MANILA, January 13, 2011 (AFP) – Top Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific said Thursday it would invest a billion dollars in new aircraft and hire 2,000 more staff over four years as it boosts its international operations.
The planned investment centres on 21 new Airbus 320 planes, five of which would be delivered this year, its chief executive and president Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.
“Cebu Pacific’s main focus in the next few years will be in rapidly growing our international presence,” Gokongwei said.
The Philippines is the closest tropical destination for northeast Asians, and the airline sees profits from linking the country’s main tourist draws to the fast-growing markets of South Korea, Japan and greater China, he said.
With five Airbus 320s set for delivery within the year, the airline will have a fleet of 37 aircraft with an average age of less than 2.5 years by the end of 2011, he said.
Airline spokesmen said that most of the 21 new aircraft would be bought, while a few would be leased. The listed company did not disclose where the funds will come from.
Gokongwei said the airline expects to fly 12 million people this year, up 14.28 percent from last year’s 10.5 million passengers.
Cebu now flies to 16 regional and 33 domestic destinations.
The fresh hirings would meanwhile boost the Cebu Pacific staff by 46.51 percent from 4,300 to 6,300.