Posted on: 16 June 2015 by Mark Howells
Cebu Pacific Air has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) which will lead to a firm order for 16 ATR 72-600s with 10 options, in the process making the airline the launch customer for the new 78-passenger high density version of the aircraft.
The first delivery will be in summer 2016 following the certification of the aircraft with the new capacity level. Deliveries will then run until 2020 for the firm order aircraft. With Cebu Pacific currently operating 8 ATR 72-500s, half of this order will cover their replacement and half will provide growth as the airline, according to CEO Lance Gokongwei, “reach into even smaller communities in the Philippines”.
“The great thing about the 78-seat version is that it will bring more revenue with little increase in costs,” declared ATR CEO Patrick de Castebajac.
Gokongwei noted that in 2007, when Cebu Pacific first ordered ATRs, the airline was one of the first carriers in the world to operate the A320 narrowbody and ATR turboprop pairing. “Now I think the high density ATR 72-600 will help our mission of delivering to customers. We will be able to offer more value fares.”
With ATR having already said that it would have liked to have made the high density version an 80-seater, Gokongwei was asked if he would have like an aircraft with that capacity. “Lance wanted 80, but we have to be realistic in the balance between density and comfort,” interjected de Castelbajac. “Also it made more sense to certify at 78 seats in 2016.”
As for firming up the deal, Gokongwei doesn’t expect the process from LOI to full contract to be protracted. “We’ve worked with these guys for years, so it won’t take long,” he remarked.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Le Bourget, Paris, France