ANA, PAL Begins Haneda Flight Today

30 March 2014

All Nippon Airways and Philippine Airlines starts Haneda services today with ANA869 flight departing Tokyo's Haneda airport at 9:55AM arriving NAIA at 1:30PM. 

The Inaugural flight is being serviced by Boeing 767-300ER (JA618A), while Philippine Airlines flight PR 422 to Haneda left Manila at 8:55AM and scheduled to arrive Haneda at 1:55PM. PAL's inaugural flight was serviced by Boeing 777-300ER (RP-C7772). 

ANA's return flight to Japan is scheduled at 2:40PM arriving Haneda at 7:55PM, while PAL return flight PR 422 from Haneda is scheduled to depart 15:20PM arriving NAIA at 6:45PM. 

Haneda becomes PAL’s fifth gateway to Japan following Narita, Fukuoka, Osaka and Nagoya making the flag carrier the biggest Philippine operator to and from Japan with 47 flights a week. PAL currently operates 21 weekly flights to Narita, 5 times a week to Fukuoka, 7 to Nagoya and 7 to Osaka. Meanwhile, ANA flies 21 flights from Narita and Haneda. 

On the same date, low cost airline Cebu Pacific also launch flights to Narita and Nagoya adding its destinations in Japan to three, Osaka, Nagoya and Narita.

DOTC Awards Tacloban Airport Terminal Repair

27 March 2014

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has awarded contract to B.M. Marketing to undertake the P42.5 million repair works of Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport terminal building in Tacloban City pending construction of its new P251.6 million terminal building.

B.M. Marketing in consortium with FIAT Construction Services is the contractor of the airport's new apron and taxiway.

The rehabilitation project is slated for completion one year after typhoon Yolanda destroyed the terminal building in November 8, 2013.

The construction of the new terminal building is expected to begin later this year and is slated for completion in December of 2016.

San Miguel To Build Sangley International Airport

Ang To Present Proposal Next Month

26 March 2014

The Philippines' most diversified conglomerate is planning to present a proposal to the government next month to build the proposed US$9 billion Manila-Sangley International Airport under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Programme of the government. 

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the project entails major reclamation works in the Cavite Peninsula to get the required area of 2,000 hectares for the new airport complex that will eventually become Manila's main gateway. 

San Miguel Corporation intends to infuse US$10 billion to the airport project, 1 billion more than what is being prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The proposal when approved by the President will be subjected to a Swiss challenge where other bidders are asked to compete for the project proposal, with the original proponent allowed to match the best offer for the airport project which is expected to have a maximum of four parallel runways and 70 million passenger capacity.

Under the PPP proposal, San Miguel Corporation will intend to operate the airport for twenty five (25) years  from date of opening  after which the ownership of the facility will be turned over to the government.

The airport is expected to be ready in six years time from date of contract approval. The facility is expected to be used primarily by Philippine Airlines and PAL Express.

The Sangley International Airport Project is part of the $51 billion transportation infrastructure plan which JICA is preparing for the Philippine government. 

The integrated transport plan includes building of airport and rail expressway towards Pagcor Entertainment City, the gaming and entertainment complex currently under development and to which San Miguel hopes to connect to their bagged concession, the 7.15-kilometer, four-lane P15.86-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway project that links the entertainment complex to NAIA and Skyway in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

Emirates Cancels Clark Due To Heavy Losses

Ends May 1

23 March 2014

By Daniel Shane

Dubai carrier Emirates Airline is to scrap a daily service to a key air hub in the Philippines just seven months after launching the route.

Emirates will cease its daily flights to Clark International Airport from May 1, a spokesperson confirmed, following a review of its operations.

The service to Clark International, located in the Greater Manila Area, was the only long-haul route to be operated outside of the country’s primary Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital.

Following the service’s launch in October last year, Emirates embarked on a highly visible marketing campaign to promote the route to the UAE’s large Filipino community.

“Emirates can confirm that it is suspending its daily, non-stop service between Clark International Airport and Dubai from 1st May 2014. The decision was made after a review of the airline’s operations to ensure the best utilisation of its aircraft fleet for its overall business objectives,” a spokesperson for Emirates told Arabian Business.

“Emirates will continue to operate its three daily, non-stop flights between Manila and Dubai and is taking all necessary steps to accommodate affected passengers on alternate flights,” they added.

Earlier this year, aviation analysts warned that airlines are losing money on the UAE-Philippines route and will soon be forced to cut flights.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said too many carriers had entered the once-lucrative market, with 24 flights per week added in the last quarter of 2014 alone.

Despite huge traffic between the countries – there are about 700,000 Filipinos working in the UAE, the Asian country's fourth largest overseas community – airlines including Dubai's Emirates, Abu Dhabi's Etihad and three Filipino carriers had saturated the market to the point that competition had become too great.

“While there is considerable traffic between the Philippines and UAE, yields are generally low and there are large seasonal fluctuations,” a CAPA report said.

“On a year-round basis the Philippines-UAE is not an easy market to turn a profit on, particularly without any ability to sell flights beyond the UAE.

“But December and January are peak months for the Philippines-UAE market, as Filipinos working overseas typically make their trips back home during the holiday season. February and March will be more challenging months, while April will see another peak for Easter.”

The route became overcrowded during the previous few months, with three Philippine carriers entering the market – low-cost airlines Cebu Pacific and PAL Express and flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

Etihad Airways also serves Abu Dhabi-Manila with two daily flights.

PAL Prepares 777 Fleet To United States

As Cat 1 Upgrade looms

22 March 2014

John Barbagallo is coming.

And for the Philippine aviation industry, his return to the country has long been awaited, six years to be exact, to reverse the decision he brought along with him in 2008. And there is only one person who does that. The Chief Inspector for International Programs and Policy Division (IPPD) of FAA Flights Standards Service. The Manager himself.

Barbagallo's anticipated return brought cheers to the country's aviation regulator despite nixing an earlier travel plans in November of last year due to internal concerns at the FAA. His confirmed presence already send signals to Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country's flag carrier which is making its fleet of Boeing 777-300ER ready for the overdue and long awaited jump to the United States in April as the FAA set to announce next week the validation results of an earlier audit conducted on January of this year.

PAL has reason to celebrate as there are only two instances when Barbagallo presence can be a bane or boon to the country he visits. He either brings with him good news or bad news and that's about it.

For Ramon Ang led airline, the manager for IPPD personally brought bad news to the Philippines reversing the airline's fortune when he downgraded the country to Category 2 status after repeatedly warning the Air Transportation Office, the precursor of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to shape up or ship out of its grace under the IASA mantle.

International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program of the FAA annually checks relevant records for countries that have air carriers operating to the United States. After an IASA visit, FAA inspectors render judgments about the country’s aviation oversight capacity based on factors such as national air law; aviation regulations; structure, funding and responsibility of the civil aviation authority; qualification and guidance of aviation inspectors; licensing of aviation professionals; aircraft and airline certification; proven effectiveness in resolving safety issues; and, more particularly quality of oversight of operations.

The FAA designates audited countries as Category 2  if in the judgment of the FAA’s inspectors, they did not meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards. 

The Philippines recently met the ICAO standards in 2013 when the Canada-based organization cleared the country from having Significant Safety Concerns (SSC)s to its aviation laws and regulations after the ICAO conducted Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) February 18 last year.

Formal announcement by John Barbagallo is expected next week. Official Report will be communicated by the State Department to the Philippines in time for President Barack Obama's visit to the country.

Q400 To Fly With Cambodia Airlines

12 March 2014

Philippine Airlines has transferred to its subsidiary Cambodia Airlines some of its bombardier Q400 planes used by another low cost subsidiary PAL Express for flight operations in Cambodia. Earlier, PAL Express terminated inter-island routes in the southern Philippines to consolidate airline operations. Another set of Airbus A320's from PAL will join the fleet as it begins operation this year. Cambodia airlines is a joint venture between the Royal Group of Cambodia and San Miguel Corporation of the Philippines, one of Asia's largest conglomerate.

AirAsia Zest Realligns Domestic Operations

Airline To Focus More on International Flights

10 March 2014

AirAsia Zest has announced today that it is realigning its domestic operations because of over capacity in the Philippine market right after Cebu Pacific announces additional flights and capacity to its network where AirAsia Zest also flies.

In a disclosure to Malaysia stock Exchange, Parent Company AirAsia Berhad said its Philippine unit has revised its route plans for the year, intending to reduce the number of aircraft in its fleet by retiring two equipments making their operational fleet from 14 to 12. It was not disclosed what equipment will be returned. 

AirAsia Zest operates a fleet of A320 and A319 aircraft. 

But Company sourced disclosed that one A320 and one A319 is expected to be returned to the lessor soon when there respective leases expires.

The remaining 14 fleet of A320's are expected to increase their operational efficiency by cutting domestic destinations in exchange for "building more international routes out of Manila and Kalibo.”

AirAsia Zest intends to make Kalibo its hub for services to Southern China and Korea which are lucrative international markets.

The airline is already the largest operator out of Kalibo International Airport.

The airline is supposed to received two more A320's at the end of the year for international and domestic expansion growing their fleet to 16 but reports of dwindling passenger numbers in the domestic front sent alarm bells to Malaysia.

AirAsia Zest's domestic passengers fell by 3.5 percent to 1.99 million in 2013 from 2.06 million they carry in 2012.

Already, the airline suspended its Bacolod and Iloilo flights last year and will reduce its daily Davao flight to six flights a week.

It is gaining more passengers however in international flights which according to the airline is more profitable to operate.

AirAsia Zest regestered a 94 percent increase in international passengers carried to 617,188 last year from 324,237 passengers in 2012.

AirAsia Zest recently launched new flights from Manila to Miri and Macau, from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, and from Kalibo to Shanghai.

To grow its international route further, the airline has a pending application with the Civil Aeronautics Board to increase its Macau flight frequency to daily flights from the existing three times a week out of Manila airport.

New Zealand Agrees Fifth Freedom via Australia

7 March 2014
New Zealand agreed on Thursday the expansion of flight frequencies to 21 per week from the present three as well as fifth freedom traffic rights going to and from Australia to the Philippines paving the way for the long anticipated flight of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to Auckland. 

The parties also agreed on third country code sharing for seamless services between the two countries, via cooperative agreements with third country airlines.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Undersecretary of Transport and Communications Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla from the Philippines and  Principal Adviser of the Ministry of Transport Sonya van de Geer from New Zealand on March 6 at the Ministry of Transport in Wellington.

The Philippines delegation was led by Undersecretary of Transport and Communications Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla with Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia H. Benavidez, Executive Director of the Civil Aeronautics Board Carmelo Arcilla and officials from the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs and Civil Aviation Board as members and representatives from Philippine Airlines as observers.

The New Zealand delegation was headed by Principal Adviser of the Ministry of Transport Sonya van de Geer with officials from the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as members and representatives from Air New Zealand, New Zealand Airports Association and Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand as observers.
With the arrangement, PAL can form code share agreements with Qantas, Air New Zealand and vice versa, with PAL as the operating carrier.

The Philippine Flag Carrier requested the Philippine Government to initiate talks with New Zealand after the government of Australia agreed for fifth freedom traffic rights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Darwin if the third country agrees to open its doors.

For the Philippine side, it granted New Zealand equivalent fifth freedom traffic rights on any point to China.

Carmelo Arcilla, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director said PAL intends to fly to Auckland next year with new generation A330-300 aircraft either via Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney.