Philippines-based low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) is purchasing 16 long-range A330neo aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus for $4.8bn.

The firm order signed by CEB is part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties. The MoU covers 31 next-generation aircraft including 15 A320neo family aircraft.

The new single-class configuration A330neo aircraft will be an enhanced version of the A330-900 with a seating capacity for up to 460 people.

Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer-range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei said: “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.”

When delivered between 2021 and 2024, the A330neos will replace CEB’s existing A330ceos fleet.

Powered by the latest Trent 7000 engines from Rolls-Royce, the A330neo has as extended-range capability of up to 15,000km and a new wing. The aircraft also recorded a 25% fuel reduction compared to previous generation competing models.

The CEB currently operates a total of 74 aircraft, which consists of 31 Airbus A320, eight A330, seven ATR 72-500, 13 ATR 72-600, and an ATR Cargo Freighter.