Canada Doubles Air Rights

Agrees 14 flights per week, Clears New York!

28 May 2014

Canada has agreed to double the number of flights to the Philippines from the present seven agreed in May 2008 to 14 flights a week today.

Fifth freedom rights to the United States was also increased from four to five times per week upon the request of Philippine Airlines (PAL) which intend to introduce flight to New York via Vancouver in British Columbia, or Toronto in Ontario abolishing seat restrictions in exchange for code share rights. PAL used to fly four of this rights to Las Vegas Nevada before terminating the route in December 2012 due to poor loads.

Air Canada does not fly to the Philippines, but the new Air Services Agreement allow the airlines of both countries to enter into third-country code-sharing. A third country code-sharing happens when airlines like Air Canada for example put their Airline code for PAL flights to New York in the United States which also agree to jointly market the route. Fifth Freedom traffic is usually restricted to 50% of the aircraft capacity calculated in annual basis.

The same agreement calls for the same fifth freedom rights to Canadian carriers from Manila to Australia.

Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Christopher Thornley said that PAL is proposing 14 flights a week to Vancouver with onward connections to New York and Toronto.

The air talks were held in Manila from 26 May to 27 May, agreement and confidential memorandum of which were signed today May 28.  The air services talks with Canada was originally set for June 27 to 28 meeting but was reset earlier by Canadian transport officials.

SMC and Sangley Airport Project Consolidates

24 May 2014
This blog break this story long before it became official. You can read the still classified story here

By Miguel R. Camus
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Department of Transportation and Communications will consider a San Miguel Corporation proposal to build a $10-billion international airport in a former US naval base in Sangley Point, Cavite as part of a “dream” infrastructure plan, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said.

Abaya said in a recent interview that the Sangley airport project, which would require about 2,000 hectares of reclaimed land and support four runways, was ready to be presented to the board of the National Economic Development Authority, chaired by President Aquino.

The Sangley airport proposal was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which included the massive alternative air gateway as part of a Metro Manila transportation “dream plan” aimed at easing congestion in the capital district through various mass transportation solutions.

“The dream plan is about to go to the Neda board,” Abaya said. “Jica needs Neda approval on their dream plan before they conduct the FS [feasibility studies].”

The Sangley airport proposal and that of San Miguel Corp. are aimed at providing alternative sites to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which has been suffering from congestion issues partly due to limitations from its single primary runway.

Abaya said the proposed airport in Sangley was similar in size to the 1,600 hectares San Miguel would need to reclaim for its airport project near the CyberBay Corp. reclamation project in Manila Bay.

Abaya said JICA’s airport project was estimated to cost “in the same ballpark” as the $10-billion airport proposal of San Miguel, which partly owns flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

While acknowledging that a new airport serving Metro Manila would not be completed by the time Mr. Aquino steps down in mid-2016, Abaya said the government was keen on laying the groundwork like starting land acquisition and reclamation activities within the next two years.

“We are hoping to start that and show we are committed to the project,” Abaya said. He said the government would likely enlist the private sector’s support for an airport project of this scale via an open bidding process.

San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang earlier said that an open bidding was acceptable should the government choose San Miguel’s proposal.

Ang also said he was keen on partnering with other local conglomerates like Ayala Corp., Henry Sy’s SM Investments and the Gokongwei Group’s JG Summit Holdings.

Government Sticks To Sangley Project

23 May 2014

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Thursday that studies for the establishment of International Airport in Mega Manila replacing Sangley airport in Cavite will continue despite offers from San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to build a $10 billion international airport in CyberBay Corp.’s disputed waterfront reclamation project in Manila Bay.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that government also has its own plans of putting up a new international airport in Sangley by 2027 capable of  supporting 4 runway adjacent to where SMC wants to build their airport.

SMC Airport still has to be approved by Philippine aviation regulators, design of which this early appears to cross wind direction as against flying with the wind, an essential element of building airport runways.   

The new airport plan is part of the transport roadmap that seeks to address growing passenger volume in the country. 

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is constructing a parallel runway next month to address congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while waiting for the new airport to be completed in 2027.

CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews said the parallel runway will be completed in 2 years at the cost of 2 billion pesos.

Parallel runways boost airport capacity from less than 40 events an hour to between 60 and 70 per hour, resulting to massive decongestion to about 80 percent of NAIA's air traffic which will allow the airport to grow more capacity in excess of 40 million. 

Andrew said the new parallel runway is only intended for domestic flights and can accommodate aircraft as big as Airbus 321's and Boeing 737-900's comprising majority of all commercial flights in Manila.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency projects passengers from the greater capital region to hit 106.7 million by 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.

PH Signs ASA With Burma

22 May 2014

The Philippines has signed a new air services agreement with Myanmar on Tuesday allowing designated airlines of the Philippines and Myanmar a total of 3,780 seats a week or equivalent to three flights a day between Manila and three international airports in Myanmar.
Both countries also agreed on unlimited traffic rights between all points in the Philippines, except Manila, and between all points in Myanmar.

Air Services Agreement with Myanmar was originally signed in 1979 but no airline flew this route.

PPS Builds New Terminal

Kumho-GS wins bid

21 May 2014

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has unveiled on Tuesday the new US$82.9 million terminal building with capacity for 2 million passengers in Puerto Princesa Airport, scheduled to open in March 2017. 

Construction of this projcet was funded through the Korean Export Import Bank (KEXIM) loan amounting to $71.6 million while the rest is funded by the Government of the Philippines (GOP). The loan is payable in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-and-a-half-year grace period, at an interest rate of 0.1 percent a year. 

Bidding for the project was limited to South Korean companies in accordance with the Guidelines set for Procurement of Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), and was awarded to Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd.-GS Engineering and Construction joint venture (Kumho-GS), which is set to start work on a new passenger and cargo building, apron, taxiways and navigation facilities by the end of this year.

In 2013, Puerto Princesa Airport registered 1.34 million travelers against the 350,000 passenger capacity terminal building.

NAIA To Build Parallel Runway

20 May 2014

CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews on Tuesday, May 20, shows an aerial photo detailing the proposed additional 'parallel' runways at NAIA in Parañaque City, the construction of which will start next month. The new runways are expected to ease congestion during multiple flight arrivals and takeoffs.

CEB Flies Tandag

Starts June 29

20 May 2014
Cebu Pacific will fly between Cebu and Tandag, Surigao del Sur, on June 29, 2014 using an ATR 72-500 aircraft.

Maiden flight will depart Cebu at 11:10am, arriving in Tandag at 12:15pm. The return flight will depart Tandag at 12:35pm, and arrive in Cebu at 1:40pm.

Tandag will be the airline’s 34th domestic destination.

SMC proposes $10B Manila Bay airport

Here is an artist’s rendition of San Miguel Corp.’s proposal of what could be the country’s largest and most modern airport—a $10-billion air terminal on reclaimed land on Manila Bay. SanMiguel Corp./CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

16 May 2014

By Miguel R. Camus
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is considering the proposal of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to put up a $10-billion  international air gateway at a reclamation project in Manila Bay. 

Michael Sagcal, Transportation department spokesman, said the agency was “very open” to the SMC proposal to establish the airport in the bay area covering the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas. 

“We invite SMC to make a more formal presentation and to submit a proposal to us,” Sagcal said in an interview, adding that the massive airport project was presented to Malacañang on Wednesday. 

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya was present when SMC president Ramon Ang unveiled the airport plans to President Aquino. The project of SMC, which is part owner of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, would be located at CyberBay Corp.’s disputed waterfront reclamation project in Manila Bay, Sagcal said. 

San Miguel, which owns a stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines, told the Philippine Stock Exchange in a disclosure that reports of its bid to build the four-runway hub in Manila Bay were “accurate.” 

It was not immediately clear how SMC’s airport project—an unsolicited proposal—would pan out since the DOTC earlier enlisted the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency to identify a second gateway to the country. 

Also, the Aquino administration maintains a stance against unsolicited proposals, stating on several occasions that it prefers an open bid process. 

But Abaya said in a text message on Thursday that an unsolicited proposal “isn’t illegal or prohibited, but again, the bias is toward solicited open and transparent bidding, which SMC is open to.” 

Abaya said in March that JICA had identified the former US naval base in Sangley Point, Cavite, south of Metro Manila, as an ideal location. 

“If SMC’s proposal turns out to be viable, we will consider it alongside JICA’s recommendations,” Sagcal said. 

Airlines are frustrated with heavy congestion and other woes at Manila’s existing international airport, which has been named the worst in the world for two years running by an online travel guide. 

The airport was hit by air conditioning failures in sweltering weather last month, just as millions of Filipinos began traveling for the Easter holidays—forcing Aquino to make a public apology. 

The airport was built in 1981 to service six million passengers a year, but its terminals handled more than 32 million in 2012, according to the airport authority. 

Philippine Airlines and other carriers routinely suffer flight delays as Manila and other airports across the country struggle to handle surging traffic. 

Manila’s Terminal 1 was named the worst in the world for the second year running in 2013 by travel website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports”. 

Travelers criticized its “dilapidated facilities,” airport workers—particularly taxi drivers—long waiting times and rude officials.—With a report from Agence France-Presse

Philippine Airlines opts for new OnAir wireless IFEC system

First In Asia Pacific

May 13, 2014

Philippine Airlines has introduced to its new international routes, OnAir’s latest wireless in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) product OnAir Play.
Philippine Airlines claims to now be the first carrier in the Asia-Pacific to provide its passengers with fully integrated connectivity and in-flight entertainment (IFE).
OnAir Play combines multimedia IFE with Internet OnAir allowing passengers to stream or download the on-demand content they choose to their own personal electronic devices. Time-critical information, such as live news and sports highlights, will also be constantly updated throughout the flight.
Philippine Airlines’ passengers can choose from a wide selection of movies catering to all type of passengers. The magazines available on the e-reader feature of OnAir Play include Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveller, Vanity Fair, and National Geographic. The next stage is to include the digital version of the duty free catalogue.
OnAir Play is designed to offer a low-cost, flexible upgrade from OnAir’s existing connectivity products. Airlines can also brand OnAir products to ensure brand consistency across the complete passenger experience.
“There is no doubt that merging entertainment with connectivity provides a fun way of spending time during the flight,” commented Ramon Ang, President of Philippine Airlines. “Our passengers can now access the content they want, when they want it, on the device of their choice.”
OnAir Play will be retrofitted to Philippine Airlines’ A330s, which already have Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir systems. The product will be gradually rolled out across the network.

Wired IFE is Passe

But Not For Long Haul!

7 May 2014

More airlines in Asia Pacific region are embracing the wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system by introducing on-board Wi-Fi and/or wireless inflight entertainment systems as more passengers use smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers inside the cabin.

According to a study by Gogo, an inflight internet provider, there is evidence to suggest that wireless IFE makes perfect sense for Asian airlines due to growing demand from airline companies in Asia Pacific.

Latest airline IFE systems offer similar touchscreens as found on devices such as the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy but nothing beats both for portability and ease of use. IFE suppliers like Panasonic and Thales are racing behind the technology introduced by Apple that they are playing catch-up with their system based on Google’s Android mobile operating system, which like smartphones and tablets, allows for the installation of apps.

Australian carrier Qantas pioneered this revolution in Asia Pacific when it introduced tablet-based IFE in 2013 followed closely by Philippine Airlines (PAL) which uses Apple's Ipad technology. But it was Japan Airlines (JAL) that introduce streaming content by  announcing that its passengers will be able to stream movies via their own devices on domestic flights, while All Nippon Airways (ANA) has launched an infotainment portal for tablets, laptops and smartphones. SilkAir, and Bangkok Airways has followed the trend.

Former Cathay Pacific CEO Tony Tyler admitted that they were caught off-guard by this revolution saying that “The bar is being set very high by Apple and others and our customers don’t understand why we can’t match it. Meanwhile, by the time an airline IT project comes to fruition, things have already moved on. Things have flipped. The consumer market is now driving innovation, rather than the business market.”

PAL recently unveiled its new regional business class seat without the wired IFE but with complementary Apple Ipad Mini with internet connectivity powered by OnAir. Economy class passengers have IFE and internet services for a fee via Apple Ipad, while its premium economy seats are equipped with power ports for laptop computers or handheld devices.

Japanese low-cost carrier Peach, a joint venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Hong Kong-based First Eastern Investment Group was the first low cost carrier to offer wireless IFE services, while Philippines' Cebu Pacific pioneered Wifi connectivity in its aircraft when it entered agreement with Geneva-based company OnAir for internet connectivity. AirAsia followed suit in this growing thrend.

But this revolution doesn't fit well to long haul flights according to airline seat manufacturer Recaro.

“Airlines are increasingly asking for tablet holders and USB power slots,” says Recaro Aircraft Seating chief executive Mark Hiller.

“While I’m sure integrated IFE will die off on short-range flights, I’m not so sure about long-range.” said Hiller.

Airframers are also looking toward offering more flexible IFE solutions for long haul, but not without. Embedded inflight entertainment (IFE) systems have become synonymous with long-haul air travel, providing a welcome distraction to passengers seated in tight quarters for many hours. 

Airbus says wireless IFE does not work well for long haul flights because of endurance issues, and it may take time to recharge them to be available to the next set of users.

European Manufacturer Airbus sees order for the long haul A350 aircraft embedded with seat-back IFE, with line-fit option for wireless facility, but cannot be without the former, says Ingo Wuggetzer, Airbus vice president of cabin innovation and design.

Boeing also observed “an increase in wireless take-up” in the market “and interest by airlines,” but has not heard customers say they do not want embedded IFE for long-haul aircraft. IFE manufacturers Panasonic or Thales Avionics echoed similar views.

"Inflight connectivity will be available as an “and” not an “or” function", says Sean Sullivan, senior manager of cabin systems and connectivity for Boeing.

“Embedded IFE is not going to be replaced because of connectivity,” he said.

All Boeing aircraft leave the factory with Panasonic or Thales Avionics-embedded IFE systems. To date, the only wireless IFE solution offered by Boeing as a line-fit option is the Panasonic Avionics eXW product.

Despite the wireless IFE revolution, Singapore Airlines has recently launched its next generation IFE suite via Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 embedded IFE system and has confirmed that it has no plans to offer wireless IFE. Philippine Airlines will also upgrade its long haul product with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 embedded IFE system, while China Southern confirmed that it will install Thales’ TopSeries AVANT IFEC system on its Boeing 777-300ERs.

PAL Unveils New Business Class on A330

5 May 2014

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has unveiled its new business class seat for its new fleet of Airbus A330-300.

The French-made Equinox 3D Business Class seat from Sogerma offers a fully flat seat at 58” pitch. Amenities include in-seat power supply, USB port, reading light, seat control, In-Flight Entertainment system powered by Apple's Ipad Mini, and wifi connectivity services linked by OnAir.

The new airbus plane has seating capacity of 368, with 18 business class, 27 premium economy seats and 323 Weber 5751 economy class seats.

The airline intends to fly this type of aircraft to Hongkong, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo Haneda, Nagoya, Seoul and Honolulu this year.
Cabin inside PAL featuring Business, Premium Economy, Economy sections, and WIFI connectivity unveiled 12 May 2014

ANA Flies 787 To Manila

1 May 2014

ANA flew today inaugural B787 service to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.                         Image Courtesy of Reonel Cordova ©

Honeywell, Hughes To Provide PBN at Tacloban Airport

For Free

1 May 2014

Honeywell and Hughes Aerospace has agreed to develop performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures for Tacloban’s Daniel Z. Romualez airport for free.

“Honeywell and Hughes will absorb the entire cost of the development of these approaches at the airport to ensure that the flow of relief supplies is not impacted.” says Honeywell in a statement.

PBN Procedures for Tacloban Airport cost US $300,000.00 and was donated by its local representative DPS-SmartPath Navigational Systems, Inc., to CAAP Director General William K. Hotchkiss III and Deputy Director General John C. Andrews Wednesday.

Canadian-based Honeywell says the implementation of PBN will allow better access to the airport in difficult weather conditions, which should speed the flow of airborne relief supplies following potential future natural disasters.

“The situation at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport was severe as Typhoon Haiyan had completely destroyed the ground-based navigational aid. As a result, the only Instrument Flight Procedure serving Tacloban was lost, limiting the airport to daytime operations in fair weather, which could potentially limit recovery and relief efforts,” Chris Baur, president and chief executive of  Hughes Aerospace said.

The new performance-based navigation (PBN) approaches for Tacloban will allow the airport to move away from legacy ground-based navigational aids to better satellite-based technologies using Philippine Area navigation procedures as this will allow aircraft to fly more stable and accurate flight paths, allowing shorter and more direct routes as well as more efficient takeoffs and landings.

Deputy Director General John C. Andrews said that “four other airports utilizing satellite-based navigation were commissioned about three years ago and done by Amadeus,” an airline information technology firm.

The four terminals with PBN procedures in place were the airport in Dumaguete, Butuan, Legazpi, and Laguindingan. 

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is presently developing a performance-based navigation (PBN) system procedure for the entire country in cooperation with the French Civil Aviation Authority and Quovadis, an Airbus company specializing in flight operations systems.

Quovadis, an Air Navigation Service (ANS) provider is developing full PBN network of 11 major airports in the Philippines aside from NAIA. The 11 airports are Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, Butuan, Dumaguete, Legazpi, Iloilo, Clark, Bacolod, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, and Kalibo.

Under the Flight Procedures Program (FPP), 20 airports should have PBN approaches in 2014 but Implementation of PBN at a number of airports is delayed pending validation of instrument flight procedures.

At Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for example, Standard Instrument Departure (SID) and Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) procedures are only being used at certain times as it is not clear to ATC which airlines are currently authorised to conduct PBN operations for training purposes and co-ordination is required to permit airlines to use PBN procedures in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) for training and familiarization prior to full implementation.