Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is kicking off the year with the addition of a new aircraft, the first of 17 deliveries that it expects for this year in line with efforts to expand its fleet.

Cebu Pacific has received a new Airbus A320, marking the first of 17 jets that the airline expects to receive this year.

Cebu Pacific president and chief commercial officer Alexander Lao said the airline would send out its new units to select routes where demand is peaking.

'This aircraft delivery is aligned with our commitment to provide safe, accessible and affordable flights for every Juan. We're excited to fly even more passengers to their chosen destinations this year as made possible by our growing domestic and international network and our ongoing fleet expansion efforts,' Lao said.

Unlike in previous years, the A320 originated just within the region from Chengdu, China, where Airbus is operating a one-stop shop for aircraft storage. Prior to this, jets came all the way from Toulouse, France, where Airbus runs its main manufacturing facility.

For the year, Cebu Pacific wants to increase its fleet to a total of 92, although it estimates that 20 of them will be grounded to get their jet engines repaired.

The airline owned by the Gokongweis manages one of the youngest fleets in the world, reaping the gains of investments it made on aircraft acquisition.

Broken down, Cebu Pacific handles 36 A320s, 20 A321s, eight A330s, as well as 14 turboprops, allowing it to operate the widest network of domestic flights among Philippine operators.

Cebu Pacific plans to widen its international network in 2024 despite supply problems. The airline is one of the many carriers affected by the recall issued by engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney, leaving it with no choice but to operate on an injured fleet.

At present, Cebu Pacific wants to increase its flight volume to Da Nang in Vietnam, as the route is beginning to attract the attention of passengers.

Also, the carrier plans to reallocate its wide-body fleet to popular routes like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo to cater to the growing demand.

Toward the end of the year, Cebu Pacific aims to reopen its Manila-Beijing trips, projecting that Chinese demand will be steady by then.

However, with its fleet injured, the airline is shelving for now its plan to operate flights to Saudi Arabia, a market that holds the biggest number of overseas Filipino workers.

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