EU Lifts PH Blacklist

Clears All PH-Based Airlines

26 June 2015

The European Union has lifted the ban on all airlines from the Philippines effective yesterday, and are therefore allowed to operate in the European airspace according to the european Commission.

"After 5 years of hard work we are finally able to clear the airlines certified in the Philippines from the European Air Safety List,"says Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport.

Accordording to the EU commissioner, the Philippines is an important country with a sizeable and rapidly growing aviation sector.

"Today's result can serve as an example for other countries which have difficulty to match their safety oversight capabilities with the growth of their industry." she adds.

The European Union has been working in close cooperation with the Philippines to raise safety standards and improve airline compliance with essential and internationally recognised safety levels.

The European Commission – in close consultation with ICAO – decided to ban all airlines in the Philippines from operating in European airspace in 2010 because they are found to be unsafe and/or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities. However, recent inspection conducted in April of this year showed that they are already effectively monitored by Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The positive review given by the five-man safety assessment team headed by Capt. Richard Miller, together with Per-Erik Oberg, Vincent Lambotte, Sebastian Zacharias and Mureil Belzunce all from the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) from their oversight review conducted on April 16 to 24 opened the door for all Philippine commercial airlines to operate in European skies again should they wished to fly Europe.

The oversight review has led to the suspension of AOC of Seair International ang Skyjet which has already been restored following compliance with Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR). -

More Like Gripen For The PAF

Gov't Sees Possible Lease Option as viable alternative

25 June 2015

Saab has disclosed last week that they are currently in talks with the Philippines for its Multi Role Fighter requirements slated for delivery in 2018.

Ulf Nilsson, Head of the Aeronautics division, said at the Paris Air Show that Saab is offering its JAS-39 Gripen C/D combat aircraft to the Philippines which it marketed as future proof jet fighter under its continuous upgrade programme to keep it at the forefront of military capabilities through to at least 2035.

The C/D aircraft which has an estimated price tag of US$61 million can be converted to the more advanced E/F models, according to a senior company representative.

"C/D frames is still, and will continue to be, a very capable aircraft which will be in continuous development. It really doesn't matter if the Philippines operates the C/D or with the new generation E/F, there will always be a way for us to grow its capability through incremental upgrades," he said.

London-based IHS Jane’s has compiled an independent report in March 2012 on a cost per flight hour of selected aircraft, which includes Lockheed Martin F-16, Boeing F-18 E / F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Saab Gripen, Dassault Rafale and EuroFighter Typhoon, and the report concluded that the Saab Gripen was the least expensive of the aircraft under study in terms of cost per flight hour.

The aircraft is also the only jet fighter capable of landing in Philippine controlled Rancudo airstrip in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Saab Gripen reported that a possible government-to-government negotiations between Sweden and the Philippines is under way after it has submitted proposals to the Philippine government which include training and lease options of Gripen fighters, hinting the Philippines interest on a similar deal offered to Hungary and the Czech Republic and to recent offers made to Malaysia. The terms of the offer however remains confidential up to this date.

A senior Defence official of the Philippines has confirmed yesterday that they are currently in talks with Sweden for the country's first Multi Role Fighters. Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin however refused to comment on the deal.

But sources inside Malacanang Palace disclosed that President Benigno Aquino has plans to visit Sweden before his term ends in 2016 and the date of his visit is set tentatively suggesting that finer details are currently being ironed out prior to formal announcement like the ones they entered with South Korea and Japan. President Aquino went to Korea and Japan to announced major defence related acquisitions.

Saab has sold 75 Gripen C and 25 Gripen D aircraft mostly to Sweden, many of which were re-manufactured from the 105 Gripen A and 13 Gripen B aircraft already in service. Another 17 C and 9 D aircraft were sold to South Africa, another 8 C and 4 D to Thailand, and has leased 12 C and 2 D to Hungary, 12 C and 2 D to the Czech Republic.

PH Secures P-3 Orion

Radar Coming Soon!

24 June 2015

Japan has approved last week the transfer of four Japanese P-3C "Orion" maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft to the Philippines according to senior defence official.

Department of National Defence (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that four Japanese P-3C "Orion" maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft are scheduled to be transferred to the Philippines within a year's time.

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force P3-C Orion surveillance plane is currently in Palawan for a joint military naval exercise with the Philippines and United States forces. The CARAT exercises began on Monday and are set to end on Friday and Saturday.

Gazmin however said that radar equipments for the aircraft that will be given to the Philippines, such as sensitive anti-submarine warfare and surveillance radar and other detection devices that are fitted in the plane will be temporarily removed as the US approval for the said transfer of military technology has not yet been secured.

According to Gazmin, the aircraft grant is separate from the radar grant and that only the airplane component was approved by Washington as the Philippine Air Force still doesn't have the necessary facilities to interpret data taken from the plane.

“Filipinos greatly impressed by the P-3C’s excellent ability to detect submarines” says Yomiuri Shimbun of Japan's MSDF

Cebu Pacific ATR Flies From Terminal 4

19 June 2015

Starting August 15

ATR operated flights of Cebu Pacific will be relocated to NAIA Terminal 4 beginning on August 15, 2015. Flight time remains the same.

Affected flights are those from Manila to Caticlan, Busuanga, Laoag and Naga.

Meanwhile, all Cebu Pacific flights to Kalibo are also relocated by the airline to Terminal 4 due to slot restrictions at Terminal 3.

Temporarily affected flights that will also move to Terminal 4 includes the following:
• 5J 557/556 Manila-Cebu-Manila on Wednesdays and Saturdays
• 5J 557 Manila-Cebu on August 24 only
• 5J 556 Cebu-Manila on September 10 only
• 5J 579 Manila-Cebu on October 3 only

PAL Orders B77W at Paris Air Show

19 June 2015

Le Bourget - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has secured orders for two Boeing 777-300ER planes valued at US$640 million at the Paris Air Show.

The plane orders will be financed lease from Intrepid Aviation. PAL currently operates six Boeing 777-300ER's all operated for transpacific flights. Two frames are leased from GECAS while one unit was recently sold by the airline to Intrepid Aviation.

The PAL order adds to the six 777-300ERs the flag carrier currently operates, including one leased by Intrepid Aviation. The additional aircraft will be delivered in the same 370-seat configuration but with upgraded seats and IFEs.

“Today we celebrate our growing partnership with Intrepid Aviation,” says Philippine Airlines President Jaime J. Bautista.

"These additional 777-300ERs will be used to expand flight services to the United States and Canada,” adds Bautista.

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Philippine Airlines and to provide them with such an outstanding airplane,” added Franklin Pray, Intrepid Aviation President and CEO.

Airline delivery of the Boeing plane is expected to be on the last quarter of 2016, while the second one is set for delivery on the first half of 2017.

PAL Secures TK Codeshares

18 June 2015

After exhaustive negotiations, PAL finally secured code share deals with Turkish Airlines beginning July 1 initially with thrice weekly flights between Istanbul and Manila, Cebu and Davao, and vice versa to increase to daily flight services by October 2015.

The deal was signed by PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista and Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer Dr. Temel Kotil during the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Miami, Florida.

Philippine Airlines will also be selling tickets soon from Antalya, Izmir, and Ankara to Manila, Cebu, and Davao while Turkish Airlines in turn will be selling on PAL’s domestic flights from Cebu and Davao to Turkey's other regional destination.

The expansion of the codeshare agreement will allow passengers to benefit from better connectivity and increased travel flexibility between the Philippines and Turkey and beyond the carriers’ respective networks.

Turkish Airlines is PAL's ninth international codeshare partner, along with Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airlines, All Nippon, Malaysia Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Air Macau and most recently Westjet.

Philippine Airlines is currently reviewing options to fly Frankfurt via Istanbul to which it has fifth freedom rights. Frankfurt is the busiest international destination from Istanbul jointly served by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Germany is also the second biggest source of European tourists in the country after the UK.

“We are extremely pleased to sign this codeshare agreement with Philippine Airlines and aim to improve our partnership to maximise the travel opportunities offered to our passengers through the networks of both airlines.  Additionally, we believe that this partnership with Philippines Airlines will bring enormous benefit to both airlines from a commercial perspective in rapidly growing relations between our countries.” Kotil said.

Turkish Airlines is the fourth largest carrier in the world by number of destinations as of 2014.

5J Orders New ATR

Upgrades Fleet to 18, with 10 Options

16 June 2015

Le Bourget, – Low cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air (PSE:CEB) has ordered 16 brand new ATR 72-600 from Airbus subsidiary Aerei da Trasporto Regionale(ATR), at the Paris Air Show.

The European Turboprop aircraft manufacturer said the order includes options to acquire an additional 10 ATR 72-600, valuing the total aircraft order at US$673 million, based on current list prices.

The airline said the new fleet will replace the existing fleet of eight ATR 72-500 which will be returned to aircraft lessors as the new aircraft enter service from August 2018.

The aircraft manufacturer said the new turboprop plane will feature the Armonia cabin consisting of 78 slim-line seats and wider overhead bins offering 30% more stowage space.

Cebu Pacific chief executive Lance Gokongwei said their expanded turboprop fleet is destined mostly to bridge thin routes in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

The ATR 72–600 prototype first flew on July 24, 2009 and has 100 airframes flying around the globe.

Turkey Secures Daily Flight To MNL

Turkish Airlines to fly Daily by October 15

11 June 2015

The Philippines signed an expanded Air Service Agreement (ASA) with Turkey, increasing the number of flights between the two countries capital to daily services, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the two countries signed the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on air services in Cebu Wednesday expanding the allowable number of flights per week between Manila and Istanbul to 7 a week from the current 3 flights a week.

Arcilla said the two parties agreed to allow 14 flights per week between Turkey and all other international airports in the Philippines such as Cebu and Clark, except NAIA in Manila. While cargo services remains at 3 times a week. At the same time, Philippine carriers would be granted seven fifth freedom rights to Frankfurt or Tel Aviv after being requested by Philippine Airlines.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will be boosting their Philippine operations to daily flights beginning October of 2015 after starting flights to Manila in March 30, 2015 using A340 aircraft.

Philjet Up Close

How Airbus is shaping the Country

8 June 2015

By Bing Parel 

He may have been “Paris made and Paris born,” but French-Cambodian Thierry Tea does more than the average Filipino when it comes to promoting the image of the Philippines as a strong aviation country and a great tourist destination.

The founder and managing director of PhilJets Group – an aviation solutions and services firm – Thierry started out with Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) when he was just in his twenties, handling helicopter sales in Hong Kong, Palau, Micronesia and the Asia Pacific region including the Philippines. In just a few years, he got appointed as president and CEO of Airbus Philippines then became head of the Airbus Group that also handled the sale of aircraft to the Philippines.

“I sold about 40 helicopters in a span of eight years, and the last deal I did was the sale of 27 Airbus aircraft to Philippine Airlines two years ago. Then I decided to leave the Group to put up my own business,” the 34-year-old Thierry shares.

Now on its third year, PhilJets is fast developing a reputation as a one-stop company for aerospace needs, providing higher-than-average service that is at par with international standards. “We try to provide the answer to the needs of the clients and we find ways to accommodate them,” the young entrepreneur laughs, joking that the clients are spared the headaches because he’s the one who gets them.

“We have different activities. One is to provide support to airlines like PAL, Cebu Pacific and others through sales of spare parts. We also do aircraft sales consulting as well as provide aircraft management and chartering services,” the multilingual Tea (he speaks French, English, Chinese and Khmer) says, adding that part of what PhilJets does is to import the aircraft for the customer, find the pilot and technicians to take care of maintenance and schedules. “You just need to call us when you want to fly, and when you are not using your aircraft, we can charter it out for you,” he explains.

Aside from customized aircraft management services to aircraft owners and operators, PhilJets (through its PhilJets Aero Charter Corp.) also provides charter services for corporate and VIP clients, medical emergency services, aerial surveys especially for companies that want to check on the progress of construction, say, of their resort development project. They also cater to the needs of high-end tourists and provide services for special events or occasions that need the services of a chopper for transport.

“A lot of people don’t know that some A350 parts are made in the Philippines"

“We try to advocate two things: tourism and aviation,” Thierry avers. Apparently, some people are still under the impression that the Philippines is an unsafe destination owing to the previous Category 2 rating (which has since been lifted) from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the ban imposed by the European Union against local airlines.

“We want to show them the Philippines is actually a great country in terms of tourism and is very safe because we have high standard capabilities. It’s all about putting the proper image across and reaching out to people outside the country,” he says, disclosing that PhilJets works with government agencies such as the Department of Tourism.

A member of the Philippines-France Business Council at the Makati Business Club and a foreign trade advisor for France, Thierry also helped in the efforts to lift the safety ban on Philippine carriers flying into the European Union. He was also involved in organizing the recent “visit” of the Airbus A350- XWB in the country with demo flights arranged for Philippine Airlines.

“A lot of people don’t know that some A350 parts (like the galley, flight controls) are made in the Philippines. So in 2018 when the aircraft will be in full production, almost $330 million of activity related to the plane will be done in the Philippines and we want people to know that so they can also be proud of this airplane,” he says.

The young hotshot makes his work sound easy but the challenges can be daunting. What gives him the edge though is his vast network of contacts developed during his years working with the Airbus Group (Eurocopter). “We need more volume so we are looking at other areas in the Philippines like Davao and Palawan. Logistics wise it is not that easy but we want our presence to be nationwide, not just in Manila.”

Aside from his network, what makes PhilJets a notch above the rest is the fact that the company puts a premium on its people. “We invest in our people because if they grow, the company also grows and so we continuously train pilots, technicians and our sales team so they can provide highest standards of service and understand clients. We have to be very rigorous because if we fail one time, clients will never fly with us again.”

In the pipeline are plans to put up a maintenance training center for engineers because, as Thierry says, safety is paramount. “Integrity is also non-negotiable, so is passion because we have to like our work in order to do it well. We have invested in the Philippines and we are looking at the long term. We are in for the long haul,” the young businessman concludes.

CAA Lifts SEAIR, SKYJET Suspensions

8 July 2015

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has lifted Suspension orders imposed on Seair International and Magnum Air (Skyjet) Inc. after both airlines complied with reportorial requirements amidst safety concerns addressed to them by European Union Aviation regulator.

CAAP in a statement said the May 15 suspension orders on the Air Operators Certificates (AOCs) of the two airlines were lifted after corrective measures were introduced by the airlines after they were assessed safety breaches by EASA inspection audit in April.

The airlines however would remain under intensive surveillance by CAAP until actual flight data monitoring reports are submitted to the agency.

Seair flies from Manila to Basco, Caticlan, and Tablas, while Skyjet mounts flights from Manila to Basco and Busuanga.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has been assessing the countries airlines following repeated failures to comply with international aviation standards in the past. To date only Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific got safety clearance to fly the European Union.

Japan Exports P-3C Orion

4 June 2015

The Philippines will be Japan's first military export beneficiary as it finalizes transfer of a pair of anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology to the country following the United States of America's (US) technology transfer approval.

Tokyo already has agreements on military equipment and technology transfers with the United States, Britain, Australia and France and a similar pact with Manila is needed to allow it to export to the Philippines.

A sale of the P-3C Orion, originally designed by Lockeed Martin Corporation of the United States and produced in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries from 1978 to 1997, would be Japan's first full-fledged military export since Tokyo lifted its restrictions on military exports last year.

Tokyo is currently in discussion for US-2 amphibious aircraft to India for maritime rescue purposes, and is competing against France and Germany to build Australia's next generation submarine fleet.

Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the surveillance aircraft will have the same radar equipment used by Japan Self Defense Force aside from it having newer frame than those currently in the US Navy inventory.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the Defence Cooperation Agreement this afternoon after signing contract with a Japanese shipbuilder in the morning to buy a fleet of ten 44 meters patrol vessels worth ¥19 billion ($150 million) funded by Japan’s foreign aid program.

Abe said Japan will provide further assistance to upgrade Philippine coast guard capabilities.