El Al Israel To Fly Manila Soon

29 September 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has signed code sharing agreement with El Al Israel Airlines towards the latter's eventual flight to the country expected to commence with thrice weekly services between Manila and Tel Aviv starting next year using Boeing 777-200ER planes.

PAL signs MOU with EL AL Israel Airlines | dfa.gov.ph | mb.com.ph
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista and David Maimon on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The MOU would first be applied between El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Manila via Philippine Airlines and vice versa.

Mr. Bautista said that with a growing travel market, PAL is happy to be part of a cooperation agreement with EL AL.

“The tourism programs that are being developed by the Philippines and Israel will certainly contribute to more traffic between the two countries”, Bautista added.

“The MOU is a way to look forward to the long-term plans of extending deeper cooperation between PAL and EL AL and to explore what the two flag carriers can do together to bring more tourists from the Philippines to Israel and vice versa,” Maimon said.

The partnership agreement is expected to boost tourism in both countries as Israel is the third largest tourism market of the Philippines in the Middle East. There is also no connecting traffic in the gulf region to the Philippines other than through Turkey which the airline intends to remedy.

Ambassador Neal Imperial, who witnessed the signing, hailed the MOU as an important step in bringing Filipinos and Israelis closer through better air links. He said the cooperation between the two premier flag carriers will sustain the boom in tourism between the two countries after the signing of a new air services agreement in 2014.

The Philippines and Israel expanded bilateral air talks in 2014 resulting in 21 weekly flights to any point between the two countries, a government official has said.

According to CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla, the new air agreement replaced the previous air service deal sealed in 1951.

Philippine Airlines applied to operate 14 weekly flights from Manila to Tel Aviv in 2014. The airline last flew to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s via Thailand and India, Arcilla said.

In 2015, tourist arrivals from Israel grew by 34 % and approximately 36% in the first half of 2016 equivalent to 9,294 Israelis. There are however 553,002  Filipinos that went to Israel in December 2015 alone.

Latest statistics indicate that Filipino arrivals in Israel increased to 459,138 in June 2016 from 445,449 in May of 2016. Tourist Arrivals coming from the Philippines averaged 227,144.57 from 1991 until 2016.

The Next US Destination

29 September 2016

Southeast Asia-US top 20 city pairs 
Based on % of total Southeast Asia-US bookings: 
Year ending 30-Jun-2016

As compiled by CAPA.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals

29 September 2016

Midyear Statistical Report
January-June 2016
A look from where airline passengers are coming from and where airline goes next 

CEB Introduces High Capacity ATR

24 September 2016

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific took delivery Thursday its first high density ATR72-600 of the 16 frames the airline ordered at the Paris Airshow in 2015.

According to ATR, the new turboprop aircraft can seat 10 more passengers from the existing -500 that accommodate 68 seats.

Cebu Pacific will gradually replace its current fleet of eight 72-500 (72 seats configuration) by sixteen new 72-600 78 seats until 2020. 

Delivery contract includes ten options for additional aircraft, and all will be operated by Cebgo, its wholly owned subsidiary (ex Seair and Tiger Philippines) for domestic operations.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified in December 2015 the 78 seats configuration of the ATR 72 based on existing cabin platform.

ATR has added a row of four seats in optimizing space between rows and replacing the standard galley by a collapsible galley at the rear of the unit

NAIA Tender Does Not Mean Delay of New Airport

16 September 2016

The Philippine government through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the US$1.6 billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport Modernization Project to be funded through Public-Private Partnership (PPP Project) Thursday.

The PPP project is the DOTr’s medium-term solution to decongest the country's main international gateway which is estimated to be achievable in 3 years time while waiting for the $10b Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from Japan to build a new offshore airport in Cavite.

The contract is valued at P74.6 billion and shall cover airside and landside developments ranging from Terminal 2 and 3 expansions, construction of new taxiways, aprons, and passenger interconnecting walkway between the four terminals .

The airport terminal upgrade aims to improve passenger convenience, safety and security, while maximizing runway capacity through “refreshed” airside developments with help from modern technology.

The build, operate, management and maintenance contract has a concession period of 15-20 years, including infrastructure designs and construction period.

DOTr said the concession period would be enough time until the new mega airport finish construction on similar time frame. Meanwhile, excess traffic will be channeled to Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport to address domestic and international traffic overflow.

The DOTr expects to begin PPP procurement immediately following approval, and to award and sign a concession agreement by September 2017.

The airport is expected to serve 60 million in the next 15 years. Currently, it handles 36 million passengers from a terminal designed capacity of only 31.5 million.

Common Sense

Discipline Key For Air Traffic Relief

15 September 2016

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) management has finally broke grounds in bringing relief to air traffic congestion after it ban general aviation traffic from using NAIA from 12 noon to 7:00pm, an act the previous administration deemed incapable of implementing.

MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal disclosed that they made adjustments and evaluations and implemented the study that were long pending in their office unenforced for unknown reason.

The study centered on general aviation which was long considered by the CAAP as causing traffic bottleneck at the airport.

Monreal said a compromise was had with the previous administration allowing them 2 movements per hour, but this has now been revoked for time between 12:01pm and 7:00pm.

Slot allocations
Another unresolved problem found and solved was "unslotted" aircraft using the runway.

"Meaning, they were not in the listed slot for the day, and even if they were, they were not taking off and landing at their designated time", says Monreal.

"We restricted that" adds Monreal, saying further that airlines failure to follow their allocated slot, and "airlines without slot allocation or an approve one will not be permitted to take off or land. They will not also be provided with check-in counters at the airports terminal."

MIAA said the order issued in July 2016 was supposed to be effective in August but due to airlines request a compromise was made having it effective on September 1.

On this account, PAL announced cancellations of 29 local flights operating out of Manila  effective Sept. 1, 2016 for non slot. Those cancelled flights covered routes from Manila to Caticlan, Cebu, Calbayog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legaspi, Tablas, and Tuguegarao.

Results were immediately apparent as airlines dramatically improved its On-Time Performance at the airport to as high as 80 percent.

5 Minute Rule
Airlines were likewise directed to follow strictly flight schedules to the effect that if airline misses its schedule, it loses its place in the line. No one is allowed to crash the line.

Monreal said that airlines in the past call clearance for take-off even if their aircraft is not ready.

"We call it the five minute rule" says Montreal.

Monreal explained that should the airline be not ready for push back in five minutes it loses its place in the line and they will be penalize to cue at the back of the line.

Senator Franklin Drilon retorts if it was due to discipline to which Monreal answered in the affirmative.

Secretary Art Tugade would like to call it the "common sense" approach.

Low cost carrier Cebu Pacific was particularly cited for breaches of this regulation, according to tower sources, due to its short turnaround policy of its aircraft in the ground that their pilot already acquired bad habits of reporting "ready" for push back when in reality they are not.

CAAP Confirms Cypress Blocks Approach

One Cause For Aircraft Delays

15 September 2015

After years of silence, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) finally admitted Wednesday that Cypress Towers owned by DMCI along C-5 in Taguig City is blocking the path of incoming aircraft to NAIA and that their Office has approved its construction during the Administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo even if they were restricted airspace.

Manuel Tamayo, Deputy Director general for Administration of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed during the Senate hearing that the original 300-feet minimum descent altitude (MDA) for landing aircraft was forced to be adjusted to 900 feet because of Cypress Towers obstruction on its flight path.

"This was done several years ago. They had to adjust the minimum descent height for the non-position approach specifically because of this tower," Tamayo said. He was however mum when asked who from CAA approved the building permit.

The 500 feet increase in altitude prevented aircraft from seeing the runway on visuals during bad weather causing multiple go arounds and traffic build up in the air which usually ended up in flight diversions to Clark.

Tamayo however allayed fears of unsafe approach in runway 24 as he explained NAIA's use of 3 modes of approaches for landing aircraft – visual, non-precision, and precision such as the use of the "more efficient" instrument landing system (ILS).

Tamayo said that while DMCI condo has affected the currently applied approach, this is already a non-issue as they already increased height limits.

But Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, a licensed pilot himself countered Tamayo saying that the ILS minimum decision altitude was likewise increase to 375 feet making approach more steep than what was considered generally a safe approach to runway defined by international standards.

CAAP admitted that its very difficult to land at runway 24 during bad weather because pilots uses non-precision approach to Manila forcing them to hover at least a thousand feet in the air because the ILS that was made by Thales was hit by lightning in August 2015. Air traffic could have been managed smoothly had the ILS been working as it lowers minimum ceiling to 375 feet enough for the pilot to see the runway.

MIAA has already ordered spare parts since last year but the supplier delayed its delivery twice and the government cannot do anything about it because of apparent incompatibility with other OEM suppliers.

DMCI was also the builder of a controversial tower in Manila that intruded the natural view of Rizal monument in Luneta. Cypress Towers was completed in 2009.

Airport Expenditures For 2017

14 September 2016

Major Airport Investments
  • 2.2B - Panglao International Airport
Other Airport Investments



₱15 million
Antique Lot Acquisition

₱20 million
Baler Lot Acquisition

₱674 million
Bicol International ILS and Navaids

₱125 million
Calbayog Data 4

₱100 million
Cauayan Data 5

₱340 million
Cotabato PTB

₱185 million
Dumaguete ILS and Navaids

₱48 million
Laoag International Data 7

₱175 million
Lumbia PAF Hangar, support structures

₱19 million
Maramag Lot Acquisition

₱25.5 million
Masbate Data 10

₱10.0 million
Manila Terminal 3 parking improvement

₱130 million
Puerto Princesa International PTB

₱707.2 million
Sangley Runway and Taxiway development

₱163.8 million
San Jose PTB and runway widening

₱184 million
Tacloban PTB

₱35 million
Virac Data 16
₱2.5 billion TOTAL
null null
₱200 million CNS ATM Phase III

Source: Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Revisiting The NAIA Masterplan

15 September 2016

By Architect Felino A. Palafox, Jr.
(First published in Manila Standard)

In the archive of our library, the 2004 Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) master plan waits to be reread, and hopefully be realized in physical form. NAIA was once known as the gateway of Asia Pacific and one of the best airports in Asia. But sadly, it failed to cope with new challenges like deterioration, appeasing new passenger needs, and adapting to the increasing use of the terminals and airport runways.

In 2004, it was projected that the Manila International Airport will become one of the busiest in the South East Asian Region. The Philippines was well ahead, most especially in terms of having a competitive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure. The Philippines had the chance to regain its recognition as the gateway and business hub of the Asia Pacific. With the lead of Palafox Associates, the Manila International Airport and the surrounding city was envisioned to become an Aerotropolis or airport-driven city. There will be seamless integration of the three terminals, and it will be able to accommodate expected air traffic and passenger arrival until 2025. There will be a strong industry in cargo distribution, and commercial development will properly integrate with the terminal without causing catastrophic land vehicular congestion in the periphery of the airport.

In 2004, Palafox Associates along with two other companies submitted the NAIA master plan. It was a reimagining of what the airport can become. Today, the country is feeling the consequence of a “do nothing” scenario, as the plan was not implemented.

After so much delays and controversies, I think that this administration has the opportunity to set things right. As we wait for the planned transit system that will connect Clark International Airport to Metro Manila, and the emergence of the Clark Aerotropolis, let me share some ideas that are feasible, implementable, and will hopefully alleviate the condition of the Manila International Airport.

Reimagining the airport for the 21st century
The airport is a gateway to a country; it is a front door. For any foreigner and returning Filipino expatriates the airport is where they will first set foot in the country. It is a welcome mat of our hospitality, character, culture and identity. Before you become an investor, you must first be a satisfied tourist.

In 2015, there were 36 million passengers. It also means that the airport had the opportunity to showcase the entire country to millions of visitors. Inside the terminals, long walkways and waiting areas are places that give us an opportunity to present the beautiful islands and destinations of our country, as well as an opportunity to show the world-class craftsmanship of our artists, among others. As passengers are walking, there could be high-tech, digital screens that show the beauty of our country. There can be also interactive public art, sponsored by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. The potential is limitless.

Airports should be appreciated through the light of holistic planning and holistic passenger experience and consumer journey, not only airport congestion. Same as traffic, congestion is a symptom of a confluence of issues, but ultimately is a symptom of poor design and management.

The consumer journey: Design and planning
In the 2004 NAIA Master Plan, all of the terminals are designed to have seamless integration, connectivity and access. Currently, it feels as if these are different entities. On the other hand, airport hotels and commercial districts are woven with the airport, but of course with strategic access points for airline passengers, as well as security checkpoints. Certain areas of the airport will be dedicated for airplane parking, and it will be expanded to accommodate the congestion of the runway. Nearby, at the former site of Nayong Pilipino, an ICT park is imagined to rise, to showcase and to aid the technological needs of the airport terminal.

If there is a way to connect the current commercial establishments outside the terminal to be integrated as an airport terminal lobby, well-wishers and passengers can spend their time there. The entire airport terminal can only be accessed by passengers, for safety reasons. The passengers will then be transported from the airport lobby via a connected electric tram or Bus Transit.

The convergence of people, passengers, and guests can be done in the commercial areas. And special transport hubs from the commercial areas/lobby will escort passengers towards the terminal. With this kind of set-up, the terminals will save a lot of space.

Inside the terminals, we can take inspiration from Japan. Beautifully designed, futuristic looking sleeping pods and reading nooks are available for passengers. Instead of the passengers rushing or waiting along the floor, these facilities are aesthetically designed to influence or to entice the passengers to use it. There should also be a lounge dedicated to PWDs and the elderly, and airport certified personnel will assist for boarding.

The current administration should not only address airport congestion, but also be mindful of the value that airport terminals bring to culture, business, and possibly entertainment. A pleasing journey will entice loyal customers.

Sangley Airport Opens in 2019

Start of Something Big

16 September 2016

Sangley airport in Cavite will be open to civilian traffic beginning 2019, top transport official disclosed Wednesday.

Transport Secretary Art Tugade said that budget for the Sangley airport improvement projects and Philippine Air Force (PAF) relocation has already been earmarked for next year paving the opening of the airport for civilian flights.

The airport is expected to cater general aviation and domestic turboprop flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that will be relocated to former Air Force complex beginning 2019. In the meantime, they will be relocated to Clark airport to minimize runway congestion.

Tugade said construction will begin next year which covers airside and landside developments to support the expected traffic flow. Runway upgrade, taxiway and apron provisions will form part of the first phase while hangarage, terminal building, and navigation facilities will comprise the second phase of development expected to commence construction in 2018.

Right of Way (ROW) acquisitions for road expansions leading to Cavite airport from Cavite Expressway is expected to be addressed in the emergency powers the Executive Department is preparing for Congress approval.

The airport facility is projected to be ready in three years time.

Meanwhile, phase 1 of Clark International Airport's new low cost terminal building that has projected terminal capacity of 8 million passengers per annum (ppa) when fully completed will begin construction this year with a budget of 2.1 billion pesos and should be ready in 2017. They are expected to cater overflow domestic and international passenger traffic out of NAIA.

Tugade said a railway component (Northrail) to support the development of Clark airport is already under construction through JICA assistance all the way to Malolos, Bulacan from Tutuban, and it only needs extension approval all the way to Clark for the project to be feasible. It should be completed in 2022 together with the new terminal project when approved.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier rejected the plan by Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) to build an 8 million passenger terminal designed by Aeroport de Paris (ADP) at contract price of 15 billion because it was “too ambitious” for eight million passengers who are expected to use the airport by year 2022. The board has instead decided to implement, on staggered basis, three phases for the anticipated 8 million passenger capacity, with the second phase available only when it should surpass the 5 million mark.

According to the master plan prepared by the French company, development of Clark airport will involve a P7.2-billion yearly investment to increase capacity to 80 million passengers annually by 2032. The plan assumes closure of Manila airport.

In 2016 however, the airport is expected to handle only less than a million passengers out of the existing 5 million ppa terminal capacity making it a white elephant project.

PAL Hits Clear Turbulence Again, Injures Six

There's a reason why you should wear seat belts when seated

16 September 2016

Six people were injured after a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Boeing 777 flight from Los Angeles experienced clear air turbulence (CAT) on a severe scale Tuesday while on approach at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

CAT cannot be detected on radar, and cannot be accurately forecast. It is commonly seen in Jetstreams and Inter tropical Convergent Zones (ITCZ).

Flight PR103 radioed the Manila Control Tower, requesting medical assistance for some injured passengers. The plane landed safely at NAIA’s runway 06 at about 6:40 a.m. and was immediately attended by NAIA medical personnels.

Injured passengers were Roel Orocay, 43, and Ellis Mungin Anika Kemba, 42, who suffered physical injuries; Marc Castro, 34, sustained head trauma; Joan Ratunil, 29, spinal injury; Raquel Cruz, 25, body pain; and Katrina Angeles, 26, right hand fracture.

Four flight crew also experienced body pains when they were thrown up the ceiling. According to a website, clear air turbulence is caused when a mass of air moving at a particular speed meets another mass of air in a different speed.

A similar Philippine Airlines Airbus A340-300 aircraft, registration RP-C3438 performing flight PR-101 from Honolulu,HI (USA) to Manila (Philippines) with 132 passengers on board encountered clear air turbulence resulting in minor injuries to 15 occupants while the plane was enroute over the Pacific Ocean to Manila.

In September last year, 40 passengers of Qatar Airways Flight QR932 were injured after the plane also experienced turbulence while approaching NAIA.

Saudia Flies Davao Next Year

15 September 2016

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has announced that it will start operating chartered flights from Davao City to Saudi Arabia starting next year with the use of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. 

It will be the first long haul destination from Davao and the first long haul airline to serve Mindanao. 

The Saudia flight scheduled in the last week of August and first week of September are intended for Hajj delegates to the Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

The airline is expected to mount four flights from Davao to Medina and Jeddah, respectively.

There are about 12,000 Hajj delegates out of the 20,000 government allocations from around the Philippines, majority of whom are coming from Mindanao.

Saudia operates daily flights from Manila to Riyadh, Dammam, and Jeddah, respectively using B777-300ER planes.

PAL 7th 777 Due October

15 September 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects delivery of its seventh and eight triple seven in the fourth quarter with the airframe delivered in October and another in December, PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said Wednesday.

After delivery flight from Seattle Everett airport, it will fly London on 30 October replacing Airbus A340-300 service to Manila which will now fly to Canada, United States and Australia.

The entire Boeing 777 fleet would also be used for daily long-haul rotations to Los Angeles (2x daily), San Francisco, London, (each 1x daily) and Vancouver (10x weekly) with extension flights to New York and Toronto beginning December 8 with the arrival of the eight B777.

The airline will also receive two more A321 jets in October and November for its low cost subsidiary PAL Express.

PAL earlier signed a deal with Airbus to acquire six 278 tonne A350-900 aircraft worth $1.8 billion at list price for delivery beginning October 2018, with six options for 280 tonne variant from 2020 as A340 replacement and expansion aircraft for long-haul operations. Two of these frames will be flown daily directly to New York beginning December of 2018.

Bautista said plans for the A350 expansion routes includes major cities in North America and Europe such as Seattle, Chicago, Paris, Frankfurt and Rome. The first A350 is scheduled for delivery in October 2018.

Vanilla Air Opens Cebu

14 September 2016

Japan Budget carrier Vanilla Air will start daily flights between Tokyo and Cebu beginning December 25 this year with the use of Airbus A320 aircraft.

The All Nippon Airways (ANA) low cost subsidiary will be the first Japanese Airline to serve Cebu, and the second low cost carrier to serve the Philippines after Jetstar Japan that flies to Manila from Osaka and Nagoya beginning April this year.

Reservation for this route will be available tomorrow Thursday.

flight schedules are as follows:
JW603 NRT1320 – 1735CEB
JW602 CEB1055 – 1625NRT

Vanilla Air flight JW603 will be operating as JW691 from February 19, 2017 with a new time schedule at NRT1445 – 1900CEB.

C-23 Coming To Coast Guard Fleet

6 September 2016

The Philippine Coast Guard is set to receive four (4) Shorts C-23 Sherpa transport plane from the United States as part of the US Excess Defense Articles program as the US Army retires the aircraft from their inventory.

The first two C-23 Sherpa transport aircraft is set to arrive in December and will be deployed for maritime surveillance and patrol missions complementing its existing Nomad Islander planes.

5J Defers further MEL, HNL Launch

Upgrades All Manila Flights

5 September 2016

Low cost airline Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) has delayed plans to launch Honolulu and Melbourne services to augment domestic and regional operations amidst mandatory upgrading of aircraft at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to address congestion problems.

CEB said that it will use the two additional A330-300s on ferry run to Cebu and Davao, enabling it to free more slots at the congested Manila hub. The airline currently operates two of its six A330's on domestic run.

The airline said they will also upgrade existing A319 and A320 services to A321 beginning 2017 and all ATR flights will operate out of Clark airport on peak hours.