Cebu Pacific taps Lufthansa Cargo unit to manage ULD fleet

Part of the deal will see ULD specialist Jettainer acquire the Cebu Pacific’s existing container fleet of around 2,700 assets.

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Cebu Pacific became the first passenger airline in the Philippines to have dedicated cargo aircraft when it brought in a converted ATR72-500 freighter in 2018. (Credit: Cebu Pacific)

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) has selected Jettainer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Cargo, to manage and maintain its fleet of unit load devices (ULDs) starting October. 

Jettainer said that with the deal, the ULD specialist will purchase the airline’s existing ULD fleet of around 2,700 assets, allowing the carrier tsignificantly reduce its ULD fleet requirement and reallocate its resources and capital. 

This comes at a time when the airline seeks to raise up to US$500 million in fresh capital to strengthen its balance sheet and offset the financial impact of COVID-19. 

Also read: Cebu Pacific finalises order for 16 A330neo

Cebu Pacific operates the widest domestic network in the Philippines out of its seven strategically placed hubs, and the partnership with Jettainer is expected to benefit its cargo business. 

The carrier says it has been working on operating more efficiently through digitalisation and process optimisation, and the move to outsource its ULD asset management further aligns with its “right-sizing exercise.”  

“We believe this move will allow us to reallocate resources and capital, which can be prioritised to support our path towards recovery,” said Michael Ivan Shau, chief operations officer at Cebu Pacific. 

Thomas Sonntag, Jettainer’s managing director, said having a dedicated team in Manila is in the pipeline. 

This could fare well for Cebu Pacific as it looks to fully containerise its modern fleet, made up of A320neo, A321neo, and A330 aircraftwith an average age of 5 years. 

Its cargo division revolutionised the Philippine air freight market when it introduced a converted ATR72-500 freighter in 2018, making it the first passenger airline in the country with dedicated cargo aircraft. A second ATR freighter is expected to enter its fleet by end of this year. 

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