Cebu Pacific Air has ordered 16 ATR 72-600 airplanes with a total value of US$637 million from European turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR as part of the airline’s fleet renewal program.
Cebu Pacific and ATR announced the deal at the Paris Air Show, noting that the order includes the option to acquire an additional 10 ATR 72-600s. Once completed, the transaction will double the size of Cebu Pacific’s turboprop fleet.
The low-cost carrier currently operates eight ATR 72-500 aircraft, which will be retired once the new aircraft enter into service. The airline said the ATR 72-600 will see Cebu Pacific with new-generation aircraft to meet growing demand for inter-island services in the Philippines.
The ATR aircraft is known not only for its versatility but also for its ability to operate on short runways. This will allow Cebu Pacific to expand its operations outside of main airports to several other airports around the country, and continue to take part in the development of regional transport, tourism, and local economy in the Philippines.
The ATR 72-600 will be equipped, for the first time, with high-density Armonia cabin—the widest cabin in the turboprop market—as well as with 78 slim-line seats and wider overhead bins providing 30% more stowage space.
Aircraft capacity is 68 to 78 passenger seats; maximum load is 7,500 kilograms.
Some 330 ATRs—including more than 100 ATR 72-600s—are currently operated by 55 airlines in the Asia-Pacific region, where for many years now, the aircraft have been seen as the reference regional aircraft. The ATR 72-600 has the lowest cost per seat mile in the 70-seat segment, with significantly lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to similar-class aircraft.
“We have been operating ATR aircraft since 2008, and they have enabled us to bring safe, reliable, and affordable air transport to smaller cities and islands throughout the Philippines,” Cebu Pacific president and chief operating officer Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.
He added: “This order is an affirmation of our commitment to extend the convenience of affordable air travel to even more communities. We are very pleased to be the launch customer of this new configuration of the ATR 72-600, as this will allow us to offer our customers more seats at even lower fares.”
ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac said he is “very happy to continue our partnership with one of the leading airlines in Southeast Asia and to contribute to the expansion of its network throughout the islands of the archipelago.”
“Cebu Pacific will also be able to benefit from the vast support network for ATR operators in Asia. When their first ATR 72-600 arrives, there will be five ATR pilot training centers in the region,” Castelbajac added.