Cebu Pacific (CebuPac) will continue to limit its flights to both local and foreign destinations within a short range of five hours until it starts to receive some new airplane deliveries from Airbus in 2026 that will allow it to target medium range destinations.

This was revealed last week to reporters by Lance Gokongwei, chairman of CebuPac, following an event of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation at the Holiday Inn Galleria in Ortigas.

According to Lance, CebuPac will continue to service short range destinations for the next couple of years until its gets more deliveries from Airbus that are scheduled for delivery by 2028, and will extend beyond 2035, following its recent preliminary agreement, also with Airbus, for an additional order of 152 more airplanes in a deal valued at around $24 billion or P1.4 trillion.

'I think anything that is within our flying ranges, I mean about five hours. As you know we have been adding a lot of flights lately, and I think it is a function also of which airports are going to be privatized...or opened up right away... within five hours... and when we get the longer range Airbus A321neo, which are available from early 2026, then we can go up to within a seven to eight hour range,' he said.

CebuPac's demographic dividend, according to Lance, 'is a lot of young people who want to travel and experience the world, a growing middle class.'

Of the 152 planes that CebuPac has agreed to purchase from Airbus, 102 will reportedly be of the single-aisle jet, the A321neo which has a midrange capability of seven to eight hours. The remaining 50 airplanes will be of the smaller A320neo model.

Lance confirmed that when CebuPac gets delivery of the A321neo model by early 2026, the airline would then expand its flight destinations to a longer range of seven to eight hours although he did not reveal specific target destinations.

'Once we have more aircraft, we definitely will add,' he said.

Initial funding for the new aircraft, Lance explained, would go to pre-delivery payments, funding for which will come from 'a combination of equity and loans...most of the lending for airplanes are generally done through sale and lease-back arrangements, or through financing leases...given Cebu Pacific's strong track record and... you know we are the only privately-owned carrier that did not default on it loans during COVID...we have very strong credibility with the capital markets community...we are sure we can get financing from either the bank market or the sale and lease-back market.'

On the other hand, Lance ruled out the possibility of a bond issuance to finance the aircraft deal, 'that's not anticipated at this point,' he said.

Delivery of the additional 152 aircraft order, he said, would start from 2028 forward, even as CebuPac is still completing its previous deal which will be completed by 2027.

CebuPac, Lance said, is 'very fortunate to have this deal, because as you may have read, there is a shortage of aircraft now and our partners at Airbus and Pratt and Whitney have worked very closely with us and are giving us these choice slots which will enable us to support continuing growth of the aviation and tourism industry in the Philippines.'

Furthermore, Lance revealed, 'Airbus and Pratt and Whitney came forward with what we feel was the best offer... and what we are looking for is lowest unit cost to operate so that we can continue to provide affordable fares to the public, and of course it also helps that Airbus is a very strong and distinguished brand, and we are already very happy operators of Airbus, our passengers' satisfaction with the aircraft is very high.'

A champion for conservation

Metro Pacific Investments Foundation's flagship program, Shore It Up! is celebrating 15 years of championing environmental conservation with an added honor from the 2024 CSR Guild Awards by the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF).

MPIF's 15th Anniversary initiative titled, 'Enlarging Our Blue Footprint for Philippine Marine Biodiversity Conservation,' was recently awarded the distinction of Most Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project in Environment for its sustainable impact.

The CSR Guild Awards, a recognition program of LCF, honors foundations and corporations for exceptional CSR initiatives. Shore It Up's award signifies its holistic and multi-dimensional approach to marine conservation, addressing various aspects of environmental protection and community engagement.

According to Melody del Rosario, president of MPIF, 'As a country increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, we must take decisive action. Shore It Up! is committed to creating real change through conservation and restoration efforts, education, sustainable tourism, livelihood diversification and fostering essential partnerships. Our goal is to build a sustainable and resilient environment for future generations.'

Shore It Up!'s 15th anniversary was marked by a focused initiative aimed at significantly enhancing marine biodiversity conservation across the Philippines. Some of the key projects included impactful projects such as sustaining the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, rehabilitating the mangrove center in Del Carmen post-Typhoon Odette, hosting of a multi-sectoral forum for environmental issues and formalizing partnerships with local government units like Mabini, Batangas for marine conservation programs.

These efforts, aimed at strengthening the resilience and health of marine and coastal ecosystems through active restoration and protection efforts, simultaneously promote sustainable economic opportunities for local communities. By providing training and support for eco-tourism and sustainable fisheries, Shore it Up! ensures that conservation efforts are not only environmentally sound, but also economically viable for the community. Additionally, Shore It Up! focused on increasing awareness and participation through targeted educational campaigns and community engagement efforts.

Shore It Up's remarkable impact over the past 15 years includes the establishment of three mangrove centers, the protection of 5,263 hectares of mangroves, partnerships with 13 local government units, collaboration with 464 partner organizations, safeguarding 102,083 hectares of Ramsar sites, engaging 1,034 scuba divers, 2,600 runners, 86,902 volunteers nationwide, 2,800 junior environmental scouts, 48 marine guardians and six mangrove eco-guides.

Aligned with Gabay Kalikasan, one of the MVP Group's Gabay Advocacies for a Sustainable Philippines, Shore It Up! actively supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 14: Life Below Water, Goal 15: Life on Land and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. goes beyond just the interests of its firms by integrating CSR into its business model and by embracing responsibility for its companies' actions, thereby creating a positive impact through its activities on environment, employees, communities and stakeholders.

MPIF's strategic program has evolved throughout its 10 years of existence and is now geared toward three fronts of social infrastructure: education, environment and economic empowerment. In line with MPIC's commitment to nation-building, MPIF seeks to complement MPIC's efforts on the hard front of infrastructure development.

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