Gokongwei-owned airline, Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ single largest domestic carrier, took delivery of its first brand new ATR 72-500 aircraft yesterday from Toulouse, France.
Candice Iyog, CEB spokesperson, said that the arrival of the ATR is another significant milestone for the company, as it starts taking delivery of up to eighteen ATR aircraft valued at over US$ 330 million.
“We continue to have the newest and youngest fleet in the Philippines with the delivery of our first ATR aircraft. We expect to take delivery another five ATRs from March to December of this year,” Iyog said.
Iyog added, “Our fleet expansion with the ATR aircraft is a critical step to achieving our goal of bringing air travel closer to more Filipinos.”
She further explained that with the ATR fleet, CEB will now be able to fly into more airports in the country and extend its trademark low fares to more Filipinos.
Stéphane Mayer, ATR CEO, declared: “We are honoured with this first introduction in such an important and strategic market. ATR is consolidating its strong leader position in Asia, which represents more than 60% of our new orders since the recovery of the turboprop market in 2005. With their ability to land on short runways, their reliability, and their ease of maintenance, the ATR aircraft will bring an optimal service to Cebu Pacific. We will be glad to take part in the expansion of Cebu Pacific and the growth of their network”.
The airline will also take delivery of four brand new Airbus A320 aircraft this year. CEB expects to have a fleet of 25 by yearend 2008, with 6 ATRs and 19 A320/319 aircraft. This will be used to support its rapid domestic and international network expansion geared to carry more than seven million passengers this year.
Now in its 12th year, CEB flies to 12, soon to be 15 international destinations, with the addition of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Kaohsiung. CEB also operates flights to 21 domestic destinations with the addition of Boracay (Caticlan) beginning February 29, 2008.