Manila, Philippines-based carrier Cebu Pacific was founded back in 1988 as Cebu Air and in the meantime has made a name for itself as a reliable airline. It is seen as being Asia’s oldest
low-cost carrier and in the meantime with its fleet of just over 50 aircraft also operates from various other secondary hubs in the Philippines to destinations across Asia.
Now, Cebu broadens its business by moving cargo up front.
Ready to start own freighter network
Cebu Pacific Cargo will start cargo operations with two P2F converted ATR72-500F in the second quarter of this year and initially plans to use the aircraft to serve outlying areas within the Philippines. The freighters which are being converted by Zurich, Switzerland-based IPR Conversions are being equipped with large cargo doors (LCD) which allow the loading of up to seven AKE containers on the main deck. Flight operations will be carried out by Cebu Pac’s daughter company Cebgo.
Their journey into freighter ops is based on a management decision made in 2018 in favour of the ATR-72-500 variant’s conversions. Over the past years more than 100 ATR-72 P2F conversions have been made and this aircraft which offers a payload of between 8 to 9 tons is popular with express companies such as DHL and FedEx and in the meantime is inspiration with around twenty different carriers.
Bigger than Philippine Airlines
‘Cebu Pac’ - as the low-cost carrier is fondly referred to in the region, operates with a fleet of 44 Airbus A320/A321 and 8 A330 passenger aircraft. They are also owners of Cebgo, which was formerly Tigerair Philippines, which runs a fleet of 18 ATR72-500/600 aircraft on inner Philippine regional routes.
It is said that Cebu Pacific is now larger than the Philippine national carrier - Philippine Airlines (PAL) and that they are far more profitable than PAL. Cebu Pacific started longer-haul regional services to countries such as Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Guam during the early 2000s. In 2013 new long-haul services were started to Dubai and the carrier is presently negotiating rights for further long-haul services to New Zealand, Australia and the USA. They plan to use their present A330-300 fleet for such services. The airline more or less controls services within the domestic Philippine network.
The carrier has managed during the past decade to offer an attractive cargo network within the Philippines and also in other regions within Asia based on transports in the holds of their passenger fleet. They also have various cargo interline agreements in place with other carriers.
Are we seeing the birth of a new freighter carrier in the region?
John Mc Donagh