Sneak Preview

Countdown To Reality

30 August 2015

At 6500nm the A350-900 proves to be the most efficient plane from Los Angeles to Manila

There is no official announcement just yet but Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expecting to order the Airbus A350-900 in couple of days following Cathay Pacific direction in fleet planning.


  • Frame commonality to existing Airbus wide body fleet of PAL that would consolidate pilot rating from the Airbus A330/A340 to the A350.
  • The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already approved common type rating for A330/A340 and A350 aircraft types last year.

Pilot Training
  • Simplified Pilot training for eight (8) days from operating A330-300 and A340-300 to A350-900 flights.
  • According to Airbus, the "differences training" of A330/A340 to A350 aircraft types does not necessitate the use of a ground-based full-flight-simulator, which allowed it a 65 percent reduction in pilot training time comprising eight days as compared to standard transition course.
  • Training course facilitates the creation of a pool of pilots who can fly both the A330/A340 and A350 XWB in a single-fleet flying (SFF) concept for increased scheduling flexibility and mobility.
  • The conversion course involves 4-day ground course + 4 days of systems training, afterwards A330/A340 pilots make their first take-off and first landing in the A350.

Fuel efficiency 
  • 2.4% better engine efficiency of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84
  • 1.5% LAX-MNL
  •  9% lower block fuel burn per seat
  • Unprecedented 370-Minute ETOPS Diversion Time
  • Facilitate more efficient transoceanic and transpolar routes like New York to Manila.
Passenger Comfort
  • 3-3-3 seat layout in Economy, generous-by-modern-standards 18" seat width and 32" legroom
  • 2-2-2 seat layout in Business, either 36 or 48 Business Class seats and 60" legroom
  • HD touchscreen monitor (17" in Biz, 10.6" in Econ) plus a touchscreen remote
  • 11 more passengers under similar configuration

PH Grants 7 More Flights To UAE

Emirates Required To Fly CEB or CRK

29 August 2015

UAE-based airlines did not get its wish but Emirates Airlines was granted another seven flights a week between Manila and Dubai, regulator said Friday.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said flights between the UAE and Manila will see a 25 percent increase soon after the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates concluded two-day talks in Manila agreeing to increase air traffic rights between the two countries from the current 28 weekly flights to 35 from each side.

“The parties agreed to increase the maximum number of flights per week for each country from the current 28 flights to 35,” Carmelo Arcilla, CAB Executive Director said.

The Catch
There is however a condition to fly the next seven entitlements out of Manila, that is for Emirates to fly separate flights to either Clark or Cebu within one year after the signing of the amended Air Services Agreement.

“The Philippine panel imposed a condition that the UAE carrier operating such additional flights to Manila is bound to also operate separately to Clark or Cebu within one year from signing of the Memorandum of Understanding,” says Arcilla.

CAB said Emirates will automatically lose the right to continue its third flight if it doesn't fly Cebu or Clark within one year.

A similar condition was attached to the ASA expansion with Qatar, requiring also Qatar Airways to fly either Clark or Cebu, which the Doha-based airline is already doing.

Arcilla said the condition to diversify the routes and extend it to the international airports in Clark or Cebu is in line with the Philippines’ "open skies" policy.

CAB said the purpose of the condition was to force UAE-based airlines to invest in developmental gateways outside Manila.
Fifth-freedom Rights
The expanded bilateral agreement also lifted earlier restriction to fly fifth freedom traffic rights to the UK, US and Saudi Arabia enabling Philippine-based carriers to carry passengers from Dubai to London.

“This means that our carriers can fly from Manila to the UAE and onward to any country including the UK, US and Saudia Arabia. This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE,” Arcilla said.

The lifting of restriction to Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom was earlier proposed by Philippine Airlines which intend to grow its Dubai hub by flying onward passengers to Saudi Arabia, and enter code share flights with Etihad Airlines from Abu Dhabi to London and Manila.

“The Philippine government panel and our airlines view the exchange as more or less fair, as the increase in traffic rights for both sides, which our airlines opposed, is minimal, and we also got unilateral concessions for the increase, in terms of subjecting the operation of the additional traffic rights by the UAE carriers, on the operation of services to Clark or Cebu,” Arcilla said.

UK, Saudi Arabia restriction lifted
With the lifting of the UK restrictions, Philippine carriers already has fifth freedom rights to fly all destinations in Europe and Saudi Arabia from the UAE.

Cebu Pacific is expected to get the new seven slots for a total of 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Italy, while Philippine Airlines (PAL) also has 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia and PAL Express 7 weekly flight entitlements, on the same route covered by Annex A.

"This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE," Arcilla said.

PAL President Jaime Bautista stated earlier that UAE-based carriers transported less than 30% of their total capacity to the UAE, with Philippine-based carriers ending to have transported more than their counterparts despite utilizing 21 frequencies from the other 28 frequencies of the gulf carriers.

Meanwhile, the negotiating panels also agreed on "co-terminalisation" propose by Emirates, which in aviation parlance means the right to serve two specified points on the same flight and route in the territory of a party to an air transport services agreement.

It literally means that Emirates Airlines can fly to Manila and then to Cebu from Dubai without getting passengers from Manila, and on its return flight pick up passengers in Cebu for Dubai and then picks up again passengers in Manila also for destination in Dubai.

PAL Gearing For A350-900

Why Airbus?

29 August 2015

A330/A340 to A350 In Eight Days
There is no official announcement just yet but Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expecting to order the Airbus A350-900 in couple of days following Cathay Pacific direction in fleet planning.

Commonality favored the European planemaker as it offered cost efficiency and savings to the airline from simplified pilot training that will run only for eight (8) days from A330-300 and A340-300 operations to A350-900 flights.

The airline will announce the decision favoring the European manufacturer soon after it considered the A350 a good compromise for efficiency and capacity, coupled with frame commonality to existing fleet that would consolidate pilot rating of the Airbus A330/A340 and the A350.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already approved common type rating for A330/A340 and A350 aircraft types last year.

According to Airbus, the "differences training" of A330/A340 to A350 aircraft types does not necessitate the use of a ground-based full-flight-simulator, which allowed it a 65 percent reduction in pilot training time comprising eight days as compared to standard transition course.

Airbus said the training course facilitates the creation of a pool of pilots who can fly both the A330/A340 and A350 XWB in a single-fleet flying (SFF) concept for increased scheduling flexibility and mobility.

The conversion course involves 4-day ground course plus 4 days of systems training, afterwards A330/A340 pilots make their first take-off and first landing in the A350.

PAL admits that Boeing 787-900 is a tough competitor having more range than the Airbus A350-900 but it is a smaller plane compared to the latter. Its flight operations department argued that the Airbus plane can carry more passengers and cargo, and has better economics than its Boeing counterpart to its proposed destination.

PAL, CEB Carries More Passenger to UAE

28 August 2015

UAE-based Airlines carried less than 30% traffic
to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Image courtesy RAPPLER, Photo by Chris Schnabel

Philippine Airlines said Thursday that Philippine-based carriers transported more passengers to the United Arab Emirates than Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airlines and Dubai-based Emirates Airlines combined, says an airline executive.

PAL Chief Operating Officer and President Jaime Bautista said they have all the data to prove that Etihad and Emirates Airlines carried only less than 30% of its passengers going to the UAE while the rest of its passengers goes to other destinations.

"The figures that we got is that Emirates carries less than 30% of passengers who stay in the UAE. So around 70% of its passengers are those that fly beyond Dubai. The other carriers (referring to Etihad) are carrying passengers in the same percentages,” Baustista said.

“Going by those figures, it shows that PAL and Cebu Pacific (CEB) are actually carrying more passengers between the two countries so that’s why we think there is an overcapacity in that market,” he added.

Bautista said both PAL and CEB has already furnished the Philippine government regulators of the data to support their position that there was no capacity shortfall for the route. He added that both PAL and CEB passengers are those who travel between the two countries, while UAE carriers carry passengers beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"PAL, alongside Cebu Pacific, are operating only 21 per week. So it's a demonstration that the market cannot sustain additional demand." says Bautista.

The Air Service Agreement allowed 28 flights per week between Manila and the UAE and unlimited landing rights to select regional airports in the Philippines.

"If the market demand were strong, then we would fight each other (referring to CEB) for the additional 7," Bautista said.

He explained that their passengers data actually proves their position that there was no capacity shortfall to begin with otherwise they would have flown the unused 7 frequency.

Bautista added that additional entitlements could result in the dilution of the passenger loads in PAL's flights to London, and other proposed European destinations because these airlines can carry passengers from Manila to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, and extend it to Europe and the US, which is clearly a demonstration of abuse of air traffic rights.

Both PAL and CEB flies to Dubai 13 times a week as compared to 14 times a week by Emirates Airlines, while PAL flies 6 times a week to Abu Dhabi as compared to 14 times a week by Etihad Airlines.

PAL New Fleet Announced

Orders New Fleet of Bombardier Turboprops

28 August 2015

Range, efficiency for new mid-sized wide body
Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) announced yesterday that it will be adding up to eight wide-bodied aircraft to its fleet with new orders to be sealed this year after securing approval from PAL Board.

The company did not elaborate on the new aircraft type to be ordered but said they were choosing between Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner or Airbus A350-900 aircraft as their new fleet sub-type to replace the Airbus A340 which will be delivered to them as early as 2017.

"The Dreamliner and XWB will be contributing to savings in fuel, savings in maintenance and will allow us to improve our product because we can fly non-stop to more destinations," says PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista after the PAL Holdings, Inc.’s annual stockholders’ meeting at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.

Mr. Bautista however gave a hint on what airplane is closer to their hearts without saying further.

“Range is very important especially for non-stop flights. We want to be sure that these airlines will fly the destination that we’d like to reach. Secondly, we need to know the efficiency in terms of fuel,” Bautista said.

“There are good proposals from Airbus and Boeing but we are not yet ready to announce which airplane we will choose,” Mr. Bautista said.

The mid sized long haul fleet will service Europe, Canada, and the United States.

“The new jets would help the airline cut fuel and maintenance costs, its key expense item, while boosting its non-stop flights to the US and Europe from Manila” says Mr. Bautista.

According to the airline new destinations would be added to their route network and capacity expanded to existing ones after orders start arriving as early as 2017.

PAL earlier secured operating lease deals from Intrepid Aviation for two Boeing 777-300ERs to bolster its long-haul operations to the United States with delivery expected before the end of next year. Bautista did not disclosed delivery schedules.

“It will be very efficient if we operate the same types of plane.” he adds.

PAL also secured a concession from Airbus in 2014 relating to the non-delivery of five remaining 242t variant A330-300s which it cancels from the manufacturer's order book for something better and deferral of some of its A321 orders to a later date than previously signed.

Next Generation Q400's
PAL said it will replace five of its nine turboprop planes, leases of which are expiring next year, with more efficient next generation Q400s in 2016 to prop up its domestic operations.

“We are considering the same aircraft,” Mr. Bautista said.

PAL said it expects to take delivery of the new Bombardier turboprops one year after the order was placed by the aircraft lessor in 2014.

The airline currently operates a fleet of 5 DHC8-400s which are 15 years old, let from a Scandinavian lessor Nordic Aviation. It also operates 4 DHC8-300's, 3 of which were bought by the airline brand new in 2007, while the fourth was also let from the lessor firm.

“We have nine turboprop airplanes right now,” Mr. Bautista adds.

PAL intends to secure more orders from Bombardier for the next generation plane, either Q300's or Q400's, which caters 50-78 passengers this year.

The smaller planes will address the demand for flights servicing the country’s regional airports.

“We have more than 70 airports in the Philippines and we serve only around 30 of them,” he said.

More fun while it blasted

27 August 2015

By Conrado R. Banal III

Those UAE airlines flying to Manila–but not to any of other international airports in country such as Clark or Cebu or Davao—must be having a lot more fun in the Philippines.

Those airlines simply demanded that the Philippine government should give them 26 additional flights per week right smack in the middle of the air traffic-infested Manila airport, which would really be a blast to them, because these would be on top of the 28 flights per week that they have already been enjoying for the longest time.

From what I gathered, the Philippine aviation authorities seemed to be ready to give in to the onerous demands of those airlines, namely, Emirates Airlines of Dubai and Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi.

But of course the two Filipino airlines flying to the Middle East, flag carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, frowned upon the demand on the Philippine government made by those two foreign airlines.

If the Aquino (Part II) administration would give in to the pressure from those airlines, Emirates and Etihad would each have more than 25 flights per week to Manila, and the locals PAL and Cebu Pac reasoned that it would only mean certain death for them.

But surely the question would have to be, well, did our leader Benigno Simeon, aka BS, even know all about this deal happening behind his back?

Only a few months ago, the United Arab Emirates pushed for the new round of air talks with the Philippines, giving as their most compelling reason that the existing air agreement between the two countries was already obsolete being… well, two years old.

In the existing air agreement crafted in 2012, those two airlines, Emirates and Etihad, already succeeded in doubling their flight entitlements to the Manila airport, thus giving them 14 flights each.

And now, two years later, they want more!

In comparison, PAL had 14 flights per week to the Emirates, while Cebu Pacific had seven flights per week.

Anyway, our dearly beloved Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. revealed that the government would “give in”—his exact words—to the demand by the UAE government for the new talks, implying that it would be good for Philippine tourism.

But as it turned out recently, the Philippine government would not only be giving in to the holding of talks but also would be giving away all the flight entitlements that those two UAE airlines demanded.

And what would the local airlines get? Well, it seemed that the side of the local airlines happened to be not part of the main agenda in the new air talks. Talk about “reciprocity”!

Question: Did we ever have a pressing, matter-of-life-and-death need for the additional 28 flights of those UAE airlines to Manila?

As I said, at 14 flights per week each, the two UAE airlines already enjoyed 28 flights per week, while PAL and Cebu Pacific, together, had all of 21 flights per week.

Just how big the UAE market was and would ever be, perhaps could be gleamed from the official statistics supplied by that country, showing that the total population of the UAE happened to be all of 1.4 million people.

That was not even anywhere close to the estimated number of OFWs at more than 10 million already and still counting.

Thus the locals feared, and rightly so, that those new entitlements, if given by the administration to the foreign airlines, would only bleed the local carriers.

For one, the locals used their own capital, while based on reports abroad, those UAE airlines wallowed in government subsidies to the tune of $42 billion, in the form of cheap loans, cheap airport services and even outright cash.

Other governments, such as the US, Canada and Europe, already made a lot of noise over the subsidies enjoyed by those airlines from their government, with some NGOs even calling the $42-billion subsidy as just the “tip of the iceberg.”

European countries like the Netherlands, France and Germany already blocked the UAE airlines from getting new flights to any of their areas, because subsidies would make it easy for the UAE airlines to steal customers from other airlines.

Notice that the subsidized Middle East airlines already became so dominant in the Europe-Asia Pacific routes that most European carriers abandoned direct flights on those routes a long time ago.

Like it or not, subsidies would never be good for competition. In the case of the Philippine carriers, the Middle East and European routes were the virtual monopolies of Emirates and Etihad. PAL and Cebu Pacific only started to go on those routes only two years ago. The result was immediate cutting down of rates.

That was the biggest reason that the local carriers had to oppose the Aquino (Part II) administration’s grant of flight entitlements to the UAE airlines, because it would be unfair subsidized competition.

The last time I checked, monopoly was not good for competition; it would thus be criminal to burden our OFWs this way.

Manila-Clark Still Wide Open To Emirates

Says Clark Airport CEO

27 August 2015

For Emigdio Tanjuatco III, President and Chief Executive Officer of the state-run Clark International Airport Authority, he cannot understand why Emirates Airline (UAE) insists on flying the already congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila when Clark International Airport which he manage is wide open for business.

Clark International Airport continues to struggle attracting passenger traffic after Emirates terminated its flight there.

Emirates Airlines had daily flights from the Clark airport to Dubai until it pulled out in 2013 and transferred operations to Manila when they entered code-sharing flight with Philippine Airlines. The agreement has since been abrogated and the extra flight barred by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

“The new talks is already detrimental to the country’s aviation industry. Yet we are open here in Clark and they have entitlements to fly here.” says Tanjuatco.

Tanjuatco said the new talks with the United Arab Emirates gives for naught the entitlement of other regional airports in the Philippines which allows the airline to operate without violating the existing bilateral, referring to the Air Services Agreement that is currently negotiated today in Manila, with the support of the Department of Tourism.

Emirates Airlines is permitted unlimited flights to Clark and Cebu from Dubai while it allowed only 14 flights a week to Manila.

“That was exactly the intent. To funnel excess traffic to us, but the expansion has the effect of reversing that rule. ” Tanjautco adds.

Tanjuatco said Emirates should just instead use the rights to fly other airports in the Philippines like Qatar Airlines and other Korea-based airlines did and develop the market, if they were genuinely interested about the economy and overseas Filipino market, instead of getting perception that they are trying to kill competition by flooding Dubai market.

Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flies Manila to Dubai and sees new entitlements as distortions to market capacity considering that PAL has yet to utilize all its entitlement to the United Arab Emirates.

According to PAL there are still more than 2,000 seats per week vacant to address that growth and service OFW flights. Emirates however has used all its entitlement to Manila.

Emirates said Wednesday in a statement that the added capacity would be helpful to Filipinos working and traveling overseas.

“The upcoming bilateral talks and the restoration of Emirates’ third daily flight are all in the best interest of the Philippine economy, tourism as well as that of millions of Filipino travelers,” said Barry Brown, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for commercial operations in the Far East & Australasia region.

“The intent is good but our economy and the OFW market is not centered on Manila market alone. Majority of the OFW travelers are coming from outside of Metro Manila.” adds Tanjuatco.

Emirates Airline is the first foreign airline in Clark airport to fly long haul to Dubai.

The UAE Science

25 August 2015

What fuels the United Arab Emirates Market?

Emirates Airlines said Thursday last week the revival of third daily flights between Manila and Dubai will  be beneficial to overseas Filipino workers and tourists.

“Since the removal of the third daily flight, Emirates’ two daily flights on the Dubai-Manila route have been operating at 100 percent capacity in economy class on most  of the flights – with no seats left for international tourists and overseas Filipino workers,” Emirates said in a statement.

Emirates Philippines Country Manager Abdalla Al Zamani said that there is a “significant gap between the supply and demand for seats” in the Manila-Dubai route.

“Taking this into consideration, we are confident that the  restoration of Emirates’ third daily flight to Manila will ensure widespread and sustained benefits to all stakeholders,” Zamnani said.

Emirates’ said its commitment to the Dubai-Manila route has been a catalyst for growth in the UAE-Philippine bilateral trade and tourism to the Philippines for the last 25 years.

The UAE airline has lobbied the Tourism Department and has been successful to asked President Aquino to authorize Philippine panel to meet their counterparts to start air-services talks with the aim of expanding the capacity and meet the demand to the objection of local carriers.

But does Emirates really cater to Dubai-Manila route alone?

Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) doesn't think so at it opposed new talks expected to be negotiated in August 27-28 in Manila after talks in January was postponed.

This time around though, both the government of the Philippines and the UAE have decided to proceed with air talk negotiations despite protest of the local carriers upon the support of the Tourism Department.

Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific has argued that the added capacity was not needed as the Philippines hasn't utilized all its entitlement to the UAE. Further, it is only the Dubai-based airline that wanted bilateral expansion. Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi has code share relationships with Philippine Airlines.

“We call on the Philippine panel to the Philippine-UAE air talks to refrain from giving Mid-East carriers undue advantage by granting more capacity and frequency beyond what the market requires,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said.

Cebu Pacific echoed Mr. Bautista's sentiment.

“Given the significant increase in capacity over the past year, Cebu Pacific believes that a new round of air talks with the UAE should not be held until all available Manila-use entitlements are fully utilized by Philippine carriers who are ready, willing and capable of operating routes to UAE,” says Atty. Paterno Mantaring Jr, Officer-in-Charge of Cebu Pacific corporate affairs.

Air Service Agreement (ASA) between the two countries authorized their respective carriers to fly 28 flights a week between Manila and Dubai/ Abu Dhabi and unlimited rights to regional airports.

While UAE-based carriers has flown all allotted slots, the Philippines flew only 21 of said entitlements with 7 slots belonging to PAL Express not utilized.

“We hope our own government will promote fair competition and support our airlines who have invested much in re-establishing air links to the Middle East and Europe,” says Bautista.

"Should the UAE airlines get the additional entitlements they seek during the coming Philippine-UAE air talks, this will undermine the investments PAL and other airlines have made for the country in opening new routes to serve Philippine tourism and overseas Filipino workers," Bautista adds.

PAL's routes to Europe, Middle East and the US are at risk once UAE secures increased frequencies to Manila he said.

Bautista cannot understand why Emirates insists on flying to Manila when it can launch Clark and Cebu instead in growing its Philippine operations as these airports has no restrictions. 

In 2014, Emirates Airlines cancelled its Dubai-Clark route in anticipation of receiving a third entitlements at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but the agreement with PAL was objected by Cebu Pacific prompting the Civil Aeronautical Board to cancel the deal but Emirates continued selling tickets beyond the summer season that in December 2014 it penalized the airline for selling tickets without prior authorization and it also cancelled the third flights which already exceeded their weekly maximum entitlement

Philippine Airlines was very vocal on the unfair practices employed by Emirates disguising tourism traffic from sixth and seven rights abuses for destinations to Europe.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has been very vocal about expanding the UAE entitlements for tourism and business reasons.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the pursuit of air talks is in line with the government’s objective of increasing tourist arrivals from the middle east.

But data from the DOT does not support such claims as most tourism traffic growth are coming from South Korea, United States, Japan, and China. If at all, more entitlements should be negotiated in this countries according to Bautista. 

While International commercial air traffic soared by 28 percent during the first quarter of the year, these are mostly attributed to entries of other airlines Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, as well as Chinese and Korean carriers. Foreign carriers, grew by an unprecedented 47 percent, to 2.8 million passengers from 1.91 million passengers in the first quarter of 2015.

PAF Readies C-130 For OFW Rescue In Korea

24 August 2015

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) announced that it has placed its three C-130 Hercules cargo planes and one C295 light cargo plane on standby
Monday after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for help in the immediate evacuation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) working in North and South Korea in case war breaks out between the two Korean nations.

PAF chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado ordered the commander of
222nd Tactical Airlift Squadron based in Mactan Air Base in Cebu to be ready to scramble the aircraft and air crews once the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) gives the green light for the evacuation of tens of thousands of OFWs working in South Korea and North Korea.

The PAF C-130 has a range of 2,049 nautical miles with troops and supply payload enough to carry 90 passengers,from either Pyongyang and Seoul to Manila, while the C295 can accommodate up to 71 passengers per flight. Flying time is expected to be long at 6-7 hours with a single sortie expected to be performed due to flying distance.

Local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific was also called by DFA to make available all their mono-class Airbus A330-300's that can carry more than 400 passengers for emergency evacuation purposes. Both airlines has regular flights to South Korea.

PAL, CEB To Fly Moscow

24 August 2015

Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Low Cost Carrier Cebu Pacifi c(CEB) has filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) permission to fly Russia following the signing of the recent Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two countries in July 23, 2015 terms of which remained confidential.

Philippine Airlines applied for Manila to Moscow flights, vice-versa, five times a week using Airbus A330-300, three times a week frequencies on the city pair between Manila and Khabarovsk, vice-versa also three times a week, and and four times a week frequencies on the city pair between Cebu and Khabarovsk using narrow bodied aircraft.

PAL has been promoting Russian tourist travel to the Philippines by operating charter flights in Manila-Vladivostok, vice-versa and Kalibo-Khabarovsk, vice-versa flights over the last two years and hopes to develop this market more by flying regular flights all year long.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific applied for Manila to Moscow flights, vice-versa, three times a week using Airbus A330-300, and Manila to Vladivostok, vice-versa also three times a week using narrow bodied aircraft.

New flights to these destinations would be effected beginning the winter season when approved.

Transaero B747-400 in Mactan Cebu International Airport
In a separate filing, Zest Airways Inc. (AirAsia Zest) also applied for Kalibo to Vladivostok, vice-versa four times a week.

Based on the records of Department of Tourism (DOT), arrivals from the Russian market grew 25.2 percent in 2013, logging 35,404 arrivals from the 28,270 recorded in 2012. In 2014, some 40,000 Russians visited the country, according to DOT data.

They are also the biggest spenders. Russians each spend $1,000 on average for every visit to the Philippines.

The Philippine government has already extended 21-day visa free travel policy for Russians to 30 days to lure more Russians to enjoy the beaches more in Cebu, Bohol, Boracay and Palawan.

“We are confident that the new arrangements will help us meet our targets for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said.

The CIS includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

Aeroflot and Transaero also has applied with Russian authorities for flights to Manila from Moscow.  Flight frequencies were not disclosed up to this time says CAB.

CAB said Russian airlines Transaero and S7 has been doing regular charter flights to Mactan-Cebu from Khabarovsk for the last two years.

DOTC Completes Legaspi Airport Terminal Renovation

24 August 2015

Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has recently completed the renovation of Legaspi International Airport Passenger Terminal Building in Legazpi, Albay at the cost of 40 million pesos, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said last week.

The airport terminal (PTB) which handles eight regular flights from Manila and Cebu are operated by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and CebGo (Tiger Air). The refurbished terminal also processed international chartered flights of PAL Express and Cebu Pacific coming mostly from Shanghai and other airports in China.

CAAP said the newly renovated Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) can accommodate 500 more passengers as it has bigger spaces and more seats than the old dilapidated terminal can provide at any time.

A separate International Arrival and Pre-departure Areas were added on the refurbished PTB with adequate spaces that now houses government agencies from Bureau of Immigration, Customs and Human/Plant Quarantine and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The airport is expected to cater passengers for the next five years before it relocates to Daraga, Albay where Bicol International Airport is currently under construction. 

PAL Unveils Domestic Lounge

19 August 2015

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has unveiled last week, August 12, its newly-renovated, 110-seat Domestic Mabuhay Lounge at the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2. 

The wifi connected lounge offers buffet with drinks to business travelers and its chairs are equipped with power supply “enabling passengers to charge their personal electronic devices”, the airline said.

The facility was blessed by Monsignor Modesto Teston in a ceremony attended by PAL chairman and CEO Lucio Tan, her wife Carmen Tan, PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista, and invited guests.

Meanwhile, PAL International Lounge opened in 2013 seats 80 persons in the dining area and features built-in buffet, a dessert station, a sandwich bar, a beverage station, and a bar, while the living area and library section accommodates 42 people.

PAL Re-Opens Kangaroo Route

Flight Begins October 2

19 August 2015

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is re-opening the Kangaroo route to London after being suspended for 18 long years, this time offering the best fare and layover time.

The route made famous by Qantas traditionally refers to air routes flown between Australia and the United Kingdom via the Eastern Hemisphere on multiple stop-overs. Nowadays, it is flown westward with one stop-overs.

The airline will now join other airlines as they connect the Kangaroo route, with prices beginning at US$1,100 from London via PR721 to Sydney arriving Manila at 20:05 p.m. with connecting flights PR211 departing 21:15 p.m. with layover time of one hour and ten minutes. The return flight PR214 will leave Sydney at 6:10 a.m arriving Manila at 11:25 a.m, with connecting flight PR720 departing London at 12:45 p.m., also with a short lay over time of 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Connections are available initially every Monday and Thursday. PAL said they intend to double the connections by next year as they are set to receive two new B777-300ER to join their long haul fleet.

Aside from Qantas, and British Airways, PAL was the first airline in Asia to fly the route in July 1952.

In 2015, 20 airlines operated a one-stop service between London and Australia, including: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Thai Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

17 August 2015
10 choppers (8 Bell 412EP's and 2 AW 109E's) officially joins Philippine Air Force (PAF) fleet. PAF

CEB Conquers SYD Seats

But QFA has Better Loads

12 August 2015

Low Cost Carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) has emerged the largest operating carrier on the Manila – Sydney route by seat capacity according to the latest report published by Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics (BITRE).

For the May 2015 figures alone, CEB has a seating capacity of 9,592 passengers, as against PAL with 8,464 which is also operating on the same route, according to BITRE. Qantas has 5,346 offered seats.

Meanwhile, Qantas bagged the most number of passengers per offered seats when they carried 4,160 passengers out of the 5,346 seats (77% load factor) while Cebu Pacific carried 5,664 passengers to Sydney and 5,354 to Manila out of the 9,592 seats (59% load factor) for the same month.

NAIA Adopts Full-Body Scanners

11 August 2015

Brand new full body scanners that can detect concealed objects on a person’s body have been installed at all terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport for enhanced passenger safety and security.

The new EQO portals employs millimeter wave scanners which makes use of an advanced millimeter-wave technology and low-frequency radiation, making the scanner safe even for pregnant women and those with body implants can detect small ceramics, liquids, metals, narcotics and explosives.

It is manufactured by Smiths Detection and installed by its local distributor Defense and Protection System Philippines Inc. (DPSPI).

During a demonstration tour yesterday, NAIA Terminal 3 Manager Engr. Octavio “Bing” Lina said the new security equipment was procured by Manila International Airport Authority November last year for a price tag of P149,554,720, makes use of low-frequency radiation, making the scanner safe even for pregnant women and those with body implants.

Installation and testing was completed this month. Lina explained that a passenger going through the body scanner will simply have to turn 360 degrees inside the open booth, after which scan results will be shown immediately on the operator’s screen, indicating the location of concealed items.

“Without having to be frisked, passengers will be requested to remove items in question. Privacy is also ensured as the system has a mode that will present only the outline of the body,” says Lina.

The said scanners are now in use at the final security screening checkpoints (FSCP) of each NAIA terminal. There are three units at Terminal 1, five units at Terminal 2, another five units at Terminal 3 and one unit at Terminal 4.

The 14 EQO model portals (full body scanners) will serve as an extra security enhancement augmenting the 26 walk through metal detectors also at the Final Security Check Points of NAIA terminals.

Philippines Approves MC99 Rules Application In The Country

By Marvin Sy

11 August 2015

The Senate has given its concurrence to two treaties on aviation, including one that would provide passengers with greater protection and fairer compensation whenever accidents occur during their flights.

With the concurrence given by the Senate yesterday, the 1999 Montreal Resolution for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (MC99) and the Protocol Relating to an Amendment to the Convention on International Civil Aviation would now take effect in the country.

MC99 establishes new rules on the liability of airline carriers in cases of accidental death or injury to passengers and the destruction, loss, damage or delay in the carriage of baggage or cargo.

Based on the report submitted by the Senate committee on foreign relations headed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, MC99 would provide a new liability system that is expected to minimize costly litigation.

The Convention allows a wider choice of jurisdictions for bringing claims by allowing a damage suit for accidental deaths or injuries to passengers to be brought to the country where the passenger involved resides and where the concerned carrier also operates.

Many of the Philippines’ key trading partners are reportedly already parties to the Convention and when the ASEAN integration finally takes effect, inter-regional flights are expected to increase.

“The Philippines’ ratification of this Convention will prove to be timely and beneficial, resulting in a fairer liability regime that will protect passengers traveling from and to the Philippines,” a committee report read.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been supportive of the universal ratification of MC99, which it says would modernize and unify “all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that have developed haphazardly since 1929.”

Russia Signs ASA with the Philippines

7 August 2015

Approves 21 Weekly Flights

Russia has finally signed the highly classified Air Service Agreement deal with the Philippines granting 21 flights a week between the two countries.

The air services talks were held in Moscow from July 22 to 23.

According to the agreement, Philippine carriers can conduct operations between any point in the country and three destinations in Russia, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok. 

Russia-based airlines has been offering chartered flights to the Philippines mostly coming from Central Russia, while Philippine Airlines flew to Vladivostok also on charters.

40,000 Russian tourists has visited the country last year according to the Department of Tourism and would welcome more their presence considering that they spend more than any other foreign tourists in the Philippines.

Earlier, PAL secured special permit from the Russian Federation for overflight rights in its famous "Siberian Airspace" that shortens travel time to and from other European countries pending ratification of the agreement. Russia postponed twice the signing of the agreement due to conflicts with some EU countries and Ukraine.

PAL currently flies to London. The special permit does not however cover any other European destination forcing the flag carrier to shelved earlier plans to fly other destinations in the EU such as Frankfurt, and Paris.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said the "over-flight" rights that would allow Philippine carriers to take what's known as the trans-Siberian route cut travel time to London and other European cities by at least two hours as compared to routes via India and the Middle East.

Executive Director Carmilo Arcilla of the CAB did not elaborate on the Overflight fees as the other component is confidential and airline-based agreement which is separate from navigational fees mandated by ICAO.
Russia is also not a signatory to the International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA).

The agreement, which is an amendment to the 2009 Philippine-Russia Air Services Agreement, was signed by Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, the Philippines’ Transportation and Communication Undersecretary and Sergey Seskutov, Deputy Director, State Policy in Russian Civil Aviation Department

NAIA Opens Runway 13-31 For Take Off and Landing

6 August 2015

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has opened its secondary 2,367-meter runway 13-31 for take-off and landing, the agency said Thursday.

The opening of the secondary runway for landing is expected to ease aircraft traffic congestion at the 3,737-meter 06/24 main runway, as single aisle jets like Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 type aircraft are now permitted by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to take off and land at the runway along with smaller aircraft, including business jet and light cargo aircraft.

Runway 13-31 used to be closed for landing, except for light planes and early morning arrivals.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said the new scheme will increase runway utilization rates at NAIA.

"With the reactivation of Runway 31, flight movements can now take place concurrently on both runways. Management is hopeful that this will further ease traffic congestion at NAIA," says Honrado.

CAAP cleared NAIA for jet landing at runway 13 after it removed some jet stands at Terminal 4 that protrude runway 13, installed new signage and information markers among other safety improvements like relocating all turboprop operations of airlines to Terminal 4.

Cebu Pacfic ATR flights will operate at Terminal 4 together with Q300/400 planes of Philippine Airlines. Currently, only small carriers with turboprop fleet operate at the airport.

With the new scheme, runway obstruction at runway 13 is reduced as to allow only turboprop aircraft which has lower height than A320 jet aircraft to park at the terminal.


6 August 2015

Flight Starts March 15, 2016

Philippine Airlines has announced today that it will start flying Cebu-Los Angeles by March 15, 2016 as part of the airline's US route expansion.

The route will be operated by Airbus A340-300 thrice a week every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Flight schedule is as follows:

PR122 CEB – LAX - Dep: 1825 - Arr: 1755
PR123 LAX – CEB - Dep: 2040 - Arr: 0440+2

The airline said that it will also be expanding Manila-Los Angeles and Manila-San Francisco next year as they receive a pair of brand new B777-300ER planes from Boeing ordered earlier this year.

This new route will be the airline's 38th weekly flight to the United States and its territories, and will be the 34th international flight originating from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Currently, PAL operates international flights to Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, and Tokyo's Narita airport.