Cebu Pacific Air (5J, Manila Ninoy Aquino International) has sealed a deal with Bulgaria Air (FB, Sofia) to take two A320-200s over five months in 2024 on a damp lease basis. The aircraft will primarily work two domestic routes - Manila Ninoy Aquino to Cebu and Manila Ninoy Aquino to Davao.

"We continue to explore various opportunities to supplement the fleet and ensure operational resilience. This includes signing a damp lease agreement with Bulgaria Air for five months in 2024," Cebu Pacific President and CCO Xander Lao told local outlets this week.

A spokeswoman has since confirmed to ch-aviation LZ-FBD (msn 2596) and LZ-FBK (msn 7345) should start flying in Southeast Asia from mid-January.

The short-term arrangement is in response to burgeoning demand and capacity restraint, partly due to ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine issues that currently see two of Cebu's A320-200Ns parked for maintenance purposes. Bulgaria Air has five A320-200s, with three of those in storage at Varna.

"We expect to increase our fleet to 92 come end 2024. With this, we expect our year-on-year seat growth to be within 5% - 8% in 2024," added Lao. Cebu Pacific has previously indicated it intends to place a substantial order with either Boeing or Airbus for 100 - 150 aircraft.

The airline presently operates 65 aircraft, including twenty A320-200s, sixteen A320-200Ns, seven A321-200s, thirteen A321-200NX, three A330-300s, and six A330-900Ns, with 11 of these temporarily out of service. According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, the LCC is flying to 53 destinations in 15 countries and enjoys a 55% domestic market share. Lao said by the end of December, he expected domestic operations to be exceeding pre-pandemic levels and international operations to be running at about 93% of pre-pandemic levels.