Cebu Pacific Air (5J, Manila Ninoy Aquino International) has told the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) that it remains in talks with Airbus and Boeing about a significant aircraft order. The January 8 filing was in response to local media reports about the imminent move.

"Cebu Air, Inc. would like to confirm and verify the news reporting regarding discussions and considerations for an aircraft order," the filing said. Last week, Cebu Air CCO Alexander Lao told The Philippine Star that the LCC was still finalising the order but expected to place it in the first half of 2024. He added that it would be the biggest aircraft order from the Philippines to date.

In October, ch-aviation reported on the impending directive for between 100 and 150 aircraft, with CEO Mike Szucs then saying the carrier would issue a request for proposal (RFP) and that it would place a single order with one manufacturer.

"Issuing the RFP is the first step in a meticulously planned process, which will involve a thorough technical and economic evaluation of Boeing’s and Airbus’s narrowbody aircraft," a PSE filing at the time read. "We would like to emphasise that a firm commitment to purchase aircraft from either manufacturer will only be made at the successful conclusion of such a process."

Reportedly, Cebu Pacific intends to make the initial down payments using its cash reserves before tapping local and foreign financial institutions to cover the balance.

Cebu Pacific's fleet includes twenty-three A320-200s (including two that are newly damp-leased from Bulgaria Air (FB, Sofia)), sixteen A320-200Ns, seven A321-200s, thirteen A321-200NX, three A330-300s, and seven A330-900Ns. Although presently exclusively an Airbus operator, Szucs has previously said he would not hesitate to place an order with Boeing if its offering is the best "operationally and financially."

Across Cebu Pacific's fleet, ch-aviation fleets data indicates 12 aircraft are out of service for various reasons. Szucs has also spoken out about supply chain challenges causing maintenance delays. More recently, the engine recall notice issued by Pratt & Whitney will result in many of Cebu's A320neo types going out of service this year. To help counter this, the airline has tinkered with its network and entered the damp-lease agreement with Bulgaria Air to take two A320-200s this quarter for use on domestic trunk routes. Both planes ferried to Manila in early January.