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Cebu Pacific receives first China-built Airbus A320neo aircraft

Aviation Updates Philippines – Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air received its first China-built Airbus A320neo aircraft, with registry RP-C4138, on Friday, June 30, 2023.

Photo from Airbus

Cebu Pacific's newest aircraft was assembled at the Airbus Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Tianjin, China. This is the first time the low-cost airline has received a China-assembled Airbus aircraft, marking a significant milestone between Cebu Pacific and the European aircraft maker.

The Tianjin FAL, inaugurated in 2008, is the first assembly line outside Europe. Aside from China, Airbus has FALs in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Mobile, United States.

"We are thrilled to welcome this delivery, which is a major milestone for both Airbus and Cebu Pacific. This is in line with our fleet plan, which aims to support our overall growth ambitions as travel demand continues to recover," said Michael Szucs, CEB Chief Executive Officer.

During the delivery flight, Cebu Pacific boasted of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with a 41 percent blend as part of the low-cost airline's sustainability initiatives. This is, however, not the first time that Cebu Pacific used SAF on its delivery flights.

READ: Cebu Pacific launches green flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel

"Cebu Pacific has been the Philippine leader in propelling decarbonization in the aviation industry. This aircraft delivery, powered by SAF, demonstrates our commitment to providing safe, convenient, and reliable travel for our customers, while building a greener and more sustainable future," said Alex Reyes, CEB Chief Strategy Officer.

The 188-seat Airbus A320neo aircraft will complement the airline's existing fleet of 74 aircraft, composed of ATR 72-600, Airbus A320neo, Airbus A321neo, Airbus A330-300, and Airbus A330neo aircraft.

READ: EXPLAINER: The reason behind PAL and Cebu Pacific's flight disruptions

Cebu Pacific has been experiencing a shortage of aircraft due to the increasing maintenance requirements of some of its Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320neo family aircraft. This has resulted in some flight disruptions and reduced flight frequencies to cope with the aircraft shortage.

The airline will receive 15 new aircraft in 2023, including 10 brand new Airbus A320neo family aircraft. These new aircraft will help Cebu Pacific transition to a more fuel-efficient fleet by 2028. In addition, the low-cost airline will also receive five additional aircraft via long-term lease.

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