A330-900NEOs Comes To MNL

18 June 2018

An Airbus A330-900neo aircraft in the colors of launch customer TAP Air Portugal has embarked on a worldwide tour to demonstrate its readiness for airline operations, Airbus announced Monday. The Airbus newest aircraft will arrive in Manila on the first week of July for proving flights of its longest-ranged A330. As a final step in the aircraft certification phase, function and reliability tests planned during the tour include ETOPS missions, landing at diversion airports, and testing airport handling services. The route-proving tests form part of the last trials required for type certification, expected by the end of the summer.

Airbus offers the Rolls Royce powered A330-900 with an increased maximum takeoff weight of 251 tonnes, up from existing 242 tonnes, enabling it to cross the pacific. The A330-800, at 251 tonnes, can fly up to 8,150 nm with full passenger load in a three-class configuration, while the A330-900 flies as far as 7,200 nm fully loaded, or another 650 nm compared to the respective standard A330neo variants. Airbus offers the higher mtow A330neo as an option capable of doing Vancouver, Seattle, or San Francisco to Manila all year round and expects EIS in 2020.

PAF Finally Receives NC212-400i

13 June 2018

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received finally two (2) NC-212i series 400 light tactical aircraft it ordered from Indonesia's PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in 2013,  after series of delays associated with its Autopilot System forcing PTDI to replace another product due to licensing issues with supplier. A new Genesys Aerosystems autopilot was installed paving the way for its delivery to the Philippines on June 8 after aircraft certification was secured by CASA Airbus Military, its Manufacturer.

The acquisition of NC212-400i will enhance the PAF’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) and security efforts as they will be used for passenger and troop transport, cargo and logistic delivery, anti-smuggling and immigration control, search and rescue, paratroop dropping, and medical evacuation.

These two NC212i turboprop-powered STOL light lift/transport aircraft will be assigned to the 223rd Airlift Squadron of the 220th Airlift Wing based in Mactan Airbase, Cebu.

Airbus Defence & Space (Airbus Military) entered a deal with PTDI in April 2013 to develop the type, an upgraded version of the C212 tactical transport. The two companies first announced plans for the NC212i in November 2012.

The NC212-400i aircraft offers new digital avionics and a new autopilot as compared to the -200 variant. The upgraded variant will have a capacity for up to 28 passengers, compared with 25 for the C212. The NC212i is powered by two Honeywell turboprops with 925 shp (690 kW) TPE331-12JR-701C engines.

PAL Grows To 100 Aircraft By 2019

12 June 2018

15 new aircraft in 2018
6 new aircraft by 2019

Philippine Airlines (PAL) disclosed that it will receive 15 aircraft in 2018, comprising six Airbus A321LRneos, four A350-900s, and five Bombardier Q400s.

The flag carrier says it will also take delivery of additional six aircraft, comprising two A321neos, two A350-900s, and two Q400s that will arrive in 2019.

PAL added that it will receive three A321neos every year from 2020 up to 2024, all with inflight entertainment (IFE) system and wifi internet technology from Airbus orders made in 2012.

The A350s will fly Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Toronto and London. It will replace all A340-300 services to the United States. Meanwhile,the A321neos are earmarked to fly Brisbane, and Sydney in Australia, with Manila-Delhi, Manila-Mumbai, and Manila-Sapporo services to start in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Flight services to Chicago and Seattle are scheduled to be restarted this year subject to US DOT approvals. They will be flown by B777-300ER aircraft. International flight services from Davao to Bangkok and Tokyo are being finalize.

PAL president Jaime J. Bautista said they will soon have 100 aircraft by next year, three years later than earlier projected.

The airline said additional aircraft orders are forthcoming for delivery starting 2020 up to 2024 but did not disclosed aircraft type. PAL has existing option for another six Airbus A350s which it has yet to exercise.

Chairman and Chief Executive Lucio Tan and PAL President and COO Jaime J. Bautista will be in Toulouse, France On July 13 for delivery ceremony of the A350-900s which has not happen before for delivery flights.

PAL did not leave comment when asked whether Dr. Tan was there to sign option contract with Airbus but said his presence is merely coincidence as he will be coming with his family from Catholic pilgrimage in Lourdes, France.

Skyjet Overshoot Busuanga

10 June 2018

A BAE-146-200 jet (RP-C5255) belonging to Skyjet Airlines overshoot runway 08 of Busuanga Airport at 4:30pm Friday when it skidded the runway after landing in bad weather. 

The accident caused Busuanga airport to closed affecting 14 other domestic flights since Friday and was re-opened to the public this morning after the BAE plane was finally remove from the mud in the overun area last night.

Flight M8 713 was piloted by Captain Owen Rosales and Vicente Dela Cruz and came from Manila with 80 passengers and 6 crews. 

The Pilot suffered minor injuries and was brought to the hospital for treatment while the rest of the passengers and crew were unhurt.

Initial investigations from the CAAP AIIB disclosed that it was raining hard when the aircraft landed causing the aircraft to aquaplane despite applied breaks preventing it from gaining traction to stopped at the 1200 meter runway.

The airline was earlier involved in separate runway overshot at Balesin airport in October 19, 2013, and Siargao in February 27, 2018, all in fair weather.  The third one involves bad weather, all with BAE 146 aircraft.

The aircraft grounding has caused the airline to cancel flights to Busuanga and Basco which uses the same plane to service the routes.

Dumaguete Airport Secures KOICA Funding

5 June 2018

The Government of the Philippines has secured funding for the construction of New Dumaguete Airport.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the US$100 million airport project would be financed by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The Korean government has increased its loan grant to the Philippines to $1 billion from the earlier commitment of $500 million made last year to support the infrastructure program Build, Build, Build of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The Loan grant which has a payment period of 40 years was signed yesterday in the presence of Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Seoul, South Korea.

Airline Re-Assignments Not Final

4 June 2018

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has denied reports circulating online and via traditional media on supposed new airline assignments at the NAIA saying that they are NOT YET FINAL.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal confirms that new assignments have been discussed with the airlines, but no concrete decision has been made yet, in view of the many options available for consideration.

Monreal said they remain as proposal until fully approved by the airport authority.

DOTr Inaugurates New Virac Terminal

4 June 2018

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) has inaugurated the newly rehabilitated Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of Virac Airport on June 1.

The P45 million two-storey Terminal rehabilitation and expansion project began in January 2016 by DSB Construction and Supply which won the bid and was targeted for completion in July 2016. However, the project was suspended in May 2016 due to variation orders by DOTr to include retrofitting of the original structure first build in 1963 costing 4.5 million more of the original contract of P39.4 million.

VIP Lounge

The project resumed in October 2016 only to be damaged by Typhoon Nena in December 2016 causing another variation order from DOTr to repair the damage. It was finally completed on May 14, 2018 with a revised price tag of 45 million.

The PTB project involved retrofitting the old design of the passenger terminal building into a modern and bigger structure that would withstand acts of God like typhoons and up to magnitude 7 earthquake.

Construction works involved rehabilitation and expansion of passenger terminal building that will increase handling capacity from 100 passengers to 300 passengers. The ground floor arrival area and second floor pre-departure areas have also been expanded and rehabilitated to accommodate additional traffic.

Virac Airport was build in 1944 by the US military and was turned over to the government of the Philippines in 1946 as a civilian airport, with its first commercial flight by Philippine Airlines DC-3 landing in 1947 until it ceased flight operations in 1998.

On October 27, 2013, it inaugurated the first jet service made by Cebu Pacific which launched the first Airbus A319 flight to Virac on its thrice weekly Manila-Virac-Manila route. It has since been upgraded to regular A320 aircraft. In December 2017 Philippine Airlines launched its Clark-Virac-Clark route thrice a week.

The airport which occupies a total land area of 18.55 hectares has 1.8km x30m runway and is classified as Principal Class 2 air facility that is operated by CAAP.

Cebu Terminal 2 Opens June 7

1 June 2018

Opens International Flight on July 1

Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is set to open to the public on June 7 and would start its commercial operations on July 1, as scheduled in their concession agreement.

The P17.5-billion Terminal 2 of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) spans 65,500 square meters and is expected to increase the airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million yearly.

The terminal will have an automatic tray return system (ATRS) which would make it easier for passengers to pass through X-ray machines which will automatically return empty trays for passengers to put their bags, ending the hassle to look for one.

Terminal 2 boast seven passenger boarding bridges which can be expanded to 12, 48 check-in counters, which can be expanded to 72, and is expected to increase the airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million yearly.

The new Terminal will cater to inbound and outbound international flights. It is equipped with 12 escalators and 15 elevators for seamless access, a car parking facility that can accommodate 550 cars, which can be expanded to 750 cars.

The GMR-Megawide operated Terminal was designed by Hong Kong-based Integrated Design Associates (IDA) together with local designers Budji Layug, Royal Pinda and Kenneth Cobonpue.

Jin Air flight LJ025 from Seoul is expected to be the first user of the airport.