The Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), one of the world’s leading aviation think-tanks, said in a recent report that Cebu Pacific (5J) is expected to expand operations in China with the expected delivery of its brand new A321NEO that will allow the low cost carrier to open new routes and grow capacity.
“Cebu Pacific is particularly keen to use the A321neo to open new routes deeper into China,” CAPA said in its report, noting that the aircrafts will also support plans for its North Asia expansion. Currently 5J has 17 weekly flights to four destinations in China.
“However, it is keen to add new flights to China, both scheduled and charters, in line with expected further rapid growth in the China-Philippines market,” it added.
Based on CAPA analysis, visitor numbers from China grew by approximately 20% in 2016, as China overtook Japan to become the country’s third largest source market for the Philippines. Aside from China, Cebu Pacific is also considering opening a branch office in Japan to help support future capacity growth in both markets.
“Cebu Pacific has expanded in Japan in recent years, adding three destinations for a total of four, and will likely use the A321neo to add capacity and new destinations,” it said in its report.
CAPA said Japan is now Cebu Pacific’s third largest international market after Hong Kong and Singapore, while South Korea is its fourth largest international market.
Cebu Pacific ended 2016 with a fleet of 57 aircraft — up only two from the beginning of the year. Cebu Pacific’s fleet was flat at 47 aircraft, while its turboprop subsidiary Cebgo expanded its fleet from eight to 10 aircraft.