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.