20 new busses to ply the Philippine Skies in 2011

4 A320 for Seair
5 A320 for Cebu Pacific
6 A320 for Air Philippines Express
3 A320 for Zest Air
2 A320 for AirAsia Philippines

January 23, 2011

Manila - Twenty brand new airbus aircraft is set to join different airlines in the country this year as it embarks on a major expansion mode in anticipation of booming domestic air traffic which is expected to more than double to over 40 million passengers in less than 10 years.

SEAir president Avelino Zapanta said that at least four brand new Airbuses will join their fleet this year to be deployed to more regional flights as the carrier continue to enter into aircraft lease agreements with Tiger Airways despite massive opposition from other local carriers.

“Definitely, we’re leasing more and entering to more agreements with Tiger Airways. Within this year, we will have more than what we have leased last year,” Zapanta said.

Only one of the two planes is currently in use. By next month, Zapanta said the airline would likely start flights to Macau and Hong Kong.

“We will launch flights to Macau and Hong Kong next month using the other Airbus we leased from Tiger. We are also looking at Bangkok, Taipei and Seoul,” Zapanta said.

Alex B. Reyes, Cebu Air vice-president for commercial planning, said in a speech at the annual aviation summit at Villamor Airbase in Pasay, that they will take delivery of five more brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft in 2011. The airline’s 25th Airbus aircraft, and the first for this year is set to arrive in the last week of January 2011, he said.

“By the end of 2011, Cebu Pacific will be operating a fleet of 37 aircraft, from 32 today. Between 2012 and 2014, it will take additional 16 Airbus A320 aircraft,” Alex Reyes said.

Air Philippines, a sister company of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, said they are expecting 6 aircraft to join their fleet this year.

Air Philippines chief executive Cesar Chiong said they will increase the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft from just three to 18 by 2012 and add more domestic and regional routes.

Chiong said the company expects six new A320s to arrive this year while six more will be delivered in 2012. Air Philippines' first two A320s were given to it by sister company Philippine Airlines (PAL) while six arrived last year.

“We will be flying Hong Kong from Cebu, and Seoul from Manila and Cebu and some routes in China this year. We have pending applications with CAB,” Chiong said.

Meanwhile, Niche carrier Zest Air will expand its flight operations to countries around the region in the coming weeks in line with the expected arrival of up to three more single-aisle Airbus jets this year.

Zest Air chairman and CEO Alfred Yao said the airline would begin a five-times-a-week service from Manila to Shanghai on January 22 and increase the frequency of its flights to Incheon and Pusan in South Korea from Kalibo and Cebu to 12 times a week.

“Sometime in February, we also intend to start flying to Singapore daily,” he said. The airline operates 6 Airbus A320s and 4 Chinese-made Xian MA60 turboprop aircraft, which it uses for its short-haul domestic flights.

Zest Air flew a total of 1.5 million passengers last year and was aiming to fly as many as 2.2 million to its various destinations this year.

The airline has a utilization rate of up to 88 percent for its current complement of 10 aircraft, which, on average, fly at 80 percent of passenger capacity, he said.

Rival budget carrier AirAsia, a Malaysian-based airline, has also announced plans to set up a Philippine unit based in Manila- Clark and start flying in September with two Airbus 320's.

"We're looking at Southeast Asian region plus China to be the first five or six hubs by September 1," Michael Romero, vice-chairman of Air Asia Philippines (AAP)said.

AirAsia Philippines is a joint venture among AirAsia Berhad (40% stake), and Filipino business personalities, including Antonio Cojuangco, Marianne Hontiveros, and Michael Romero.

Romero said the airline will fly in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Hongkong, Bangkok and China by September.

AirAsia Philippines is the third cross-border joint venture of the airline, next to Indonesia AirAsia and AirAsia Thailand.

"Having a local airline means AirAsia could participate in flying passengers from one domestic destination to another, a right not afforded to foreign airlines." says co-owner Mike Romero.

1 comment:

  1. This year a Battle Royale will be waged in the skies. But even before a battle for passenger numbers happens, a battle for cockpit crew is already being fought right now. Pilots are being wooed with higher pay and benefits.

    I don't think pilots (especially Airbus rated pilots) have ever had it this good. These guys can only hope this seeming airline boom isn't some kind of bubble. Seriously, are there really enough passengers to go around? And at what price level? Matira ang matibay. At may bulsang malalim.