A350 in MNL

Writing on the Wall

The first Airbus A350-900 has arrived in Manila 12 noon for Sales pitch to flag carrier Philippine Airlines.  Orders TBA.
  © Janee Villegas

PAL Flies Auckland

20 May 2015

Adds Cairns to its route network

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has announced that it will begin flights four times a week to New Zealand in December 1, 2015 via Cairns in Australia after the Philippines and Australia expanded its Air Services Agreement last month.

“Our new service allows PAL to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travellers to Cairns and Auckland by offering direct services from Manila ” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer, Jaime J. Bautista said.

The airline currently flies to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin.

“It will be our fifth destination in Australia” says Bautista.

PAL said Cairns stopover has fifth freedom traffic rights to Auckland. This sector will be serviced by Airbus A320s. Transit time in Cairns is one hour.

PR218/219 has the following schedules:
PR 218 MNL-CNS ETD 2345H ETA 0800H M-W-TH-SU
PR 219 CNS-MNL ETD 2330H ETA 0330H M-T-TH-F


The airline is also planning to grow its Darwin hub by flying back to Perth. 

A350 Lands In MNL Tomorrow

3 Years Late

19 May 2015

The Airbus A350 is finally arriving in Manila tomorrow morning for the first time after a three year delay (see our story here).

The A350-900 aircraft (F-WWCF, CN 002), is taking a 3rd Asian flight demonstration and promotions tour to Taiwan and the Philippines. It has since flown to Seoul (GMP), Tokyo (HND), Hanoi (HAN), Bangkok (BKK) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

The aircraft (MSN2) is one of Airbus’ fleet of five test A350-900 aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). These A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews.

The A350 XWB has 780 orders from 45 customers worldwide.

The aircraft has since went to home airports of airlines with orders of that type.

Skyjet Barred From Flying Philippine Airspace

Joins SEAIR International as unfit to fly!

19 May 2015

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has suspended the Air Operator Certificates (AOC) of both SEAIR International Inc. and leisure airline MAGNUM AIR (Skyjet) Inc. Monday May 18 due to some safety concerns which the European Union Assessment Team found after reviewing airline's compliance with safety regulations last month.

Recently, SEAIR was denied entry into South Korea for dubious safety compliance.

Seair mounts flights to and from Manila to Basco, Caticlan and Tablas using D328 aircraft, while Magnum Air (Skyjet) operates to and from Manila to Basco and Busuanga using a pair of BAE 146 jets.

Fokker 27 Fails At Legaspi Airport

13 May 2015

The newest Fokker F-17 (10669) of the Philippine Air Force crash landed in Legaspi Airport Monday morning causing diversions of all flights to the airport. None of the six passengers and crew were hurt.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the F-27 landed safely at the airport but its front landing gear (shown on the lower part of this photo) collapsed around 10:11 a.m. when it made contact to the runway. The aircraft came from Mactan Airbase in Cebu.

Brand New Airport, Where's the Flights?

Lal-lo's Ghost Haunts its Airport

5 May 2015

“They say that we’re crazy for inaugurating an airport without planes,” Carlos Fabra, a local politician, told reporters about Spain’s Castell√≥n Airport when it opened in 2011 without having signed a single commercial airline operator. “They don’t understand anything,” he said. “[T]his is an airport for people.”

In a similar fashion Juan Ponce Enrile lobbied for the opening of Lallo airport despite Tuguegarao airport merely two hours away.

Four years later, Fabra is in prison for tax fraud, and Enrile also suffers the same fate for pork barrel scam.

But there’s better news for Lallo airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has issued it a Limited Aerodrome Registration on October 9, 2014 with the most unfamiliar name: Cagayan North International Airport, when Lal-lo could end just fine.

Whatever the name, the airport operated by Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport created under the auspices of Senator Enrile under RA 7922 has six months to look for airlines to fly aircraft that will operate at the airport even with up to 29-seater capacity plane. The months has passed and no airline so far.

This time, CEZA become ambitious talking to big airlines in the country to fly Lal-lo even once for posterity sake. The last word from the airport authority is still waiting for concessionaire aircraft to use the airport as they are in the process of talking to Cebu Pacific (CEB), Philippine Airlines (PAL), and other airlines. The talks could be ad infinitum. Meanwhile, Boracay airport has plenty of airlines on cue waiting for the airport to say you're welcome.

CEZA spokesperson Charlotte Collado is upbeat about it. Well it happens to be her job.

“Instead of taking connecting flights, for example, going to Cebu or to any part of the South, they will only have to take a direct flight from here to there,” Collado said.

She is talking of course about Tuguegarao Airport where flights are bound only to Manila and vice versa, never to other parts of the country.

But for an airport without airlines is asking the moon when it could otherwise settle for a moon cake. In the meantime, we pay for the politicians folly of building a brand new ghost airport. At least they are not alone. A ghostly neighbor happens to be close down south. And it also has an international name appended to it.

Like its Spanish counterpart, it is also enjoying tourism boom. Airbus could be better mode of transport, unfortunately they settled for just only the bus to bring them in and out of the airport.

From Sea To Shining Sea

Making difference in flight, Air Juan Connects Philippine Islands in the strictest sense of the word flying passengers direct from Manila Yatch club waters to Coron and other secluded beaches in Palawan. They are seen in Boracay too! The specialized airline company operates a pair of this aircraft under the stewardship of John Goulet, Air Juan's Director for Seaplane Operations.

US Funds Surveilance Radar

3 May 2015

The United States of America has provided the Philippines $20 million for the installation of its National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) powered by Surveillance radar from Israel.

Massachusetts-based company Raytheon had been awarded a contract to design and construct a National Coast Watch Center by the Philippine government last July 2014.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg attended the inauguration of the NCWC last Tuesday, April 27.

“The center will provide critical information fusion and 24-hour operations to support enhanced awareness of the Philippines’ maritime domain. Future incremental improvements are planned to fully realize the potential of the center,” US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said.

The maritime and aerial data is connected to the US military servers in Honululu, Guam and Okinawa.

The construction of the National Coast Watch Center is Raytheon’s first border security-related contract in Southeast Asia. The radar installation will be completed before July 31, 2015.

The completion of the project would enable the Philippines to tremendously improved its surveillance operations for security threats by tying together more than a dozen radar stations and sensors, as well as on board ship radrs of the Coast Guard, and to provide a more comprehensive picture of ships and vessels operating in or near Philippine waters.

“Maritime domain awareness is crucial for the Philippines as it increases its abilities to thwart smuggling, illegal fishing, other criminal activities as well as improving defense capacity,” the US Embassy noted.