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PBBM welcomes Cebu Pacific’s fleet expansion; CEB says investment a stamp of confidence to PH economy

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday welcomed Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) multi-billion dollar plan to acquire new aircraft from Airbus, the largest aircraft order in Philippine aviation history.

The President told CEB officials during their courtesy call in Malacañang Tuesday that their plan “is a very good sign” for the Philippine economy.

“It gives us great deal of encouragement that if we get it right, we can actually get something done and make the transformation of our economy. Make it happen,” President Marcos said.

The airline company signed a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus for the purchase of up to 152 A32neo aircrafts for US$24 billion based on set prices.

The order, according to CEB Chief Executive Officer Michael Szucs, is an indication of the company’s confidence in the Philippine economy.

“This is an enormously a bold step. We wouldn’t be doing it without having confidence in the direction the country is going,” Szucs told President Marcos.

Once finalized, the deal will be a significant milestone for the local airline industry and a testament to CEB’s unwavering commitment to support the Philippine growth story, he said.

Szucs said the expansion is designed to provide CEB with momentum and flexibility to make the fleet growth adapt to market conditions. It gives the airline the ability to switch between the A321neo and A320neo.

CEB has selected Pratt & Whitney GTF engines to power the aircraft. The MOU covers orders for up to 102 A321neo and 50 A320neo Family purchase rights.

The CEB officials led by Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., which owns Cebu Pacific, informed President Marcos of its investment plans and government support to keep the Philippine aviation industry competitive.

Szucs said the company led the domestic airline market with 54 percent market share, followed by the Philippine Airlines (29 percent) and AirAsia (17 percent). Its first quarter 2024 revenue reached PhP25.3 billion with total assets at about PhP200 billion.

CEB was awarded Best Airline at the Routes Asia 2024 Awards in February 2024 in recognition of its contributions to airport and destination marketing in the Asia Pacific region, specifically the resumption of its Clark hub operations and launching of 15 domestic and international destinations in April last year. (PND)