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Where Cebu Pacific Is Flying Its 459-Seat Airbus A330neos

Summary

  • Cebu Pacific operates the world’s highest-capacity Airbus A330 aircraft with 459 seats, providing very low seat-mile costs for its target passengers and helping to overcome Manila’s slot problem.
  • The airline has a fleet of six A330-900s, with the most recent delivery being in November 2023.
  • The equipment will be used on a network of 10 routes this winter, operating domestically, across Asia, and to Australia and the UAE.


Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific has more seats in its Airbus A330-900s (A330neo) than any other operator. There are 459, all in a single class configuration, a whopping 149 more than the 310 seats on Condor’s aircraft, the carrier with the next highest volume.


Cebu Pacific’s A330-900s

According to ch-aviation.com, Cebu Pacific has six A330-900s, the first of which arrived on November 25th, 2021, almost two years to the day of writing. Registered RP-C3900, it was joined by a second example in December that year, another in May 2022, one in November 2022, and its fifth aircraft in April 2023. They replace its 436-seat A330-300s.

The most recent A330-900 arrival was RP-C3904, delivered on November 17th, 2023. Flightradar24 shows that it flew non-stop from Toulouse to Manila, arriving at 09:26 on the 18th. When writing two days later, it had not yet entered service.

The 459-seaters are brilliant for very low seat-mile costs for its targeted passengers (mainly Filipino diaspora and workers on international routes). They also help to somewhat overcome Manila’s dire and renowned slot problem.

Inevitably, they have a very high trip cost and a huge number of seats to consistently fill. Still, they do, of course, provide much better fuel consumption than the A330-300s they replace, albeit offset by a higher ownership cost.

Where are they flying this winter?

Examining Cebu Pacific’s northern winter schedules shows a 10-strong route network. Only about 9% of flights are domestic, with 60% deployed internationally within Asia, 17% to the Middle East, and 14% to Australia. In all, its average sector covers 2,052 miles (3,302 km), with its shortest obviously being the 354-mile (570 km) hop to Cebu.

Cebu Pacific A330-900 network northern winter 2023

Image: GCMap

There are an average of eight daily A330-900 departures from Manila between November 20th (the day of writing) and March 30th, the day before airlines switch to summer schedules. The number of services varies massively, from as few as two daily departures to a high of 11.

Frequencies on some routes vary per week, with the following providing a snapshot across the season. Not surprisingly, there is a buildup around Christmastime to accommodate the higher demand to/from the country.

  • Manila to Hong Kong: up to 20 weekly flights this winter
  • Manila to Dubai: up to double daily
  • Manila to Singapore: up to 13 weekly
  • Manila to Tokyo Narita: up to 10 weekly
  • Manila to General Santos: up to nine weekly (begins December 9th)
  • Manila to Cebu: daily (December 17th-January 8th)
  • Manila to Osaka: up to daily
  • Manila to Sydney: typically five weekly
  • Manila to Melbourne: three weekly
  • Manila to Davao: seven winter roundtrips (December 17th, 19th, 24th, 26th, 31th, and January 2nd, 7th)

Cebu_Pacific_RP-C3901_Airbus_A330-941neo_Sydney_Kingsford_Smith_International_Airport_(SYD_YSSY)_(52284833683)

Snapshot: December 22

Just nine dates have 11 flights leaving Manila, beginning on December 22nd, right before Christmas. As an example of activity, all of these are scheduled to leave that one day. Not all routes or flights are operational that day.

  • 04:40: 5J551, Cebu
  • 06:00: 5J5054, Tokyo Narita
  • 07:20: 5J110, Hong Kong
  • 08:55: 5J18, Dubai
  • 10:35: 5J993, General Santos
  • 14:00: 5J828, Osaka
  • 15:35: 5J112, Hong Kong
  • 15:45: 5J14, Dubai
  • 18:20: 5J114, Hong Kong
  • 19:55: 5J803, Singapore
  • 23:25: 5J39, Sydney

Have you flown Cebu Pacific’s A330-900s? If so, share your experience in the comments section.

Sources: Cebu Pacific’s website, Cirium, Flightradar24, ch-aviation

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