Airbus vs Boeing? Cebu Pacific Philippines in Selection for 100 Narrowbody Jets in Q2 Order

Airbus vs Boeing? Cebu Pacific Philippines in Selection for 100 Narrowbody Jets in Q2 Order
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Cebu Pacific, a Philippine low-cost carrier, is continuing its progress towards the acquisition of large narrow-body aircraft, which has been under discussion since 2023, in an effort to comprehensively mitigate risks. As part of its future plans, Cebu is also reported to be making a decision in May or June on whether to go with Airbus or Boeing for more efficient narrow-body aircraft. It's rumoured that Cebu is considering the purchase of more than 100 aircraft.

According to Reuters, Cebu Pacific is considering options between a combination of Airbus A320neo and A321neo models or Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 and 737 MAX 10, which have larger capacities, for deliveries starting in 2027. This was revealed by the airline's CEO, Michael Szucs, in an interview at the Singapore Airshow.

Cebu Pacific needs a combination of short- and long-range aircraft to adapt to the different types of runways in the Philippines. Its current fleet is all Airbus narrow-bodies, including the A320neo and A321neo. If they switch to Boeing, it would be a significant achievement for the US aircraft manufacturer.

However, Boeing will face significant challenges in this market test, especially after a series of recent crises, including an incident in January when a cabin panel on a MAX 9 aircraft exploded in flight.

Szucs said Boeing has been in close communication with Cebu Pacific and is confident that the issues that led to the panel explosion will be resolved soon.

Cebu Pacific announced its big plans in October, seeking orders for 100 to 150 narrow-body aircraft worth up to $12 billion, which would be the largest purchase in Philippine aviation history. They also plan to double their fleet by 2035, taking advantage of the long-term growth in travel in Southeast Asia following the pandemic.

Szucs mentioned that the deal could include 100 confirmed aircraft orders, as well as several additional options to purchase more aircraft. The decision will take into account engine preferences.

Currently, Cebu Pacific is withholding ten of its A320neo family aircraft for engine inspections. This is to check for potentially faulty components in the Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, a subsidiary of RTX, which are used on some A320neo aircraft.

These engine issues could disrupt the airline's operations in the coming years, but are expected to be resolved by Pratt & Whitney by 2027, when Cebu Pacific will receive new aircraft. The airline recently selected Pratt & Whitney engines to power 15 A320neo aircraft on order.

Cebu Pacific's decision will have significant implications for the airline itself and the aviation industry as a whole. It will be interesting to see which aircraft manufacturer the airline chooses to expand its fleet with in the future.

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