seating capacity in the Philippine international market compared with PAL’s 23 percent.

PAL has managed to trim its losses since last year by 4.8 percent, according to its financial statement for the period ending on September 30 posted on the Philippine Stock Exchange. It reported a 5.9-percent decline in total revenue due to a decrease in passenger volume, while operating costs essentially stood steady.

If the launch succeeds, Cambodia Air will compete against the country’s sole national carrier, majority government-owned Cambodian Angkor Air. Cambodia Air will also face competition from Asian flag carriers and regional low-cost carriers, including Bangkok Airways, AirAsia, Asiana, China Airlines and Korean Air.

Source: AINonline