October 18, 2023
MANILA – Cebu Pacific will order 100 to 150 narrow body passenger jets in a deal that the Gokongwei family-controlled firm estimates would be worth up to $12 billion based on currently published prices — the single biggest aircraft order in the country’s history.
According to the budget airline’s CEO Michael Szucs, Cebu Pacific will send out an official request for proposals by the end of this week to Boeing of the US and Europe’s Airbus to allow the rival aircraft manufacturers to make their best offers.
The Cebu Pacific chief said it is unlikely that the airline will accommodate both manufacturers to supply portions of the record-breaking transaction. Instead, he described it as a “winner-take-all deal” with the manufacturer that would offer the best package to be awarded the entire contract.
Speaking to the Inquirer on Tuesday, Szucs said the Philippine market has the benefit of enjoying a demographic dividend with still relatively few Filipinos traveling by air compared to its neighbors, has a strategic location and consistent economic growth, and rising tourism potential. Additionally, aviation infrastructure is expected to improve significantly once San Miguel Corp’s Bulacan airport starts operating between 2026 and 2028.
“Because of that, we’ve got the confidence to put our money where our mouth is,” he said. “Hence we’re looking to make a large order over the long term.”
Szucs said both Boeing and Airbus make aircraft that are “perfect” for Cebu Pacific’s needs.
“So frankly, may the best man win,” he said. “We will be driven by the right economic outcomes and by the very competitive process that we’ll be running. We have no preference who wins. We want the best economic outcome because that means we can get the best economic outcome for our passengers.”