PR1 Escort

19 February 2016

“Everyone was swelling with pride”
Proud moments of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) once again doing its role as fighter FA-50 escorts the Presidential plane PR 1 (RP-C3438) as it should be on Philippine Airspace. Image courtesy PAF

From the window of his plane, President Benigno Aquino III watched the country’s newest Philippine Air Force PAF) FA-50 fighter fly beside Philippine Airlines (PR) 001 as it made its approach before landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

It was a sight that no one thought would see again, more than 10 years after the PAF decommissioned the last of its F-5 fighter jets, that cheers and applause broke inside the presidential plane.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said that the FA-50 fighter jets escorted PR 001 carrying President Aquino and his official delegation “from the air space above Polillo island as the PAL Airbus 343 plane made its approach before landing at the NAIA.”

“The fighter jets took off from Clark Field Air Base. They made contact with the presidential flight at 6:37 am which eventually landed at 7:05 am,” said Coloma, who was with the President’s delegation.

One Last Hurrah! For The President That Made It Possible

Rolls-Royce Powers PAL A350-900 Fleet

18 February 2016

Singapore - Philippine Airlines has signed a $600-million order with Rolls-Royce for Trent XWB engines to power the six A350-900s.

"PAL is proud to be at the forefront of technology with the Trent XWB engine to power the latest addition to our fleet. We already operate the Trent 700 engine and look forward to further developing our good relationship with Rolls-Royce,” says Jaime Bautista, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer.

The engine maker confirmed that the product selected by Philippine Airlines to be powered by 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB-84 (TXWB-84) engines with TotalCare long term services support includes the newest 278 tonnes variant of the A350-900 according to its Civil Aerospace Division President Eric Schultz.

Philippine Airlines will use the ultra long haul aircraft powered by Trent XWB-84 engines to offer new non-stop flights from Manila to New York with 300 passengers according to the airline.

“The A350s range capability has been an important factor in our decision, enabling us to offer non-stop service on all our premium long-haul routes,” Mr. Bautista said.

The Trent XWB has already delivered the best-ever entry into service for a large engine since the A350 XWB entered commercial service in January 2015.” says Shultz.

Shultz said the Trent XWB-84 has made almost 10,000 commercial flights since going into service with Qatar Airways in January 2015.

Mactan Grows 4 International Points in March

18 February 2016

Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA will add four (4) more international destinations in March. Philippine Airlines will start the first long haul flight of the airport from Cebu to Los Angeles and Los Angeles-Cebu flights on March 15 thrice weekly, using an Airbus 340-300, while EVA Air commences daily A321 service between Taipei-Cebu and Cebu-Taipei beginning March 27. Meanwhile, Xiamen Air will start flight services beginning March 28 thrice a week with a Boeing 737-800 between Cebu-Xiamen and Xiamen-Cebu, while Emirates airlines will add Cebu to its network beginning March 30 with flights to Dubai via Clark.

PAL Orders A350

17 February 2016

Up to 12 A350's coming!
Told you so.... 
Lucio Tan, left, chairman of Philippines Airlines, signed a purchase agreement with Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and chief executive, on Feb. 17 at the Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest.                                                                    .© Reuters

Singapore - Philippine Airlines (PAL) has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with Airbus Industrie to acquire six A350-900 aircraft at the Singapore Air Show, with options for another six aircraft, in a deal valued at $1.8 billion at list price. (see our scoop here)

The Airbus A350-900 has a list price of $308.1 million based on 2016 data released by the aircraft manufacturer last month.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said the first A350 is scheduled to be delivered to the airline by December of 2018, while two others will follow in January and March of 2019, respectively. It is tentatively set to fly London on its inaugural.

The ordered aircraft will enable the carrier to operate non-stop flight services on the 8,000 nautical mile New York – Manila route all year round with a full passenger load according to Airbus.

The airline is the second Airbus operator of the latest A350-900ULR jetliner, which will have a range of up to 8,700 nautical miles for a flight time of up to 19 hours, announced by the manufacturer in October last year.

“The A350’s range capability has been an important factor in our decision, enabling us to offer non-stop service on all our premium long haul routes.” according to Mr. Bautista.

“I believed the Airbus aircraft will help it operate long-haul services efficiently, and is a jet that is “viable” for the airline “technically and commercially”, says Mr. Bautista on the Airbus choice.

“After a thorough commercial and technical evaluation, the A350 came out on top in meeting our demanding requirements,” adds Bautista.

The A350 jets will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines for long haul operations in Europe and North America and shall have 300 seats in a three-class configuration, namely business, premium economy, and economy class sections.

The A350-900ULR incorporates a number of necessary changes over the standard 268 tonnes A350-900 and the 275 tonnes A350-900LR. These include a higher capacity fuel system within the existing fuel tanks, increasing fuel carrying capacity from 141,000 litres to 165,000 litres.

The A350-900ULR has an MTOW of 280 tonnes and incorporates a higher capacity fuel system within the existing fuel tanks than existing variant of the A350-900, increasing fuel carrying capacity from 141,000 litres to 165,000 litres.

Delivery of the first A350-900ULR aircraft variant is scheduled to take place in March 2018.

PH Aero Industry Joins Singapore Air Show

15 February 2016

Singapore - Ten of the country’s aerospace industry companies are participating in the Singapore Airshow opening tomorrow to entice airlines to consider the Philippines as potential aerospace maintenance and parts manufacturing market.

It will be the first time for the Philippines to participate in the said biennial event says John T. Lee, president of the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines.

Lee said the Philippine group will be composed of parts manufacturers, aviation schools and MRO companies.

The parts manufacturers include Famous Secret Precision Machining Inc., which supplies parts for the automotive, motorcycle and aerospace industries. Applied Machining Corp. caters to the aerospace, medical and performance racing industry.

Other parts makers are Firstec Metallics Inc., Surface Technology International Phils. Inc., and Mottai-Nai Phils. Technology Corp.

MRO companies joining the group includes the Clark-based Philjets Aero Services Inc., Jainevill Inc., and state firm Philippine Aeronautics Development Corp.

Lee added  their delegation will also be selling some the country’s aviation schools, particularly WCC Aviation Co., together with some delegates from Aviation School Association of the Philippines and PATTS College of Aeronautics that will also be part of the Philippine mission.

ROKAF at Mactan

11 February 2016

The Republic of Korea Air Force's "Black Eagles" aerobatic team made technical stop on February 8 at Mactan Air Base en route to Singapore for demonstration flights of its T-50 trainer jets. A squadron of similar but more powerful variant was ordered by the Philippine Air Force. 
Image courtesy MCIA

MNL First A350 Destination For CX

Pax Scramble to Grab CX900/901 Seats

8 February 2016

Cathay Pacific has announced that its first destination for the its brand new A350 will be its daily flight to Manila CX901/900.commencing 1 May 2016 to be followed by Taipei on its return flight.

CX will then extend its reach of A350 services to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh from July 1, and Singapore from July 3 impressing Business class seat supplied by Zodiac.

The first raft of regional services is expected to help crew and ground teams become familiar with the A350 in a working environment before the next-generation jetliner is heads onto long-distance international flights.

The airline is expected to received the first A350 variant on the last week of April before commencing flights to Manila.

PH Signs ASEAN Open Skies

Opens Clark But Limits Manila Flights

8 February 2016

The Philippines has officially signed the ASEAN Open Skies Treaty (Single Aviation Market) paving the way for unlimited flights from Philippine Regional Airports to neighboring South East Asian countries.

Transportation Department (DOTC) said the multilateral agreement under Protocols 5 and 6 of the Asean Multilateral Agreement in Air Services (MAAS) will allow Philippine air carriers to fly unlimited frequencies to and beyond the capital cities of other Southeast Asian nations.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that except for flights to Manila which is still restricted due to congestion problems at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, all other regional airports such as Clark, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Kalibo and Puerto Princesa will be open for unlimited international flights.

MAAS which is part of the Asean’s Roadmap for Integration of Air Transportation Services, is envisioned to consolidate its air services sector into one Asean Single Aviation Market similar to those implemented by the European Union among its member States.

And Rome It Is!

7 February 2016

PR Heads FCO Amidst CDG Slot Difficulty

Philippine Airlines (PAL) plans to fly Rome in Italy beginning the second half of this year, after securing regulatory approvals from Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazone Civile (ENAC), Italy's aviation regulator. It is now processing its Slot Clearance Request (SCR) for Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) before operating at Aeroporti di Roma.

Jaime J. Bautista, President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Philippine Airlines, said in an interview by Travel News Asia that they will fly to another EU country this year after suspending expansion plans to Europe after London in 2014.

PAL has since successfully grown its London market after announcing London-Heathrow flights in 2013 by offering daily services beginning June 2016.

The airline intends to fly Fiumicino Airport four times a week starting IATA Winter 2016/17 timetable with Airbus A340-300 aircraft.

Italy hosts the largest population of Overseas Filipino migrants in the European Union accounting more than 170,000 people in 2015 according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics. While there were more than 16,000 Italians that visited the country in 2015, a third of the Filipino diaspora in Italy goes back home every year mostly by Gulf carriers.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) last flew to Italy in 1994 twice weekly.

Meanwhile, PAL's application for thrice a week A340 flight services to Paris is again hampered by airport slot application problems.

PAL will add to its fleet this year two more Boeing 777-300ERs destined for North American market while the five Airbus A321s delivered this year is bound for north east asian countries of Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.