The Road to Cat 1

A rosy picture

March 31, 2013

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has been invited by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas to a breakfast meeting Monday to discuss the country's aviation status and the recent lifting of Significant Safety Concerns (SSC's) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which may result in the lifting of Category 2 Status by the United States.

Deputy Director General John C. Andrews said the US upgrade may come this year. However, the call from the US Embassy meant the meeting was urgent. No further details is disclosed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been quoted earlier that they will conduct independent audit of the country's compliance to ICAO directives.

But the FAA is beset by funding woes due to budget cuts under sequestration effective March 1, which would mean that there might not be audit forthcoming to the Philippines and that the United States might just adopt the finding of the ICAO like their contemporaries in the European Union, or defer audit until next year and no rating upgrade in the meantime. Hard decisions of which will be known Monday.

With the sequestration in effect, there will be no staff to do audit reports and no funds to finance the audit. 

Under sequestration, the FAA is required to cut $637 million, or roughly 5 percent, from its $12.5 billion budget. It includes $500 million in consultant fees, $179 million in travel expenses for employees, and $143 million in operating costs for the FAA’s own fleet of 46 aircraft.

The forced spending cuts will also affect most of the FAA's 47,000 employees who have been told to expect one or two furlough days every two-week pay period. 

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday that FAA would be cutting $200 million spent on supplies and travel.

Panglao Airport Finally!

March 27, 2013

The Japanese government has provided the Philippines with P4.63-billion through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) ODA STEP Loan for the construction of Palao Airport in Bohol. The remaining P2.6 billion will be funded by the Government of the Philippines (GOP).

Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario signed the loan agreements on Monday. 

Panglao airport set for completion in 2017 will replace the much smaller Tagbilaran airport whose traffic has outgrown its size. The airport project is among the priority projects included in the 2011-2016 Public Investment Program (PIP) of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).

Under the proposed agreement, 81% or P5,765,238,000.00 should represent the loan proceeds from JICA and the remaining 19 % or P1,372,722,000.00 should be the counterpart of the Government of the Philippines (GOP), but what was signed was a loan grant of only for 4.6 billion.

The Department of Transportation and Communication has already allotted 72.59 million pesos for landside works of the new airport, including the cleaning of 216 hectares of land and the construction of a barbed-wire perimeter fence over 10 kilometers long.

Under the Forward Obligational Authority issued by the DBM, P867,112,000.00 is earmarked for 2013; P1,714,429,000.00 for 2014; P3,281,282,000.00 for 2015; P1,042,245,000.00 for 2016 and P59,892,000.00 for 2017.

The Official Development Assistance projects on infrastructure development form part of the economic pillar of the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership. Japan continues to be the country’s top source of official development loans.

Airbus Is About To Deliver The Jet It Created To Battle Boeing's Dreamliner

March 26, 2013
By Jack Harty

Airbus pioneered the wide-body twin engine airliner with the A300 over 40 years ago. Initially ignoring the threat, Boeing responded with the still in production 767.

Airbus upped the ante with the A330 and 340 which Boeing answered with the 777. For more than four decades, Airbus and Boeing have been competing in this ever escalating war of the order-books that has resulted in an unmatched rivalry in business and a worldwide duopoly in medium-sized and large airliners.

The battle reached fever pitch with the Toulouse/Hamburg A320 family versus the Seattle 737 family. Now, the battle jumps to the next level where the size, and possibly the stakes, are much higher. After the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to leapfrog its own 767 and Airbus’ competing A330, Airbus is at last just about ready to rollout its return salvo to Boeing with the Airbus A350 eXtra-Wide-body (XWB).

This is the ultimate “War of the Wide-bodies” — the A350 is an airplane that takes on the Seattle’s revolutionary but troubled 787, its wide-body cash cow 777, and the future 777-X.

Who will win the battle and who will win the war? Here’s the “tale of the tape” as of March, 2013: Airbus has over 617 firm orders from 35 customers for the 3 variants of the 350. To put that into perspective, Boeing has over 700 orders and deliveries for the 777-300 alone and nearly 1500 orders and deliveries for the entire 777 program. For the 787, Boeing has over 890 orders with around 50 aircraft already delivered. Clearly, the field is wide open.

When Boeing announced their plans to build the 787 Dreamliner in 2003, many believed the 787 posed a serious threat to the Airbus A330 program. However, Airbus rejected the claims stating that they were not concerned, but, in 2004, Airbus proposed the Airbus A330-200Lite which would have similar aerodynamics to the 787.

Shortly after the initial design, many expected the official announcement of the A330-200Lite to be made at the Farnborough International Airshow, but the announcement never came. Nonetheless, Airbus made an announcement after Farnborough, but their announcement was for the Airbus A350.

airbus A350 XWB assembly

The A350 design was derived from the A330 but with modified wings, new engines and a fuselage made mostly of Aluminum and Lithium alloys (Al-Li). During the 2005 Paris Air Show, Qatar Airways announced a memorandum of understanding to be the launch customer for the A350, but Emirates saw the design as not going far enough and decided not to place an order. However, the criticism of the A350 design did not stop with Emirates. 

Two of Airbus’ biggest customers, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), were not won over by this more evolutionary design. In early 2006, a few hundred top airline executives listened to ILFC’s President, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, openly condemn the A350, and, shortly after the remarks, then CEO of Singapore Airlines, Chew Choon Seng, reiterated the statements of ILFC’s president. Both ILFC and Singapore Airlines demanded a redesign before these significant customers would open their checkbooks.

Airbus took the criticism to heart, and they began a major review of the A350 design in mid-2006. As they began the review, the crew from Toulouse opted for a wider fuselage design to allow 10 seats across unlike the A330 and 787 which seat 9 across in economy maximum configuration. During the 2006 Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus announced their new design for the A350 XWB (Xtra-Wide-body), and, four days later, Singapore Airlines placed an order for 20 A350 XWB aircraft with options for 20 more.

While Singapore was a vocal opponent of the original A350, Seng, Singapore Airlines’ then CEO, was very pleased that Airbus A350 XWB design. Shortly thereafter in 2007, Emirates placed an order for 70 A350 XWBs. While the new design generated praise from customers, the change to the XWB caused the A350 program to be delayed by two years. Further, it was estimated that the A350 program would cost approximately $5.3 billion, but the change to the XWB program will cost Airbus approximately $10 billion. Yet, Airbus’ customers eagerly await the XWB.

While A350 XWB customers await the new aircraft, Boeing is likely close to seeking approval from its board to start taking orders for its direct response to the the A350: A next generation 777, currently referred to as the 777-X which would arrive no earlier then the end of this decade.

The A350 competes with the higher capacity 787-9 and 787-10 and initially the 777-200 followed by the 777-300, the world’s best selling twin engine widebody jet airliner. Clearly the stakes of the battle of Seattle vs Toulouse are every bit as high, or not higher then that which pitches the A320 program versus the Boeing 737 program.

PAL to Order 777X

Its Boeing Wide-bodies After All

March 25, 2013

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to buy 20 next-generation Boeing 777X  as part of its re-fleeting programme for flights to the United States and Europe.

"It depends on the price. We are looking at the new Boeing 777X. We may buy 10 and, if it performs well, we'll exercise an option for 10 more," PAL President Ramon Ang told reporters on Monday.

Boeing will ask its Board of Directors at its next meeting in April for Authority to Offer (ATO) the proposed 777X to airlines and PAL is cuing up this early to secure early delivery schedule of the next generation jet expected to enter service in 2019.

The extended twinjet series will include a 353-seat 777-8LX, sized to succeed today's 777-300ER, and the 406-seat 777-9X, which opens up new territory in the higher-capacity long-range market. The larger model is provisionally slated to debut first, with the -8LX following around 2021.

PAL is looking to secure early orders for the bigger variant 777-9X.

"That's larger, can carry 400 passengers with longer range," Ang said. 

 The aircraft will be powered by General Electric's GE9X engines. GE is expected to run the first version of a new core for the GE9X as early as 2014.

"The new 777, they call it X because it's lightweight, has bigger wings, newer engine," Ang explains.

The next generation 777 is an ultra-long haul aircraft for Boeing that many have deemed killed the future need for the 747-8I as it is able to hold about as many passengers as the latest 747-8 can with the efficient use on only two engines.

Ang said the new Boeing orders will make PAL at the forefront of competition as it completes orders for 100 new jets in the next seven years as it reshapes and grows its business. PAL is hoping to fly the next generation jet in 2020.

Emirates, Lufthansa,  Singapore Airlines and British Airways are lining up as possible launch customer for the Boeing 777-900s.

EU Ban to be Lifted by June

March 25, 2013

The European Commission Directorate General for Transport has invited the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority for a meeting in Brussels on April 16 to discuss the terms on the lifting of European Union ban on Philippine carriers to fly its airspace.

“We expect the lifting of the ban by June.”Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Deputy Director General John C. Andrews said.

Meanwhile, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has notified its counterpart that it will be conducting its own separate audit this year. No date has been set.

Seair's new tail

The Tiger Onslaught in the Philippines

March 25, 2013

Tiger Airways Holdings is raising stake in the budget airline wars as it prepares war chest for Indonesia and Philippine operations costing US$236 million.

The low cost carrier subsidiary of Singapore Airlines is awaiting regulatory approval to rebrand SEAIR as Tiger Airways Philippines in the second quarter of 2013.

Tiger Airways Philippines is expected to make its debut on July 10.
“The proceeds from the fundraising exercise will allow us to fortify our balance sheet and be well-positioned to grow the Tiger franchise in Asia,” the carrier’s Chief Executive Officer Koay Peng Yen said in the statement.

Major shareholder Singapore Airlines, which holds a 32.7% stake in Tiger, has agreed to take up its entitlement to the rights shares and convertible securities. It will also subscribe to shares and convertible securities not bought by other shareholders, provided its shareholding does not rise above 49.9%.

Temasek-owned Dahlia Investments, with a 7.3% stake in Tiger, has also agreed to subscribe to its entitlements.

Seair flies Laoag

Begins April 4

March 20, 2013
Southeast Asian Airlines has announced that it will be commencing daily flight to Laoag starting April 4 from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 with Airbus A319.

PAL to lease four long-range Airbus aircraft

March 16, 2013

Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced yesterday that it is acquiring four more long range aircraft as part of its aggressive re-fleeting program.

PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the airline is looking at closing a deal with Airbus for the acquisition of four more long range aircraft within the month after ICAO lifted its Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) tag to the Philippines.

“We are looking if we can buy additional four Airbus long range aircraft. If we are able to close the deal this month and the delivery could be as early as next month," says Ang adding that details of the deal are still being finalized but the lease price of each Airbus aircraft is about $230 million.

The airline intends to pull out the long range B777-300ER out of Japan and Australia for services to North America, and is set to retire its aging A340-300 fleet, but the retirement will leave Honolulu without an aircraft as this is serve by an existing A340. 

The additional interim fleet will address this problem as they can be made available in two months time, while their existing new A330-300 orders for delivery is already committed to fly Abu Dhabi and Doha in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi and Doha flights requires two aircraft for daily rotation.

Ang said PAL expects delivery of three more Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this year and they intend to fly them all to North America. PAL currently operates a fleet of four Boeing 777-300ER, two of them flying to Canada, one in Australia and Japan, respectively.

The airline said the company expects delivery of 16 new Airbus aircraft starting August as part of the $7-billion contract with Airbus last year covering the the acquisition of 64 aircraft consisting of 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo, and 10 A330-300s and another $2.5 billion to exercise an option to acquire 10 more A330 aircraft last September. 

Half of the arriving aircraft would be used by PAL while the other eight would be used by PAL Express (formerly Airphil Express).

Ang said PAL would likely have 71 new aircraft on orders, including 68 Airbus aircraft from EADS and three 777 from Boeing .

Take a bow Mr. Hotchkiss. Take a bow!

March 12, 2013

By Ramon Farolan

For those not familiar with government acronyms, CAAP stands for Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, an autonomous entity that replaced the old Air Transportation Office that was a line bureau under the Department of Transportation and Communications. By virtue of Republic Act 9497 passed in March 2008, CAAP is an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers, having jurisdiction over the entire civil aviation system of the country. It is the local counterpart of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States and the Air Safety Committee (ASC) of the European Union.

Five years ago, based on the findings of a safety audit conducted earlier, the FAA downgraded the Philippines from Category 1 to Category 2; it had determined that “the Philippines does not comply with the international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).” ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Montreal, Canada. It is made up of 191 member states. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency as well as aviation environmental protection. The agency serves as a forum for cooperation in the world of civil aviation. It is currently headed by Secretary General Raymond Benjamin of France.

What are the practical effects of a Category 2 rating by the FAA?

A Category 2 rating does not normally result in the termination or reduction of flights to the United States by that country’s air carriers. However, a Category 2 country is not permitted to increase the number of flights to the United States or to substitute aircraft in the existing fleet that flies to the United States. This also means that no new routes or expansion of existing routes is allowed.

The FAA, under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program, set up two ratings for countries operating to and from the United States. They are defined as follows:

Category 1, Does Comply with ICAO standards

Category 2, Does Not Comply with ICAO standards

In 2009, ICAO determined that it had a number of Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) with Philippine aviation safety standards. This resulted in the European Union putting the country on its blacklist. This barred Philippine air carriers from flying to European Union member-countries.

Following the downgrade to Category 2 in 2008, the Philippine government set up the CAAP to address the concerns of the international community. Let me mention here that the United States and the European Union are not the only ICAO members that applied sanctions to the Philippines; Korea and Japan also did mainly in terms of frequency limitations.

The first director general of CAAP was retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Ruben Ciron. He was followed by two civilians, Alfonso Cusi and Ramon Gutierrez. For various reasons, all three were unable to satisfactorily address the safety concerns of ICAO. Incidentally, the first administrator of the United States’ FAA was also a retired Air Force general, Elwood Quesada. He instituted the controversial FAA “Age 60” rule, which barred pilots who have reached the age of 60 from flying on certified air routes. The current FAA administrator is Michael Huerta.

When Mar Roxas (now head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government) became transportation secretary, he appointed retired Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III as the new CAAP director general. This was in June last year. His marching orders to Hotchkiss were to get us back to Category 1 and off the EU blacklist. In effect, this meant meeting ICAO’s safety standards since the downgrade and the blacklisting were based primarily on our failure to meet those standards.

Hotchkiss went to work assembling a management team consisting mainly of Capt. John C. Andrews, former president of the Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines and a veteran of the commercial aviation industry, as deputy director general for operations (John is the son of the first chief of the Philippine Air Force, Col. Edwin Buencamino Andrews, who died in the crash of his C-47 aircraft Lili Marlene in 1947); retired Brig. Gen. Rodante Joya, former wing commander of the 220th Heavy Airlift Wing and a management graduate of the Asian Institute of Management, as deputy director general for finance and administration; and Capt.

Beda Badiola, former vice president for Operations Group at Philippine Air Lines, as head of the Flight Standardization Inspectorate Services, with the rank of assistant director general.

In October 2012, an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) conducted a safety audit and found that out of five outstanding SSCs, three had been properly addressed, leaving only two elements, dealing with certification and registration of aircraft, for compliance.

Last month, ICAO conducted another audit primarily to check on the last two concerns.

On March 1, 2013, ICAO sent the following letter to Director General William Hotchkiss III. Part of the letter read: “In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between ICAO and the Philippines, the ICAO validation committee reviewed the corrective actions, evidence and documents submitted by the Philippines. The committee has determined that the corrective actions taken by the Philippines have successfully addressed and resolved the SSCs identified by ICAO.” It was signed by Deputy Director Mohammed Elamiri of ICAO.

Eight months after assuming office, Hotchkiss and company delivered on their marching orders. Now they must not only sustain but improve on the gains that have been made.

Are we out of the woods?

Yes, as far as CAAP is concerned. The work that remains to be done is now the responsibility of the national government, with foreign affairs taking the lead. There are loose ends to be tied up, but the main problem—meeting ICAO safety standards—has been overcome. For a better understanding and appreciation of the situation, let me add that while the FAA retains final authority to make safety determinations and conduct its own assessments, it uses ICAO findings as a resource.

From this point on, matters should be addressed on a government-to-government basis. CAAP may provide backup support but the negotiations, if any, should be at a higher level—with our diplomats and trade officials carrying the ball; for beyond aviation safety concerns lies a broader range of national interests that bring us into competition with other countries.

Air Asia buys into Manila after Tata

Take Zest Air to their fold

March 11, 2013

Air Asia Berhad is buying all the minority stake in Zest Airways as Air Asia Group bids to create a stronger presence at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and break the current duopoly between PAL and Cebu Pacific.

Alfredo Yao is expected to keep majority ownership of ZestAir under a joint venture agreement similar to Tata Sons Ltd. starting a low-cost airline in India, but will cede management control to the Malaysia-based airline conglomerate. The deal is expected to consolidate operations between Air Asia Philippines and Zest Air across the country under a common brand.

5J Expands Cebu Hub

Connects Camiguin April 15, 
and  Masbate starts June 1

March 7, 2013

CEBU PACIFIC flies 4x weekly (T-Th-Sa-Su) to Masbate! (eff 1 Jun 2013)
CEB-MBT 5J440 0615-0710
MBT-CEB 5J441 0730-0825

CEBU PACIFIC flies 3x weekly (M-W-F) to Camiguin! (eff 15 Apr 2013)
CEB-CGM 5J833 0645-0725
CGM-CEB 5J834 0745-0825

US Bound, Finally!

March 7, 2013

PAL President Ramon S. Ang said the airline will introduce the Boeing 777 to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Japan and Australia services will be downgraded to the newer A330 services with Melbourne and Sydney doing possible daily rotations late this year. The airline will be flying to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia starting May 1 four times a week and to increase to daily flight by June 1 via A321, reintroduces Brisbane via Darwin and would launch new flight to Perth in Australia via A321 and to Guangzhou in China also on June 1. By October, PAL will cancel their code-share deals with Etihad to fly Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates daily using its new A330HGW.

PAL Airport, Clark?

Gov't expected to announce twin airport system for Manila

March 6, 2013

Philippine Airlines is shelving plans to build $6 billion international airport after Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) maintained support of Manila and Clark as its international gateway for the capital following the footprints of Tokyo's Haneda and Narita airports.

"Three operating international airports is not feasible at this time," says a DOTC Official who does not want to be named pending announcement by the President.

"The twin airport system will be announced soon. Its projected capacity is more than 100 million and its more than enough to handle traffic for the next 25 or 30 years," says the official without elaborating.

He hinted however SMC's possible investment in Clark airport's terminal and support infrastructure.

"The airport needs a high speed rail line and an expressway to the capital. NLEX-SLEX connector is about to start construction. The only thing that is left out is the rail line." says the official.

PAL president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said that he is waiting for the Aquino government to have a clear policy before it presents its plans for an airport.

"I'm just waiting for everyone else to put their cards down. That is when we will present this to the national government," he said.

Ang said the new airport could co-exist with both NAIA and Clark International Airport which the government wants to develop into a major international gateway for Manila.

There is no decision yet on the Multi-airport system policy which is to be decided by the President. Recommendations was already submitted to Malacanang by DOTC.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said that it would be better if there are two international airports for Manila as international gateways. But the choice would be between maintaining two major airports—Clark and NAIA—supporting each other.

Its Official!

ICAO Lifts Philippines SSCs
Mr. Mohamed Elamiri is the Deputy Director of the Air Navigation Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) responsible for Safety Management, Monitoring States safety programmes, safety training and assistance to States to address the deficiencies and shortcomings identified through the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme. Since joining the ICAO Secretariat in 1998, he held the positions of Director of the Air Transport Bureau for eight years and Chief of the ICAO Safety and Security Audits Branch for four years.  Prior to joining ICAO, he worked for the Government of Morocco for fifteen years in the field of air transport and from 1992 to 1997 was the Representative of Morocco on the Council of ICAO.

March 5, 2013

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has lifted the Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) on the Philippines it issued five years ago on its aviation industry.

In a letter dated March 1, 2013 from Mohamed El Amiri, ICAO Deputy Director for Safety Management and Monitoring for Air Navigational Bureau, addressed to Director General William K. Hotchkiss III, ICAO confirmed the lifting of the SSC's after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) passed the safety audit conducted by the ICAO-Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) last Feb. 18 headed by headed by Henry Gourji who recommended the lifting of the SSCs on February 22. Other members of the audit team were Amal Hewawasam, Vincent Lambotte, Christopher Dalton, Guseul Kim, and Saulo Jose da Silva.

Elamiri congratulated Hotchkiss for the “positive response and active commitment” in “resolving the deficiencies identified in the Universal Safety Oversight Programme.”

"We hope that this formal lifting of the SSC's (significant safety concerns) will finally put to rest the lingering doubts of those who may have been misled by false reports that CAAP has embarrassed President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine government by failing the ICAO audit anew," said Hotchkiss, quoting a published news report on the issue.

The Philippine Star had erroneously reported that CAAP had failed to pass the review and has made public apology of its report.

CAAP said it will endorse the ICAO Report to its counterpart in the European Union and the United States for the aviation status upgrade.

Cebu Pacific Selects HAECO for A330 Maintenance

March 2, 2013

Cebu Pacific Air (PSE:CEB), the Philippines' largest carrier, has appointed Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd. ("HAECO") as the provider of engineering services for its fleet of up to eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

HAECO was voted by Aviation Week as the "Best Airframe MRO Provider in Asia." The Hong Kong-based MRO provider will provide Inventory Technical Management (ITM) and Fleet Technical Management (FTM) services for Cebu Pacific's wide-body fleet of A330-300 aircraft. The services include detailed planning of regular comprehensive maintenance checks, pool management of components, management of component repairs and overhauls, as well as 24/7 AOG support.

The HAECO group has been providing maintenance services to the world's largest Airbus A330 fleets coming from Cathay Pacific and other leading airlines in the Asia-Pacific region.

HAECO Chief Executive Officer Augustus Tang said: "We are very pleased to be chosen by Cebu Pacific, supporting the airline in the next phase of its growth. We are confident of delivering great value and operational reliability to the customer, by means of our technical expertise and operational scale of the A330 aircraft, geographical proximity between our Hong Kong hub and Manila, as well as our heritage of operational excellence."

Multi-Airport System For Manila Set

Policy Directions readied

March 1, 2013

Manila will soon join the elite cities of the world that would have the distinction of having a Multi-Airport when the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) makes recommendation to Malacanang for adoption of Multi-Airport System (MAS) for Manila to address the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

A Multi-Airport System is defined as a set of two or more significant airports that serve commercial traffic within a metropolitan region.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said it would be better if there are two international airports for Manila as international gateways. But the choice would be between maintaining two major airports—Clark and NAIA—supporting each other, or vacating Manila in favor of Clark, or establishing a brand-new airport (e.i. PAL Airport) inside Metro Manila or in a nearby province that will replace the existing NAIA complex in Pasay City.

To be labelled for MAS are Manila-NAIA, Manila-CLARK, and Manila- PAL should the government approved its construction, as primary airports supplemented by secondary airport, Manila-SANGLEY as general aviation airport. Two primary airport is likewise considered for Metropolitan Manila, while Sangley and Clark could be relegated to secondary gateway.

“They will be operating similar to London, New York, and Tokyo airports,” says Abaya.

New York operates a multi-airport system that is composed of four airports (i.e. three primary airports; New York/Kennedy, New York/Newark, New York/LaGuardia and one secondary airport; New York/Islip on Long Island).

“There were several options on the table and it would be up to the President to take his pick. At the very least, we will be recommending to the President to adopt a twin airport system for Manila,” Abaya added.

He refused to comment on the propose San Miguel International Airport, saying the fate of PAL airport and Clark International Airport are to be announce by the President soon.

The former project does not cost the government while the latter needs massive capital expenditures to develop as gateway as it is already the country’s fastest growing airport with eight budget airlines operating, and handled 1.3 million passengers last year.