November 28th, 2021 – this is the date that Filipino airline Cebu Pacific can record as the day its first Airbus A330-900 was delivered. The aircraft departed Airbus’ Toulouse facilities on November 27th and made the over 6,000 nautical mile journey to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. The arrival of the jet marks Cebu Pacific’s 62nd aircraft in the predominantly Airbus fleet.
From Toulouse to Manila
Made public by numerous sources, including FlightRadar24.com and AIB Family Flights, Cebu Pacific’s first Airbus A330-900 has completed its delivery flight from Toulouse (France) to Manila (Philippines).
The aircraft departed Toulouse at 11:36 local time on November 27th and flew for nearly 14 hours to land in Manila at 08:18 on November 28th. Flying over the Mediterranean Sea, the aircraft registered RP-C3900, then overflew Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and India, before flying over Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China.
— RadarBox (@RadarBox24) November 27, 2021
“The A330neo is integral to our fleet modernisation programme. With this purchase, we aim to reduce our fuel emission and build a more sustainable operation. This will also give us the lowest cost per seat, at the same time enabling CEB to increase seat capacity and maximise valuable airport slots in Manila and other Asian megacities.” -Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO, Cebu Pacific (November 2019)
Six test flights before delivery
According to AIB Family Flights, RP-C3900 had a total of six test flights in and out of Toulouse before conducting its seventh flight- which would be the delivery to Cebu Pacific.
The aircraft was first spotted in August of 2021 in Toulouse. The following month, on September 21st, the aircraft was then seen conducting its first engine run and taxi check, before taking off for its very first test flight the next day, on September 22nd. Over the rest of September, all of October, and most of November, the aircraft would have its second through sixth test flights. Across all test flights, the jet would fly a total of 12.5 hours.
As already mentioned, this aircraft is Cebu Pacific’s first A330-900 and will be followed by an additional 15. In fact, it’s been just over two years since the airline finalized its order for 16 A330-900s, sealing the deal on November 4th, 2019.
In the 2019 announcement, the airline noted that the A330-900s were slated to operate trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer-range services to Australia and the Middle East.
As reported previously, the airline’s A330neos were ordered along with 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft in November 2019. According to Cebu Pacific, the 16 A330neos cost US$4.8 billion and are scheduled for delivery between 2021 and 2024.
While many operators around the world have ordered the A330neo, Cebu Pacific’s order stands out for one specific reason. That’s because the airline intends to configure these jets as all-economy planes that will seat 460 passengers.
So why operate with a single-class configuration? Cebu Pacific is a low-cost carrier with a reputation for packing its passengers in tight. Indeed, Cebu Pacific’s current A330-300 already squeeze in 436 passengers in an all-economy layout.
Of course, if you know what to expect and remember that low airfares come at a price, it may be a tolerable journey on these jets.
Are you excited to experience Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A330-900? Let us know by leaving a comment.