Terminal 3 Is Done, Finally!

Clears Delta Airlines, KLM, Singapore Airlines, 
Emirates and Cathay Pacific transfer

31 July 2014

Delta Airlines will be the first airline to relocate in Terminal 3 today after the Transportation Department finally completed Terminal 3 project, 17 years after concession was awarded, amidst corruption scandal against its erstwhile benefactor Fraport AG of Germany.

DOTC said  Japan’s Takenaka Corp. would turn over the facility today making it 100 percent operational and later tonight Delta Airlines would be receiving its arriving passengers from the Terminal.

Terminal 3 had been operating at half its intended designed capacity since it opened six years ago catering mostly to LCC operators Cebu Pacific and PAL Express together with lone full service carrier ANA. 

Terminal 3 will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers said Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

Abaya said the $US80 million completion work done by Takenaka can now be able to fully accommodate the relocation of five international carriers operating from Terminal 1, which also has to undergo extensive repair, retrofit, rehabilitation and upgrading works to meet future demands.

Other foreign carriers that will move to Terminal 3 are as follows:
  1. Delta Airlines........................................................ July 31
  2. KLM....................................................................... August 4
  3. Emirates................................................................. August 15
  4. Singapore Airlines................................................. September 1
  5. Cathay Pacific........................................................ October 1
The transfer of the  five airlines is expected to reduce Terminal 1’s annual passenger capacity from the current 8 million down to its design capacity of 4.5 million. Terminal 3 handles 13 million passengers per annum.

PAF To Receive Two C-130T

As US Approves $61 Million Sale


Primary Function:

C-130T: Tactical passenger and cargo airlift 

Primary User: United States Navy
Date Deployed: 1991
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-16 engines
Length: 97 feet 9 inches (29.3 meters)
Wingspan: 132 feet 7 inches (39.7 meters)
Height: (Tail height) 38 feet 3 inches (11.4 meters)
Weight: Max. gross, take-off: 175,000 pounds (79,380 kg)
Ceiling: 25,600 feet
Range: 2,350 nautical miles
Crew: Four
Prime Contractors: Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation Systems, Sargent Fletcher Inc.

29 July 2014

The Department of National Defense (DND) has confirmed that it will be receiving a pair of two C-130T Logistics Support Aircraft from the United States next year under its Foreign Military Sale programme.

The Lockheed Martin C-130T model was introduced in July 1991 and was meant for the United States Navy's Reserve Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons, which got total of 20 C-130T delivered in December 1996.

Secretary of Defense Voltaire Gazmin said these workhorse aircraft were offered by the United States after supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Visayas late last year and the Philippines accepted their offer and desires to purchase these aircraft at the sum of $61 million dollars.

Gazmin said these two aircraft would be different from other C-130's as they would be fitted with surveillance system by Lockheed Martin and will be used primarily for maritime patrol, and anti-submarine warfare. These removable instruments adds flexibility to the aircraft when they will be made available for disaster relief.

The C-130 sale includes 10 Rolls Royce Allison T56-16 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), personnel training and training equipment, logistical support for a period of three years from delivery, modification equipment and labor costs, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, and aircraft ferry support among others.

Upon delivery next year, the Hercules will become the newest airframe in PAF service (frames between 5255-5430) being built in the 90's. There are currently 3 operating C-130's in the PAF inventory, comprising a single 60's era C-130B (3633) and 2 70's era C-130H models (4704,4726) model.

The Philippine government is also in the thick of discussion with the government of Australia for the acquisition of their five remaining C-130H (4782, 4784,4785,4787,4788) aircraft inventory delivered in 1978.

The Royal Australian Air Force had a fleet of 12 C-130H before they were retired in 2012. Four were sold to Indonesia, one aircraft went to Air Force Museum at RAAF Base Point Cook while another was kept at RAAF Base Richmond for training purposes and another as spare. They were replaced with the newer C-130J model.

The C-130 Hercules planes has been the main aircraft uses to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in the aftermath of Typhoon's battering the country, most notably Yolanda (Haiyan).

Tiger Adds Davao and General Santos

Flights Starts November 

25 July 2014

Tigerair Philippines will add four new domestic destinations in November as it expands its route network in the Philippines.

The new Cebu Pacific Airways subsidiary said it would launch flights from Manila to Davao and General Santos on November 20, using Airbus A320 aircraft after it receives airframe from its parent.
The airline will also launch a twice a week flights from its Cebu hub to Davao and Cagayan de Oro on November 29.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways of Singapore has completed the implementation of its interline agreement which will create the third biggest flight network from the the Asia Pacific region next to Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia and Lion Air of Indonesia. 

Tigerair Singapore and Cebu Pacific announced plans to enter a strategic alliance on January 8, 2014 to improve its competitive level amidst the looming Asian Air integration in 2015. 

The interline agreement extends to all their networks, opening up a wide array of new destinations for their respective passengers.

The airline alliance will bring new destinations in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Maldives and Thailand.

Tigerair Singapore will make available domestic Cebu Pacific flights for sale on the Tigerair website from July 23 and available on the website of Cebu Pacific starting September.

PH military for disaster response, internal defense

18 July 2014
By Kristine Angeli Sabillo

President Benigno S. Aquino III looks at a model of a South Korean-made FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft on display during the Asian Defense, Security, and Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference (ADAS) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Thursday, July 17. With him are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista. Gil Nartea
Disaster response and internal defense. Those are the only reasons why the Philippines is beefing up its military, President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday.

“Lest anyone accuse us of shifting to a more militaristic position, I must emphasize: Our efforts seek to modernize the capabilities of our security sector to address the needs in human disaster response arenas and for our own internal defense,” Aquino said during the opening ceremony of the Asian Defense, Security and Crisis Management Exhibition 2014 (Adas 2014) at the World Trade Center in Pasay.

“None of these actions are meant to increase tensions in the region; rather, they are meant to address our domestic problems and issues,” he added.

Aquino attended the defense and security conference amid territorial disputes among Southeast Asian countries and China in South China Sea.

During his speech, the President expressed concern for the equipment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which he said has “long been neglected.”

“It reached a point where even lawless elements possessed superior equipment,” he pointed out.

He added, “This is precisely why, from day one, we have done everything in our power to give the AFP the support they need to perform their duties to the fullest of their capabilities―and to make sure that the risks they take in the battlefield are reduced to a bare minimum.”

Since Aquino became president, more than P40 billion has been allocated to modernize and upgrade military capabilities.

At one point in his speech, Aquino beamed at his accomplishments compared to the paltry allocation former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave.

“Compare this to the 26 billion that my predecessor released in a span of nearly ten years,” he said.

“Most prominently, we have added two Hamilton Class Cutters to our fleet, namely the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz. We have also acquired eight Sokol Combat Utility Helicopters, three AW-109 naval helicopters, four refurbished UH-1 helicopters, and the BRP Tagbanua, the first locally-built landing craft utility ship, among many others,” Aquino added.

He also announced that 50,629 M4 Caliber 5.56mm rifles is set to be distributed before the year ends.

Aquino said the “fair and transparent procurement process” allowed the government to save P1.2 billion in purchasing the rifles, allowing it to purchase another 12,657 units and “set aside a budget for succeeding rifle procurements.”

“We are also looking forward to the arrival of two out of twelve FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets next year, with the others all arriving before 2017. Apart from these, we are expecting seventeen more refurbished UH-1 helicopters, eight more combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircrafts, six close-air support aircrafts, two anti-submarine helicopters, two frigates, and three full missile capable multi-purpose attack crafts, along with other equipment that will strengthen the capacities of our armed forces,” he added.

The Great Migration

Ducking Typhoon

17 July 2014

Manila International Airport was a ghost port yesterday after all aircraft, except Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, evacuated to much safer place across the country in Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.

Typhoon Flew Planes Off-Ground

17 July 2014

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200 and a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane were blown out of its mooring at Ninoy Aquino International Airport early morning yesterday after strong winds from Typhoon Rammusun, local name Glenda blasted the tarmac and lifted the behemoth planes off the grown knocking Gate 6 Air Bridge at Terminal 1 and hitting the steel stairway while parked at the cargo terminal, airport official said.

Terminal 1 Manager Dante Basanta said strong winds flew the two parked planes of Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines despite being  adequately moored.
Basanta said the Boeing 777 aircraft of Singapore Airlines were literally flown by the winds and dragged about 5 meters, causing it to hit the air bridge hard and dent the left engine and thereafter its left wing.

Meanwhile, the Boeing 738 plane of Malaysia Airlines also sustained damage to its fuselage after it turned some 45 degrees to its side and hitting a service stairs stationed nearby while it was still parked at the remote parking bay of the cargo terminal.

Both planes were ordered grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) citing their airworthiness as reason. Damage to the airplanes were assessed at more than 1 million dollars.

The typhoon forced the aviation authorities shut down the airport’s  two runways,  practically paralyzing the entire airport operations for nearly four hours Wednesday morning causing disruptions and cancellation of 120 domestic and international flights.

The runways were closed by CAAP at 7 a.m. Wednesday due to poor visibility caused by heavy rains and strong winds, and was reopened at 10:40 a.m.

NAIA terminals also showed damage with broken glass panels, fallen construction scaffoldings and damaged fixtures at Terminal 1. 

There were no substantial damage reported at Terminal 2 and 4, while terminal 3 boarding bridges 101 to 106 were reported to have suffered minimal damage which requires few days of work.

There were no reported casualty or injury by the airport authority.

PAL Selects PW for A320Neo's

16 July  2014

Engine Manufacturer Pratt & Whitney of Canada has announced at the FARNBOROUGH AIRSHOW yesterday that Philippine Airlines has selected Pratt's new PW1100G geared turbofan engine to power its 10 Airbus A320neo aircraft orders.

"As we continue to modernize our fleet, we consistently turn to Pratt & Whitney for innovative and reliable technology to power our aircraft," said Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines.

"The PurePower engine will help us to reduce fuel burn, improve our environmental performance and lower our cost of operations," Ang adds.

The initial agreement signed through Letter of Intent between Philippine Airlines and Pratt & Whitney includes a long-term maintenance service agreement with the turbo fan engine.

The PurePower Geared Turbofan™ engine family has more than 5,500 orders and commitments, including options, from more than 50 global customers.

"We look forward to working with Philippine Airlines and we are pleased to offer the airline new technology solutions to meet its business needs," said Dave Brantner, president, Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engines.

Airbus Launches A330NEO

 14 July 2014

Airbus has launched the newest variant of the A330 family with new engines, the A330-800 and A330-900 expected to carry between 250 and 300 passengers following a decision by the Board of Directors of the Group.

The new variant which is larger than the current A330-200 and A330-300 will exclusively incorporate a larger wing, a latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features.

The A330neo will reduce fuel consumption by 14% per seat, as compared to the current A330 model making it the most cost efficient, medium range wide-body aircraft on the market. A330neo operators will also benefit a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles from the existing variant at 6100nm.

Airbus expects to achieve a range of 6,200nm with its 242 ton A330-900, which will be the first re-engined variant to enter the market in 2017, while the -800 will be able to reach 7,450nm.

The A330-900s will have a maximum landing weight of 191t while that for the -800neo will be 186t.

The aircraft is expected to compete against the Boeing 787-800s  to be sold at a significant discount than their composite skin counterparts.

Air Lease will be the launch customer of the aircraft after it ordered 25 units of the plane at the Farnborough Airshow in England slated for delivery to the airline in 2018. Deliveries of the A330neo will start in Q4 2017.

In addition to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will feature incremental innovations such as re-twisted wing and optimised slats, including composite ‘A350 XWB inspired’ winglets and a wing span extension from 60.3m to 64m, will together confer increased lift and reduced drag.

Pilots will benefit from latest generation cockpit systems, and the already very comfortable A330 cabin will be further optimised to offer up to ten additional 18 inch wide seats.

The new plane will also have a built-in  including 4th-generation High-Definition In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), and wifi connectivity plus the same full-LED mood-lighting as in the A330’s big brother – the A350 XWB. The LED cabin lighting will be lighter and cheaper to maintain than traditional illumination while offering unlimited mood-lighting customisation scenarios.

JICA Proposes Sangley Runway As NAIA's Third Runway

Sangley Sought For NAIA Integration

14 July 2014

Sangley Airport is poised to become part of Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex if the proposal of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Philippine government is to be adopted, Transport Secretary said Sunday.

JICA Has proposed that Sangley Point airport in Cavite be linked to Manila International  Airport under an integrated airspace with Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) until 2025.

Its not clear from JICA's recommendation whether a taxiway is to be linked from NAIA to Sangley airport runway or whether they will still be classified as two separate airport.

“JICA’s recommendation means that, in effect, the new Sangley airport will be NAIA’s ‘third runway’ until greater expansion can be made in the long-term," Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya has said.

NAIA will be constructing a 2km parallel runway next to 6-24 to handle narrow body traffic aimed at decongesting its airspace until 2025, the timeframe when the new airport would become operational

The proposal will provide NAIA with 3 parallel runways with the existing runway turned into 6-24 center, the soon to be constructed parallel runway at 6-24 right, and Sangley airport runway providing 6-24 left.

“Upgrading Sangley’s existing airport may be done faster and at a lower cost, since initial reclamation will be needed for only one to two runways, instead of three to four,” says Abaya.

Initial investment for the massive airport project could be low as it cover only land reclamation for the taxiway connecting NAIA and the Sangley runway.

“This will significantly bring down JICA’s initial ballpark estimate of $ 10 billion to build a four-runway airport in Sangley,” Abaya added.

This could provide NAIA with tremendous expansion capacity with Sangley providing two more runway for NAIA while also opening the complex to future growth.

One of the other options for 2025 and beyond would be to close NAIA once Sangley is expanded into a four-runway airport, make it a mega complex airport merging NAIA and Sangley, or operating it as dual-airport system.

DOTC's next step after this proposal is to prepare a feasibility study of the proposed options slated for completion in 2015. Project construction  is expected to commence in 2017 for completion in 2024.

Abaya clarified that the DOTC will still have to finalize the best airport strategy and present this to President Benigno Aquino III as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Department will continue to develop Clark International Airport as alternative airport to Manila.

Orbis Visits Davao and Pampanga

13 July 2014

By Vaughn Alviar

Hospital with wings for the visually impaired

It might have seemed like any other landing to residents around Clark International Airport, another prosaic aircraft that would depart as soon as it landed. But the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) was not usual. It rolled out its generators and then stayed for two weeks since June 23.

Until July 4, the 20-plus staff members of the Orbis initiative would treat 100 visually impaired citizens of Pampanga, with partner Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital (JBLMH) providing the steady stream of less fortunate—and thankful—patients.

“It helped tremendously,” patient Nelba Magallanes said of the only hospital plane in the world, “because I wouldn’t know where to source the payment for an operation… I’m thankful for the help Orbis has given to [JBLMH’s] patients.”

Magallanes walked into the hospital for a glaucoma checkup on June 23, and the medical staff told her to head upstairs for a free operation care of Orbis.

Critical issue
THE FACILITY stayed at Clark for two weeks.
THE OPERATION room during an oculoplastics surgery
It was the FEH’s 13th operation in the country, with the first two dating back to 1982. Including the recent landing in Davao, it has now provided treatment for more than 1,000 patients across all the age groups, mostly in the current facility, a repurposed DC-10 aircraft used since 1994.

“Eye care is a critical health issue … [and] the main causes are the high cost of healthcare in urban areas and a lack of trained eye health specialists in rural areas,” said Rhicke Jennings, FedEx managing director for the Philippines and Indonesia.

There are about 3.9 million visually impaired individuals in the country. FedEx provides the logistics and expertise for the FEH, helped fund the purchase of the DC-10 and donated an MD-10 which will be the third-generation airplane hospital.

Even the ophthalmic community should be thankful for the visit. The New York-based non-profit has now provided lectures and hands-on training for over 1,000 local practitioners, all for making every operation endure, explained FEH communication manager Joni Watson.

The hospital has a 48-seat classroom that hosted lectures and symposiums. The participants watched live feeds from operations done two rooms away. Moreover, the staff gave hands-on training to 18 ophthalmologists, 8 nurses and about 8 doctors.

On hand was a high-caliber staff, including two Filipino nurses, from “15 to 16 countries all over the world,” Watson said. “We pull people from all over… It’s kind of a real mix. Other people just [learn] through friends; see it online, apply.” (Job opportunities are on Orbis.org.)

FedEx also offers a fellowship grant for eye care specialists, getting them to work in hospitals in developed countries, and trains volunteer pilots, mostly from its own pool—the reason it has touched down on 92 countries.

Orbis contacts its partners a year prior to make sure that the training sessions translate to real operations. For Pampanga, it asked the Central Luzon Ophthalmology Society and JBLMH for the most prevalent eye problems in the country—cataract is the top case and glaucoma follows. The FEH also offered pediatric ophthalmology, medical retina and oculopastic surgery, a procedure tackling problems with the eyelids and eye sockets.

About time

“It is about what they (the eye care specialists) see every day,” said Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, the medical director of FEH. “We are here to enable them to deliver care for their own patients, so whatever they see every day in their own practice are the cases we list for the program.”

“The main focus of the hospital is not to do challenging or very difficult cases… It’s not about doing heroic surgery and then we disappear, because otherwise this would be a problem,” he added.

The transient hospital envisions a Philippine health sector with the skills to address the needs of visually impaired Filipinos, Watson said, just days before the FEH flew out of the country gearing up for Mongolia. Over two weeks, it proved that it wasn’t the usual aircraft—and it’ll come back again: “Soon,” Gomaa said with a smile.

Russia Clears Siberian Airspace

Secures Daily Flight To Moscow

12 July 2014

The Russian Federation and the Philippine government has agreed Thursday to update its Air Services Agreement (ASA) by providing flight entitlements and overflight rights to the vast Russian Airspace where its respective flag carrier, Aeroflot and Philippine Airlines also agreed on the commercial terms for its service early this week. 

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) met its Russian counterpart Tuesday in Manila.

While the two states have a mutual air service agreement, there was no provisions for seat entitlements other than the proposed route structure and the general agreement which prevented Russian and Philippine carriers from providing regular flight services between the two countries.

Russian tourists were among the top 10 foreign visitors to the country numbering close to 30,000 in 2013 mostly coming from the central and eastern region.

The Annex to the Air Services Agreement scheduled for implementation on 14 July 2014 will pave the way for Philippine Airlines (PAL) to overfly the Siberian Airspace towards North America and Europe for the first time in the airline's history.

PAL used to fly North America via Alaska for its flight to Toronto instead of a more direct path via Siberia. It also flies Europe following the routes via Bangkok, India and Iran, which is the same route flown by other EU and ASEAN carriers from Bangkok.

With the current agreement, PAL can now fly Toronto or New York on a more direct flight to Manila or London - Manila via Western and Central Russia saving the airline passengers 2-3 hours of travel time.

The new agreement also paves the way for PAL to profitably fly their A340-343X fleet to other European Cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam via the shorter Russian route which would otherwise be payload-restricted.

Air Asia Zest In Hot Water Again

11 July 2014

Air Asia Zest is in hot water again and may face possible suspension orders from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) for fielding a defective aircraft to its fleet.

One of Air Asia's A320 planes (RP-C8986) was reported by passengers to have a malfunctioning auxiliary power unit since July 1 but the airline was able to fly the plane until Wednesday July 9.

The CAA said that the airline should never have flown the plane with the defective APU as it put safety of passengers at risk.

PAL Expands Down Under

Downgrades Equipment to Boeing 757

 10 July 2014

Philippine Airlines will expand its Australia Network by expanding services to Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Brisbane effective from October says its President. 

PAL President and COO Ramon S. Ang said yesterday that it will also open back Perth to its route network.

The airline will fly daily direct services to Sydney, Melbourne, and Darwin while Brisbane and Perth will see three and four flights operating direct from Manila respectively while other flights operate via Darwin. Perth will be relaunched on the 27 of October.

The airline will operate a fleet of five Boeing 757-200 for this route leased from Boeing Capital Corporation until 2016 where it will be replaced by Airbus A321 NEO's.

PAL is also finalizing plan to launch services to Auckland via intermediate points in Australia.

Logan Denies Buying Tan Shares

10 July 2014

Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan has denied reports that they will buy into Philippine Airlines following its recent acquisition last week of 49% share of Alitalia, the national airline of Italy.

Hogan was in Manila to launch the landmark partnership agreement with Philippine Airlines.

Mr. Hogan emphasized that this partnership with PAL was merely strategic, but on long-term relationship, to improve both revenues and costs.

He clarified, however, that deal does not mean gaining a stake at the Philippine flag carrier.

Etihad is in the process of formalizing the acquisition of Alitalia within weeks  that would be its eighth airline investment globally following Darwin Airline (34%), Air Serbia (49%), Air Seychelles (40%), Air Berlin (29.21%), Jet Airways of India (24%), Virgin Australia (19.9%), and Aer Lingus of Ireland (4.01%).

In a recent interview Monday with the Wall Street Journal, Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang declined to identify the foreign airline or say whether it would buy all or part of LT Group's 51% share. 

Mr. Ang said the deal would be completed by the end of the year.

The San Miguel Corporation President which owns 49% and management control of Philippine Airlines said the new partner is capable of expanding the airline's international network.

Japan's All Nippon Airways has repeatedly been linked with Philippine Airlines over the last two years as it seeks to expand overseas. ANA General Manager Hideaki Izumi confirmed to reporters in March that discussions about a tie-up with Philippine Airlines were taking place but declined to answer further questions.

Since assuming control of the flag carrier, Ang has overseen an upgrade of the carrier's fleet, added new long-haul routes to Europe and the U.S., and reduced losses.

Ang said at an Annual Shareholders' meeting in June that all of the airline's long-haul routes, with the exception of recently added flights to London, are now profitable, and that the airline has started turning a profit in April.

MIAA Auctions DC-3 and Constellation

9 July 2014

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is set to auction abandoned classic aircraft that has been seating idly at the General Aviation area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the airport authority said Tuesday.

MIAA Legal Department Manager Perla Eslao Dumo has said that “abandonment proceedings” are now being undertaken by the airport authority for the disposal of 12 planes which includes a Douglas Corporation DC-3 plane built in 1943 originally for the US Air Force before it was sold and re-registered as RP-C147(cn 20767). The rest covers RP-C368, N102DH (cn 20830), some of which are owned by Gemino Pilapil, Jacob Lim, Jyoti P. Chatlani and Max Manning, and a 1950 era C-121J Super Constellation (N4247K c/n 4144) owned by William Crawford which can still be operational. 

The auction also includes McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32s previously operated by Cebu Pacific, and Mosphil Aero's Antonov AN-26B, Cessna 150 owned by Fredelito Juane, and Grumman American AA-IA Yankee.

The list of the auction planes are enumerated below

MASwings Reduces Palawan service

Due to Seasonal Variations

4 July 2014

By Romer S. Sarmiento

After barely a month of flying the Kota Kinabalu-Puerto Princesa route five times a week, MASwings Sdn. Bhd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, has reverted to thrice-a-week flights even amid increasing tourist traffic, officials said.

Doreen Padilla of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-Puerto Princesa City, Palawan office said late Wednesday afternoon that the CAAP received notification from MASwings temporarily suspending two flights effective June 30.

“The airline advised us they will temporarily suspend their Monday and Thursday flights as there are some requirements they need to comply with,” Ms. Padilla said in a phone interview.

She did not elaborate on the requirements, while the airline’s local representatives could not be reached for comment.

MASwings previously announced on its Web site that effective June 2, it would service the route five times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday) using a 64-seater ATR72-500 aircraft.

In increasing their flights to five times a week, MASwings Chief Commercial Officer Shauqi Ahmad said in an earlier statement: “MASwings is pleased to be able to meet the great demand on the route Kota Kinabalu-Puerto Princesa. With its eco-tourism attractions… Puerto Princesa is quickly making its mark on the list of Must Go destinations.”

Meanwhile, Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority director for investment promotions and public affairs which serves as the Philippine coordinating office for BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area), said traffic between Kota Kinabalu and Palawan has been on an uptrend since last month, though he did not give specific numbers.

“This a positive development in our efforts to further strengthen air connectivity between Palawan and Kota Kinabalu to lure more people to visit tourism sites in the BIMP-EAGA,” he told BusinessWorld.

Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and Palawan in the Philippines are two focus areas under the BIMP-EAGA, a grouping launched in 1994 to accelerate the social and economic growth in the less developed areas in participating countries.

MASwings began servicing the Kota Kinabalu-Puerto Princesa route in November 2013.

Sangley Airport Is It!

SMC To Bid Airport Project

By Kris Bayos
3 July 2014

It’s final. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has chosen Sangley Point in Cavite City as the location of the new airport, virtually shelving SMC proposal to build similar infrastructure on reclaimed land in Manila Bay.

Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the DOTC will adopt the recommendation of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to build Manila’s next international gateway in Cavite. The announcement was made after San Miguel Corporation (SMC) failed to formally present its plan to build a $10-billion airport at Manila Bay.

“Our Planning Department requested SMC for a full and proper presentation of their proposal. Our two requests were either turned down or ignored. We won’t be insisting for the third time,” Abaya said.

Earlier, businessman Ramon Ang personally presented SMC’s plan to construct a modern airport along Manila Bay in a meeting with President Aquino last May. SMC’s proposed four-runway hub was designed to either complement or replace the aging Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“We weren’t sure why there is hesitation,” Abaya added. “They (SMC) have their own reasons and we don’t need to find out. So in the absence (of the SMC proposal), we will just pursue Sangley.”

Ang was quoted as saying earlier at the SMC Stockholders Meeting last June that they are amenable to bid out the contract to build and operate a new international airport even if the bids will involve different proposed sites.
“Bids can be for a new airport in Clark, Sangley or Metro Manila,” said Ang last month.

Ang said SMC’s plan for the new airport can be done in five to seven years. “We will start operations in the fifth year and it will be at full capacity of 150 million passengers a year by the seventh year,” he said.

The Cabinet official disclosed that the JICA site-selection study for the new airport in Manila had also considered Manila Bay but Sangley Point emerged as the best choice among seven locations.

“If you look at the JICA study, Manila Bay was also studied. Among seven locations, Sangley ranked on top after all factors were considered,” he said.

Although JICA is already working on the feasibility study of constructing a new airport in Sangley Point, Abaya clarified that the project is still subject to the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, which is chaired by the President.

“We are pursuing Sangley (as the location). (JICA) will finish the feasibility study and (DOTC) will eventually get NEDA Board approval,” the official said.

Abaya also said DOTC is studying the appropriate funding structure for the project slated for construction in 2017 considering the huge cost of building a new international airport.

“Considering the huge cost, it is possible that the General Appropriations Act (GAA), Official Development Assistance (ODA), or Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will all have a component (to fund),” he said. The SMC airport will cost $10 billion and the same cost is estimated for the airport to be constructed in Sangley Point.

The NEDA Board will also decide on the fate of NAIA once the new airport is built.  DOTC expects NAIA to hit its maximum capacity between 2018 or 2020.

According to a 2011 JICA study, annual passenger forecasts for the Greater Capital Region will rise from 49.8 million in 2020 to 75 million in 2030, shooting up to 106.7 million in 2040.  In 2012, total traffic recorded in the region was already at 31.879 million. The greater capital region covers the National Capital Region and Regions 3 and 4A.

To meet the expected volumes, the DOTC has identified two viable options. Both will involve the expansion of Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, and the development of a new international airport in Manila.

The Landmark Of The Etihad Deal

PAL's Middle East Connection

3 July 2014

Etihad Airways (ETD) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) signed an enhanced cooperation agreement in April through a classified Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which could potentially open doors to PAL having access to the Middle East market including Beirut in Lebanon and Amman, Jordan while providing Etihad access to connection flights in the Philippines.

Commercial benefits to both airlines and their customers includes code sharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, special pro rate and air pass agreements, cargo cooperation, among others.

Etihad said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) could lead to increased flights from Abu Dhabi to Manila, as well as the possibility of expanding code-share agreements to the 20 regional airports within the Philippines.

Currently, Air Services between the two countries cap capacity at 28 flights daily to Manila, 14 flights to Clark and 14 flights to Cebu. Twenty one daily flights are serviced by Emirates Airlines, seven by PAL Express and Cebu Pacific while the remaining fourteen entitlements went to Etihad and the last seven by Philippine Airlines.

In 2006, Etihad Airways launched services between Abu Dhabi and Manila with four weekly Airbus A330-200 flights. The two airlines entered into a code-share agreement in 2007 where Etihad flew both entitlements with Boeing 777-300ER. 

The agreement expired in October last year and PAL flew from Manila to Abu Dhabi initially at five times a week in 2 October 2013 before increasing it to daily flight using Airbus 330-300 after new agreement was reached in April 27, 2014.

Etihad’s President and CEO James Hogan said the agreement was an “important milestone” in the long-standing relationship between the two carriers.

PAL President Ramon Ang said the partnership “will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options.”

“This also comes at an opportune time for PAL which is in the thick of a fleet modernization and expansion program that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft,” Ang added in a statement.

He noted that closer collaboration in the local and global market arena will “enhance the competitiveness and appeal of our offering and deliver an unrivaled customer proposition in the UAE, in the Philippines and abroad."

PAL President Ramon Ang and Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan said the partnership seeks to make the two brands the first choice for the more than 700,000 UAE-based Filipinos who account for much of the traffic on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route each year.

Last year, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was Etihad’s second busiest destination next to Bangkok with 547,68 passengers. The MoU added PAL flights to make it thrice-daily flights between the capitals.

NAIA Terminal Fee To Be Integrated In Airline Tickets

International airline ticket prices to be purchased starting October this year will include International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) more commonly known as the terminal fees that most passengers queue up for before boarding their flights. Full implementation of the MIAA policy will be in October 2015. For domestic flights from NAIA, the P200 terminal fee has been included in airline tickets since August 2012.

1 July 2014
By Azer N. Parrocha

After a series of negotiations, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and international air carriers signed on Tuesday an agreement including terminal fee in airline ticket costs.

Under the agreement, MIAA will pay all 34 airlines P150 million a year in total as a service charge for the P550 terminal fee per head.

In turn, air carriers will remit fees to MIAA by less than 3.5 percent. They will keep this as their service fee.

These airlines include Air Asia Zest, Air Asia Inc., Air China Limited, Air Niugini, Air Philippines Corporate (PAL Express), All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd., Asiana Airlines Inc., Cebu Air Inc., Cathay Pacific, China Airlines Ltd. Philippine Branch Office, China Eastern Co. Ltd, China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd., Dragon Air, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysian Airlines System Berhad, Philippine Airlines Inc., Qantas, Qatar Airlines, Royal Brunei SDN Berhad, Singapore Airlines Ltd., Thai Airways, Tiger Airways Singapore Ltd., Kuwait Airways, Jet Star Asia, Saudia Airlines, United Airlines and Eva Air.

The only airline that has yet to sign the agreement with MIAA is Delta Air Lines.

MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, during the signing event, said that long queuing will soon be “a thing of the past.”

“After the check-in counter, passengers can go straight to immigration (without having to line up for terminal fee payment),” Honrado said in an ambush interview with reporters.

He further said that the main advantage of the agreement is that one of the airports’ “major irritants” would be abolished.

Philippine Airlines president Ramon Ang, in a separate interview, welcomed the development, saying that the integration of terminal fees in airline tickets would definitely make travel easier.

Ang further said that airlines should also see this move as an opportunity to provide better service to passengers.

The integration of the program will begin in October this year, with a one-year transition period ending in September 2015. Full implementation of the policy will be in October 2015.

This program applies to international flights only. The P200 domestic terminal fee has been integrated in the cost of domestic air fares since August 2012.

From the P550 international terminal fee being collected by MIAA, P390 is for its share for maintenance and upkeep, P100 goes to the government, and P60 for aviation security. (PNA)

PAF Celebrates 67th Year Learning The Jets Anew

1 July 2014

Philippine Air Force showcased 50 of its air assets highlighted by a fly-by display at its 67th anniversary held in Haribon Hangar, Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga, Tuesday morning.

The fly-by display was highlighted by the return of three S-211 jets to air service used for pilot training on the future FA-50 fleet of the PAF which will start delivery next year, complimented by the aerobatic team from the PAF Flying School, named the Ravens, which used 16 SF-260FH/M trainer planes in its aerial capability demonstration, as well as the three C-130 Hercules cargo planes together with other air assets to include one F-28, 2 F-27 Fokker, three N-22 Nomad planes, two OV-10 Bronco bombers, two SF-260TP warrior, nine T-41D trainers, LC-210 weather aircraft, four MG-520 gunship helicopters, four UH-1H Huey helicopters, one Bell 205, pair of Huey II rescue helicopters, six Sokol rescue helicopters, and three S-76A air ambulances.

President Benigno Aquino III said that beginning next year, the PAF will be officially back to the jet age with the arrival of brand new interdiction jet, the FA-50 from South Korea.

Northrail Dooms Clark Bid as International Gateway

1 July 2014

The government of the Philippines declared today that proposals to make Clark International Airport in Pampanga as the country’s international gateway is good as dead after the government of former President Gloria Arroyo bungled the Northrail project funded by China that was supposed to connect the proposed international gateway to the business centers of Ortigas and Makati.

In a press conference at Clark Airport today during the Philippine Air Force founding anniversary, President Benigno Aquino said that railway project connecting the airport is mired in legal controversy surpassing that of NAIA Terminal 3.

"We’re gonna go in arbitration against the construction company and we are undergoing that process currently," he said.

Previously, the Aquino administration sent its representative to China to re-negotiate the deal with intent to extend the railway line to Ortigas or Makati business district, but China refuses to talk.

The railway component is vital to the plan to make Clark a viable gateway airport similar to those installed in Malaysia, and Japan.

The President however stressed that the connecting train to Manila is still a goal but they will be delayed for a long time because of the legal process they will undertake to void the questionable and anomalous contract entered by the Arroyo Administration.

Development of Clark International Airport as Low Cost Carrier gateway remains on track  as it is about to open the newly expanded passenger terminal building.