PAF Trainers Down

1 February 2015

Two people were killed after an SF260 (1034) trainer plane crashed Saturday morning into the sea off Nasugbu, Batangas. The trainer aircraft piloted by Capt John Bayao and 2nd LT.Al-Nazer Jana was conducting air exhibition exercise for the scheduled celebration of Nasugbu’s Liberation Day when their SF-260 plane crashed 150 meters from the shoreline of Barangay Bucana at 9:45 a.m.

United Schedules SFO Launch

31 January 2015

Chicago-based United Airlines disclosed on Friday that they will soon fly across the Pacific to San Francisco from Manila says United Airlines vice president for sales in Atlantic and Pacific Jake Cefolia.

Cefolia said United will be using the world's newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner for the route as the airline prepares to grow its market share to North America.

United Airlines has ordered 26 aircraft to bridge thinner routes in the Pacific and South America. It has already flown to Melbourne from Los Angeles, the longest Dreamliner route in the world to date. It intends to open the route this year.

The airline opened six new routes in the Asia Pacific region last year, adding Taipei-San Francisco, Haneda-San Francisco, and Chengdu-San Francisco. It also opened Incheon-Guam, Melbourne-Los Angeles, and Shanghai-Guam.

“There is a tremendous amount of demand, sometimes it seems insatiable demand in Manila. It is the highest volume market between Asia and the US. However, it is also an incredibly price sensitive market,” he said.

United's 787-900s will boast 252 seats, including 48 lie-flat business-class seats, 88 Economy Plus seats and 116 in standard economy.

The airline currently flies to Guam and Koror in Palau 13 times a week using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

United Airlines started flying to the Philippines in 1985 flying to San Francisco via Tokyo Narita. It bought PAN AM rights to fly to the country and continued its operation which started flying to Manila in 1942.

Died With Boots On

29 January 2015

In an unprecendented move, three C-130s of the Philippine Air Force landed one after the other at Villamor Air Base yesterday morning.

The air force planes carried 42 bodies of Police Elite Special Action Forces (SAF) who were killed in a bungled police operation involving high-profile terrorists Sunday in Maguindanao. The flag-draped metal caskets bearing the fallen members of the Special Action Force (SAF) were carried out by groups of waiting comrades.

PAF's Newest Bird

C-295M Flies

27 January 2015

PAF C-195M flight testing. See our complete reports here

PAL Confirms Order Deferral

22 January 2015

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has confirmed that it is delaying delivery of 38 brand new Airbus A321s as part of its business strategy in order to manage cost.

PAL President Jaime Bautista said in a press briefing this moring that Airbus SAS have agreed to defer by four years – to 2024 from the original date of 2020 -- the delivery of its remaining aircraft order without penalty and interest.

“We are working with Airbus on the deferment of the orders. This year, we should take delivery of 10, but we are working on a delivery of only 5” Bautista said after arriving from London.

PAL will receive five Airbus 321, aircraft two of which will be delivered in March, two in April and one in June.

The other 5 A321 scheduled for delivery in 2015 is deferred until 2016.

The remaining newer variant A321NEO aircraft will be delivered starting 2017 until 2024.

“All our remaining orders are A321s which we can use for domestic and regional” Bautista added. PAL also has “no plans of adding more Europe routes,” Mr. Bautista said, pointing out that “competition is stiff there.”

Bautista is also mum on new long haul orders.

Finally, 5J Says Sorry, Pays Fine

Our service was found wanting

21 January 2015

Cebu Pacific Chief Executive Officer Lance Gokongwei apologized at Congress Wednesday for the flight delays and cancellations during the Yuletide travel rush.

Appearing at the hearing of the House of Representatives’ transportation committee, Gokongwei admitted that the chaos was caused by the lack of aircraft and personnel to men Cebu Pacific’s check-in counters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) imposed a P52-million fine against the airline for operational lapses and a disproportionate number of delayed and canceled flights over the Christmas holidays.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, said Cebu Pacific was not the only airline penalized for violations of the CAB law last year. Arcilla noted that PAL Express was also fined P8 million while Emirates was fined P1.8 million last year for selling tickets without CAB approval.

Arcilla however admits that this is the biggest penalty handed by the regulator to the airline.

"We are waiting the final legal advice as to whatever basis of amount discussed, because of the serious precedence it may set for other issues in the previous past, as it affects the entire industry...

"But certainly we do agree there should be a penalty in place," Gokongwei said.

In Safe Hands

21 January 2015

By Florante S. Solmerin 

The country’s top security officials considered the Papal visit a security “nightmare” but for the skipper of “Shepherd One” flying the Vicar of Christ in the middle of a storm it was more challenging.

And who is the fellow who asked Pope Francis to cut short his visit with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City and Palo town in Leyte?

Captain Roland Narciso, chief pilot of PAL A320 PR 8010, smiles after
safely bringing Pope Francis back to Manila amid a storm in Eastern
Visayas. Armed Forces of the Philippines
Captain Roland Narciso, 41, a devout Catholic, is also “mistahs” or classmates at the Philippine Military Acaddemy (PMA) “Marilag” Class 1995 and endearingly  Insong, to those close to him.

As a veteran pilot, he had gained valuable experiences of flying during diffuclt situations.

“The weather was still within the limits of the Airbus A320. This was our conclusion after thoroughly considering the cloud ceiling, wind condition, and visibility,” Narciso said.

Weather updates said tropical storm “Amang” was approaching Leyte, the same place that was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda about 14 months ago.

The organizers of the Papal visit and even the pontiff himself have decided to make a go for the meeting with the people and a mass.

Narciso felt honored and privileged upon learning that his plane, the PR 8010, was chosen for the Papal flight to Tacloban City. After his 14-year career as a commercial pilot, he was now a Chief Pilot.

Narciso said that his cadet training in the Philippine Military Academy and in the PAF Flying School mattered most during that flight.

“I learned in PMA how to remain cool under pressure. I carried this trait when I began flying military aircrafts upon joining the Philippine Air Force and later, the Philippine Airlines,” he said.

Narciso also consulted his fellow pilots including PMA upperclassman, Capt. George Alvarez, about a proposal to leave at 1 p.m., four hours earlier than the scheduled departure.

“We knew it was a painful decision but we do not want to endanger our passengers, especially the Pope,” he said.

When the plane safely landed at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport 8:30 a.m., everyone on board was applauding, including the tens of thousands of rain-soaked pilgrims who waited for the beloved leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

He was elated that the organizers and the Pope agreed to cut short his trip and granted their proposal to depart by 1 p.m.

Shepherd One made a smooth touch down in Manila at around 2:30 p.m., to the delight of the well-wishers who waited for him at Villamor Air Base.

“I sighed in relief upon landing safely, seeing the crowds of people which awaited Pope Francis. I got another shock of my life seeing the Pope entering the cockpit to congratulate us,” Narciso said.

Captain Antonio Salgado, 42, Class Baron of PMA 1995 along with Lt. Col Marlowe Patria, another classmate, who is deputy of the AFP Public Affairs Office joined in saluting Insong.