PAL Gets Ready for Europe

London by October 1 via Abu Dhabi

June 28, 2013

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is getting ready to fly back to Europe after getting positive feedbacks from Brussels this week.

The European Commission is expected to come out with the decision removing PAL from the blacklist by July.

PAL President and COO Ramon Ang said they have already secured four additional units of Airbus 340-300 in preparation for long haul flights to Europe.

“A PAL representative went with CAAP to the EU meetings in Brussels and we got good feedbacks from there.” said Ang.

PAL said they already applied for flights to London and recently established business office there. 

Codeshare flights with Etihad
The airline concluded agreement with Etihad Airlines for code share flights from London Heathrow to Manila beginning 1 October 2013 via Abu Dhabi. 

PAL will begin flight to Abu Dhabi also on the first day of October.

A mocked booking for London flights by Philippine Airlines on 1 December for two discloses flight departing London Heathrow on the following schedules.

Meanwhile, Airport operator Gatwick Airport Limited has confirmed slot application by Philippine Airlines to London Gatwick Airport in Sussex for direct flights to Manila. No further details were provided.

London Gatwick is the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathtrow hosting regional and international passenger and cargo services for over 30 airlines such as Emirates, Air China, Korean Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and Garuda Indonesia which is expected to commence flight in November.

EU to Clear PH by July 10

PAL Prepares Flight to Europe

June 27, 2013

Brussels - The European Commission is expected to take Philippine Airlines initially off its aviation blacklist, citing safety improvements and compliance with ICAO Standards and practices.

Philippines got a positive impression at the EU's Air Safety Committee (ASC) in Belgium during its meeting this week for a final report as it advances application for selective lifting of ban on Philippine carriers to enter European airspace.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General William Hotchkiss is currently in Brussels for talks with the ASC bringing with him credentials for Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its pending application to fly three European destinations under the EC SAFA Programme (European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft).
The Philippines is entering a working relationship with EASA to implement the EC SAFA programme where CAAP is obliged to perform SAFA Ramp Checks on the aircraft of PAL flying into the European Union.
Under the programme, all inspection results need to be communicated by the Philippine CAA which performed the inspections to the other EU Member States and to the European Commission. 
The Air Safety Committee meetings (ASC) are conducted by the European Commission (EC), EASA, the Member States and Eurocontrol twice a year every June and December, and is responsible for the lifting of bans for airlines to fly European Airspace.

The Decision of the European Commission on the faith of Philippine Airlines, and the Philippines in general will be release on 10 July 2013.

Dale Kidd, Press Officer for Transport at the EU, confirmed that decision on PAL will be announced by the European Commission in spring of 2013.
PAL has requested flight permission to the European Union, with plan scheduled flight to London Heathrow starting 1 October 2013 on a code share service with Etihad Airways. The propose service equipment are Airbus 330-300, A340-300 and Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.

The application for selective lifting initially covers Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air until the last two carriers inhibited and withdrawn, respectively, from the application saying they have no intention of mounting flights to Europe.

Meanwhile, United States Federal Aviation Authority (US FAA) representatives will be in Manila for 10 days starting 7 July for monitoring purposes prelude to status upgrade of the country which is scheduled between months of November 2013 to February 2014.

Another OV-10 Down

June 25, 2013

The Air Force are still searching two of its pilots who went missing Sunday night after their OV-10 Bronco plane from the 15th Strike Wing went down while on a routine training flight off Puerto Princesa City.

PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said the distance from the runway of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan where it took off together with another OV10 at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday was only about five nautical miles.

“All our aircraft have tracking device that is why we will know exactly the location of the crash site. When the OV-10 went down last night, alam na natin yung (we already know the) location where. It’s just about five nautical miles from Runway 27,” he said.

The two pilots of the OV-10 Bronco plane that went missing Sunday evening did not issue a “mayday” or distress call before its communications totally went off, Okol added saying they were on “final approach.”

“Our search teams have already recovered parts of the plane but there is still no sight of the two pilots,” Okol said.

He refused to give the names of the two pilots in “accordance with new regulations.”

The crash is the latest in a string of deadly accidents involving old foreign aircraft acquired by the Philippine Air Force.

The Air Force’s fleet of 30 Broncos were acquired from the United States in 1991 and from Thailand in 2004. The latest crash reduced the fleet to eight operating units spread across the country.

6th PAL A340 arrives in Manila

June 22, 2013

Iberian Airlines A340-313X (CN 318) on delivery flight from Lourdes Airport in France to Manila arriving at 9:30 am.

Australia Wants Darwin Connection to Auckland

Philippines wants to connect NZ from Brisbane or Sydney

June 22, 2013

The Philippines and Australia  failed to reach consensus on new air deal this week to increase passenger traffic between them due to some “outstanding issues,” the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Thursday said. 

The outstanding issue is the fifth freedom rights requested by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to New Zealand as it intends to connect Brisbane or Sydney with Auckland but Australia would like PAL to use Darwin instead.

PAL currently uses A320 aircraft to Darwin, Brisbane and Perth. If granted air rights by the Australian government, the airline would embark on Brisbane/Sydney-Auckland flights to Manila using A330.

CAB said Cebu Pacific wants for more seats to Australia but may have to forego negotiations for a “few more months” its goal of doubling the current 6,000 seat entitlements a week, which translates to about 33 flights, CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said. 

CAB and its Australian counterpart held talks from June 18 to June 19.

PHL-Japan Air Row Erupts

June 21, 2013

By Recto Mercene

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) has accused Japan of not treating the country as an equal and proposed the abrogation of the air service agreement (Asa) between the two countries to President Aquino.

This came about after Japan’s Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) refused to allow Philippine carriers such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific (CEB) to increase flight frequencies to more Japanese cities.

“They are not responsive to the Icao [International Civil Aviation Organization], which declared that all member-states are co-equal, and the impositions being made by the Japanese CAB do not indicate they are treating the Caap as a co-equal,” said Caap Deputy Director General John Andrews in an interview in his office in Pasay City.

The Icao recently gave the Caap a clean bill of health, saying the aviation body had met international standards, following a review of what it had done to address significant safety concerns during the last five years.

In 2008 the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the Philippines to Category 2, meaning
Philippine carriers could no longer mount more destinations to the US, while the European Union disallowed Philippine air carriers from flying into any of its 27 member-countries.

The Icao finding paves the way for the Caap to ask the EU to remove the Philippines from the blacklist and the FAA to allow the same carriers to fly to more destinations on the US mainland.

Andrews said the EU is expected to remove the Philippines from its blacklist by the end of this month.

Despite this, however, Andrews said Japan refused to recognize the clearance that the  Icao awarded to the Philippines.

“They do not even want to have any air talks. They have made some previous requests…certain issues that we have complied with as early as two months ago and they are even demanding things that are not within their purview to ask.”

Asked to reveal what these demands are, Andrews said Japan wanted to know about the Caap’s plans and how much it was paying its employees.

“That is, I think, uncalled for, unless they feel that we should be subservient to them,” Andrews said.

He said even the President had made remarks in the past in dealing with some issues in the South China Sea that all countries must respect our sovereignty.

“We must exercise our sovereignty. We have at least gotten the respect of all major nations in the world as far as the Caap is concerned,” Andrews said.

He said a few weeks ago, Caap Director General William K. Hotchkiss, feeling insulted about Japan’s behavior, wrote President Aquino recommending the abrogation of the air treaty between the Philippines and Japan.

“The letter is now in Malacañang,” Andrews added.

Japan’s CAB cited that the Philippines remains on Category 2 as the reason for its refusal.

Asked if that was the reason for not allowing more Philippine carriers entry into more Japanese cities, Andrews said: “Well, they are not really stating that for a fact. But look at it this way, as soon as our low-cost airlines start going to Japan, that is going to derail the…you know what I mean.”

Asked if the reason is economic, Andrews said he does not see any other reason but economic.

PAL Chooses Thales for New Fleet Avionics

June 21, 2013

Paris Air Show - Philippine Airlines (PAL) have selected an extensive range of Thales Avionics equipment for their 44 A321s and 20 A330s.

The package includes the TopFlight FMS (Flight Management System) for which a new software version is being supplied for PAL’s new aircraft. Release 1A, certified on the Airbus A320 and A330 Family, provides new capabilities such as Required Navigation Performance with Authorization Required (RNP AR down to RNP 0.1) and GNSS Landing System (GLS) capabilities.

Other unique functionalities include the FMS Landing System (FLS), which provides a new way to fly non-precision approaches using ILS (Instrument Landing System)-like procedures, thus enhancing situational awareness and substantially reducing training time and cost through standardized procedures.

Existing features like the multi-revision temporary flight plan with undo function and an enhanced intuitive “What You See is What You Fly” display system remain unique to Thales Avionics technology on those aircraft families.

PAL have also selected Thales Avionics for the provision of their Low Range Radio Altimeter (LRRA), one of the most reliable Radio Altimeters on the market, boasting an average MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of 40,000 flight hours across the worldwide Airbus fleet.

The Integra Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), a brand new product from Airbus market-leader THALES/KANAD, comprising unique features such as integrated GPS and antennas, will also to be installed on PAL’s new Airbus fleet.

“Once again, THALES has demonstrated their unwavering support and commitment in providing quality products and services to PAL. We are pleased to have THALES onboard our aircraft.” said PAL president and COO Ramon Ang.

“Thales Avionics is very excited about PAL’s decision to have Thales Avionics onboard their Single Aisle and Long Range aircraft. This selection is a testament to Thales Avionics products and also our commitment to support customers in Asia, where our current 60% market share on TopFlight FMS is growing thanks to the performance and the reliability of our products,” said Wee Boon Chong, Vice President and General Manager of Thales Avionics Asia. 

“Airline customers also have immense confidence in the long-term commitments of the Thales Avionics product support organization,” Wee adds.

PAL Selects Rolls Royce to power new A330

June 20, 2013

Paris Air Show - Rolls-Royce has been selected by Philippine Airlines to deliver Trent 700 engines, worth $1.4bn at list prices, to power 20 new generation Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

It is the first time that Philippine Airlines has decided to use Rolls-Royce's Trent engines. It has also taken out a long-term service support contract.

"After a thorough evaluation of our options, the Trent 700 is the best solution for our fleet expansion. The engine will provide market-leading environmental performance, with low emissions, noise and fuel burn." says Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang. 

The Trent 700 is the market leading engine for the Airbus A330, and has won 70% of new orders over the last four years. The engines will power aircraft that were announced by Airbus in 2012.

Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, President - Civil Large Engines, said: "We are very pleased to welcome Philippine Airlines into the family of Rolls-Royce engine operators We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Philippine Airlines as we deliver Trent 700s that will power its A330 fleet in the exciting and fast-growing Asia-Pacific market, supported with a comprehensive TotalCare package."

The Trent 700 is the only engine specifically designed for the Airbus A330. Rolls-Royce has more than 1,400 Trent 700 engines either in service or on order.

PAL Selects V2500 Engines To Power A321

Jun 19, 2013

Paris Air Show - Philippine Airlines (PAL) has selected IAE International Aero Engines AG's V2500 engine to power its order for 34 A321 aircraft. PAL has also chosen P&W’s Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines for the 10 A321NEOs expected for delivery in 2015.

IAE is a multinational aero engine consortium whose shareholders are comprised of Pratt & Whitney, Pratt & Whitney Aero Engines International GmbH, Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines. To date, more than 5,400 engines have been delivered and nearly 1,800 more engines are on order with close to 200 customers around the world.

The model V2533-A5 deal includes a V-Services(SM) Fleet Hour Agreement (FHA).

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in August 2013 and continue over a four-year period.

"We selected the V2500 engine for its superior fuel burn advantage and world-class reliability," said Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines. "The engines are part of a major fleet modernization program we are undertaking. We look forward to our new relationship with IAE."

"We are excited to have Philippine Airlines, Asia's first commercial airline, as a customer," said IAE President Jon Beatty. "The pairing of the V2500, a proven and dependable engine, and PAL, a well-respected operator, makes a great combination."

IAE’s fleet-hour aftermarket arrangement, called V-Services, now supports 60 percent of the V2500s in service and will support 80 percent of the engines under contract. Beatty stressed the value of the company’s support business because, as he noted, the aftermarket accounts for virtually all its profits.

The V2500 remains the most preferred engine for the A321 aircraft, powering over 60 percent of the aircraft in service and has also been selected to power over 70 percent of the aircraft in firm backlog.

“All engine companies pretty much sell at a loss,” Beatty said. “Phrased the right way, our business model is that we don’t make money at the point of sale and that we make money in the aftermarket, which is why it’s so important to truly control it.”

A321 aircraft powered by V2500 engines offer customers a significant improvement in operating cost due to the superior fuel efficiency and improved time on-wing.

Zero Visibility

June 18, 2013

Heavy rains and zero visibility caused nightmare traffic jams at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Monday night.The weather caused 17 flight cancellations in and out of Manila.

Four aircraft diverted to land at Clark International Airport at 7:30pm while departing aircraft was on cue for one hour.

Aquino Sangley International Airport

NAIA's Future

June 16, 2013

By Jerry E. Esplanada

Amid the deflating news of the massive dumping of Philippine stocks by foreign investors last week come bracing words from the foreign partners of a local consortium proposing to build an international airport and seaport on reclaimed land off Cavite City.

“They’re (the foreign partners) bullish about the Philippines and its development prospects, particularly the development of the country’s newest international gateway, one that will be responsive to the nation’s booming economy and thriving tourism industry,” said William Tieng, chairman of Solar Group, the lead local partner of All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC) consortium.

The ARRC is the local proponent of a proposed project to redevelop Sangley Point, the former United States naval station on the tip of the Cavite peninsula. The base was officially turned over to the government of the Philippines in 1971, ending 73 years as a US facility. It is now operated as a military base by the Philippine Air Force (the Danilo Atienza Air Base) and the Philippine Navy (the Heracleo Alano Naval Base).

“These foreign business entities have expressed in writing their firm commitment to participate in these modern and major job-generating projects,” Tieng said.

Tieng’s brother Wilson sits as chair of ARRC while Manuel Beriña Jr., former deputy director general of Public Estates Authority (PEA), is the firm’s president and CEO.

Tieng said their foreign partners, mostly Europe-based, include: Flugfahen Munich, operator of the Munich airport in Germany; Hamburger Hafen und Logstik, the biggest operator in the Hamburg port, also in Germany; the Italian rail company Ferrovie Circumvesuviana; power firm Isoluc Corsan; Deutsche Bank; COWI, Inros Lackner and GMP Architects; contractors Hochtief and Rizzani de Eccher; and Royal Boskalis Westminster, the lead reclamation contractor.

Sangley Pt. redevelopment

The ARRC submitted last Jan. 10 its letters of intent to undertake the twin projects to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the renamed PEA, the agency that acts as the clearing house for reclamation projects in the country.

The Inquirer has obtained copies of both letters, where Beriña proposed, among other things, naming their airport and seaport projects as ASIA and ASIS, short for Aquino-Sangley International Airport and the Aguinaldo-Sangley International Seaport, respectively.

He said the ARRC proposal was “in response to the need to develop premier international gateways in the country, as well as Executive Order No. 629, Series of 2007, directing the PRA to convert Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international logistics hub with a modern airport and seaport through an enabling reclamation component.”

The ARRC concept was “drafted in line with the vision of placing the Philippines in the forefront of international trade development. The concept project proposal will be undertaken in two phases at Danilo Atienza Air Base on Sangley Point,” Beriña said.

Proposed airport

Construction of Phase 1 of ASIA, or the airport project, is estimated to run from 2014 to 2018 (or up to 2020).
It calls for the “reclamation of 2,500 hectares on the flight line of the Atienza Air Base, development of a 50-million-a-year airport terminal and the first of two runway systems estimated to cost P56.2 billion and P45 billion, respectively,” the letter of intent read.

“The development of a 50-million-a-year passenger terminal is demand-driven based on the current 31 million annual passenger traffic in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the capacity of which is constrained by limited space,” it said.

Based on Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) statistics, the four Naia terminals handled a total of 31.6 million airline passengers in 2012, an increase of 6.2 percent from 29.7 million passengers serviced in 2011. The 2012 figure is composed of nearly 14 million passengers who boarded international flights and 17.6 million passengers who took domestic flights.

Naia Terminals 1 and 2 have been operating way above their original designed capacities of 4.5 million and 7.5 million annually.

In 2011, Naia 1 was named the world’s worst airport by “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” an interactive website that gathers reports from various reviewers.

The ranking was based on reviews of travelers who complained, among other things, of safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities and general hassles of being in the airport.

In its letters of intent, the ARRC also proposed the “redevelopment of the Naia complex with the relocation of the Atienza Air Base to Runway 06-24 in the Villamor Air Base. It also called for redevelopment of Naia 1 into a “greenbelt mixed residential area” between 2020 and 2025.

Better than Clark

Touting the advantages of its proposed airport, the ARRC report said “the adjacent areas and approaches to the ASIA are largely over water and would allow airport operation on a 24-hour basis.”

It said there is space available for the expansion of the airport for a third runway, which would not be possible anymore in the Clark International Airport at the Clark Freeport Zone, which now serves as a budget airline hub and has been widely touted as a possible main international airport for the country.

“The availability of space for the expansion of the airport for a third runway is possible while this will not be possible in the Clark International Airport anymore. This makes investment in the development of Sangley a long-term strategic outlook that is driven by logic and not politics … As Sangley becomes integrated into the Greater Metro Manila Area, this will enable the metropolis to retain its bragging rights of being the seat of the premier international airport and capital of the Philippines,” ARRC said.

Seaport project

Meanwhile, Phase 1 of the ASIS project calls for the reclamation of 50 ha offshore of the Atienza Air Base with a budget of around P8 billion, and the construction of a 200-million-liter capacity bulk liquid port, estimated to cost P10.8 billion.

“The development of the bulk liquid port is demand-driven, resulting from the proposed relocation of the existing 83-million-liter capacity of the Pandacan depot (in Manila), which supplies 70 percent of the shipping industry’s needs, 90 percent of lubricant requirements, 75 percent of all aviation fuel needs, and 25 percent of the demand for chemicals,” the ARRC explained.

Related infrastructures

The twin projects will also require the “development of the connecting road, rail and water transport infrastructures to enhance accessibility and sustain passenger and cargo traffic growth.”

The ARRC proposed the construction of the 17-kilometer Sangley-CavitEx to link the projects to the Naia complex; a 32.5-km Aguinaldo Light Rail Transit, using the alignment of the Sangley-CavitEX link to the Naia complex and Tramo to connect to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Taft Station; and an 8-km, four-lane, snake-shaped cable-stayed bridge linking the twin projects to Boulevard 2000.

The bridge project alone is estimated to cost at least $2.3 billion, according to ARRC.

DOTC, PRA briefed

On March 19, ARRC executives briefed top DOTC and PRA officials on the “technical and economic justifications for the development of Sangley Point,” as well as the “global projects and consultancy services track records” of the firm’s foreign partners.

Those who attended the presentation included Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco; PRA General Manager Peter Anthony Abaya; and PRA Chairman Roberto Muldong, among others.

On April 5, the company wrote both the DOTC and PRA, committing to “complete the feasibility studies (of the two projects) within six to eight months from the issuance of a PRA board resolution approving the reservation of the right to reclaim in the designated areas (off Cavite City) and a DOTC comfort letter, acknowledging receipt of the unsolicited conceptual proposal of the ARRC.”

Airbus Sees More Growth in Philippines

June 15, 2015

By Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

Toulose, France -- The Philippines is considered a growth market for Airbus S.A.S, with more than a hundred airplanes that have yet to be delivered "in the coming years," officials from the European aircraft maker said.

"The Philippines, definitely, is among the strong growth countries in the region," Joost van der Heijden, Airbus head of airline marketing for Asia, told BusinessWorld in an interview on Thursday, during a dinner for Cebu Pacific's new A330-300 aircraft.

"Definitely, the orders that have been placed by the Philippine carriers reflect that potential," Mr. Heijden added. "The continued strong growth in the Philippines is in line with other areas in Asia."

Sean Lee, Airbus communications director for Asia, said Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific alone have so far placed orders of 170 aircraft "since Airbus started selling aircraft in the Philippines."

"Of these, 111 have yet to be delivered," Mr. Lee said on the sidelines of a media tour for Manila-based reporters at the Airbus headquarters on Wednesday.

Mr. Lee said delivery of these aircraft "will be in the coming years." He declined to be more specific.

PAL in September last year placed an order for 64 aircraft -- 44 A320s and 20 A330-300s -- in a deal worth $9.5 billion.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang early this year said 16 aircraft -- eight each for A320s and A330s -- will be delivered in the fourth quarter, while the remaining will arrive in the next five years.

For its part, Cebu Pacific, according to Mr. Lee, has a pending delivery of 47 aircraft. Details of the orders were not immediately available.

The Asia Pacific market comprised 24% of total Airbus deliveries last year, according to the company.

"The Asia Pacific market is a very strong market with very strong potential. It is today the biggest aviation market in the world," Mr. Heijden said. "And we see its lead extending over US and Europe further."

Data from the International Air Transport Association showed that in February, international passenger traffic of Asia Pacific carriers grew by 4.5% from the same month last year. This is higher than US and Europe's 0.3 and 0.8% growth, respectively.

In the Philippines, Mr. Heijden said growth will be driven by the improving economy and Filipinos' close family ties.

"A big factor is the strong economic growth and strong traffic base in terms of visiting friends and relatives," he said.

The Philippine economy grew by 7.8% in the first quarter, higher than 6.5% in the same period last year, and above the 6-7% government target for this year.

Last Airbus Out

June 15, 2013

Goodbye Lumbia
Philippine Airlines PR 158 leaving Lumbia Airport at 2330 as the last plane out.  Farewell and Goodbye.

Hello Laguindingan

5J's A330 Flight to Manila

June 15, 2013

Airbus said that Wi-fi and in-flight entertainment system are available for a fee on board the A330-300
Cebu Pacific A330-300 holding short at runway 32L of Toulouse Blagnac Airport together with the Airbus A350-900. Capt. Brooke Castillo and Capt. Manny Ilagan, Chief Pilot of CEB A330 getting ready for the delivery flight.
12 hours Delivery Flight.  Just how far the new 135T A330-343X fly is best illustrated above. More than 6,000nm.
Arrival at MNL 0500. The second A330-300 aircraft is expected to be delivered in September, while the last two will arrive by the first half of 2014. The first aircraft is scheduled to be deployed from Manila to Cebu, Davao, Singapore and Seoul-Incheon. The second aircraft will be used for its Manila to Dubai flight on October 7. Its first international flight is booked on July 1 for Singapore.

5J's Next Plane To Cross Pacific

Eyes A350-1000 to America

June 15, 2013

Cebu Pacific long haul division head Alex Reyes said they are eyeing the Airbus 350-1000 for flights to North America within the next 10 years. The A350-1000 is the longest-fuselage version of Airbus’ all-new family of widebody jetliners with a range of approximately 8,400 nautical miles powered by new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

"We find the aircraft to be best suited for us in the long haul," Reyes said.

Cebu Pacific intends to fly the A350 to Los Angeles and San Francisco in single class configuration direct. He did not mention the number of propose seats, but the A350-1000 can be configured for a higher-density layout to accommodate up to 440 passengers, the same density as the A330-300 with significantly longer range.

There are currently 110 orders of A350-1000 as of May 2013 which is scheduled to enter service in 2017.
Cebu Pacific A330-300 taking a look at its future big brother, the Airbus A350 at Toulouse Airport prior to delivery flight.

A350 First Flight live

Destination LAX

June 14, 2013
Philippine Airlines announces deployment of Iberian A340 (RP-C3435, Cn 302) to North America beginning with Los Angeles on July 1. In the meantime, they will be flown to regional destinations in Singapore and Hong Kong next week before taking a big leap to North America. Below is the delivery flight of the A340-313X today with ETA at 0930.

Air Asia opens Cagayan De Oro

June 14, 2013

Air Asia Philipines opens Cagayan de Oro's newest Airport with 3 new daily flights to Manila. Laguindingan Airport opens to the public tomorrow. 

Flights will be on the following schedules:
Z2340 MNL0540 – 0715CGY 320 D
Z2593 MNL1225 – 1400CGY 320 D
Z2348 MNL1400 – 1535CGY 320 D

Air Asia Philippines rationalizes operations

Opens Manila beginning June 15

June 13, 2013

Philippine Air Asia announced route rationalization last week as it reduces flights to Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore from Clark starting June 15.

The airline currently operates out of Clark and flies to Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong with domestic flights to Davao and Kalibo using two Airbus A320 aircraft.

Air Asia said the reduction is part of its "operational realignment" as it transfer one aircraft to Manila to launch flights to Cagayan de Oro, Ho Chi Minh and Macau. 

The additional aircraft will also make a run to Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and Kuala Lumpur augmenting the operations of Zest Air fleet which desperately need more planes for expansion.

The airline said that all the Zest Air fleet will be painted soon with Air Asia colours starting with the Clark-based aircraft.

Affected flights include Kuala Lumpur which would be cut from 10 times a week to three, and would be mounted by Air Asia Malaysia.

Flights to and from Hong Kong would go down from 10 times a week to seven, while those to and from Singapore would be reduced from seven times a week to three, specifically every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Recently introduce flights to and from Taipei would be cut from seven times a week to four.

The airline said it would offer options to customers who already have bookings after June 15 "to alleviate the inconvenience caused."

Air Asia Philippines acquired 49 % of the voting rights and an 85 % economic interest in Zest Airways including the acquisition of 100 % of Asiawide Airways Inc. which transaction was sealed in May 10, where Alfredo Yao secures 13 % stake in Air Asia Philippines for $16 million US dollars.

Air Asia Philippines is 40 percent owned by Air Asia Berhad, through AA International. The remaining 60-percent is held by Filipino businessmen Maan Hontiveros, Michael Romero and Antonio Cojuangco.

5J's A330 Goes Home

June 13, 2013
Cebu Pacific has taken delivery of its first A330-300 during a special ceremony in Toulouse today. The aircraft is the first of four A330s being leased by Cebu Pacific from US lessor CIT and will be used to launch the carrier’s new long haul low fare operations to the Middle East.

Cebu Pacific has specified a single class layout for its A330 fleet seating 436 passengers. The airline will initially operate the first aircraft on medium haul regional routes such as Cebu, Davao, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul before launching its first long haul services to Dubai in October.

PAL Expands Korea

Flies Gwangju on July 25

July 12, 2013
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines will start flight to Guangju, South Korea's sixth largest city via Muan International Airport starting July 25, 2013. It will be the airline's 3rd destination in South Korea after Seoul and Busan. PAL will operate twice weekly flights using Airbus A320 aircraft from Manila every Wednesday and Saturday with departures at 1430 arriving Muan at 1900. Return flight is at 2000 arriving Manila at 2230. South Koreans remain the number one source of tourist arrivals in the Philippines accounting to 1.1 million visitors, roughly equivalent to 21% of consolidated foreign tourists arrivals in the country in 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, they account 24% of foreign tourists arrivals in the Philippines.

PH Amends ASA with Macau

June 9, 2013

The Philippines and Macau agreed to raise seat entitlements between Manila and Macau from 3,500 to 4,500 seats per week, CAB said last week.

The agreement was in response to the request of budget carriers Zest Air and Southeast Asian Airlines for more entitlements between the two destinations.

Cebu Pacific (CEB) currently has 1253 seats per week and Philippine Airlines (PAL) has 1092 seat entitlements per week to its flights to Macau. Zest Air has been applying for a new direct flight to Macau from Manila since last year but was haunted by scheduling problems.

“The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was amended to increase the previous allowed number of seats per week,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said.

Arcilla also said the new memorandum allowed unlimited seats between Macau and all international airports in the country, except Manila.

“In the old memorandum of understanding inked in 2007, seats between Macau and points outside Manila were limited to about 1,000.” Arcilla said.

Both countries have agreed to remove the seating limit in line with the move to increase passenger traffic to destinations outside Metro Manila under the so-called open skies policy.

“In compliance with the requirement of EO (Executive Order) 29 on open skies, the parties agreed to unlimited seats to airports outside Manila,” he said.

Seat allocation between Macau and gateways outside Metro Manila were previously limited to 10,000 under the original MOU inked in 2007.

Lucio Tan sells PAL

June 8, 2013

SMC buys out  Lucio Tan from PAL Holdings for $1 billion
In a deal valued at one billion us dollars, Lucio Tan has sold his remaining 51% equity stake of PAL Holdings to the Philippines largest conglomerate San Miguel Corporation. 

The deal includes the sale of Air Philippines which carries the brand of PAL Express.

Last year, San Miguel paid US$ 500 million to Tan for a 49-percent stake in PAL Holdings in April 2012 for management control of both Philippine Airlines and Low Cost Carrier Air Philippines.

The airline has since embarked on an aggressive expansion to its route network riding on the massive equity infusion by its stockholders as it launched US$ 7 billion refleeting program comprising 54 wide and narrow bodied aircraft from Airbus. 

PAL has since introduce new flights to Canada, China, Australia, and the Middle East. 

San Miguel recently paid US$ 161 million to the Philippine Government to develop and operate expressway going to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, hub of Philippine Airlines and PAL Express. It also paid US $10 million for a 49-percent stake in a startup Cambodian airline.

Philippines Airlines plots a path to profits

June 5, 2013

Darwin, where one of the airline’s A320s receives the new route water-arch treatment.
Launched on 1 June, Philippines Airlines has added three new points in Australia – namely Perth (four times weekly) and Brisbane (thrice-weekly) – all of which are operated via Darwin, where one of the airline’s A320s receives the new route water-arch treatment.

Over recent years, Philippines Airlines has been fortunate enough to be in the vanguard of one of the world’s fastest growing markets – indeed the number of ASKs operated to and from the Philippines market has nearly doubled since 2004 (Innovata year-ending June 2004 versus year ending June 2013). 

However, big growth statistics tend to encourage new entrants and the Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific has been no stranger to those – with home-grown Cebu Pacific, SEAIR and Zest Air (currently merging with Philippines’ AirAsia) all taking on the beleaguered flag carrier from the mid-90s onwards. 

In Cebu Pacific’s case, the LCC is now larger at the country’s biggest airport — Manila’s Ninoy Aquino — in terms of annual flights and seats, than Philippines Airlines. Due to the latter’s long-haul network, it still holds the #1 spot with regards to ASKs (more than double the size on this metric), but with Cebu Pacific now also entering this market – it plans to launch daily A330-300 services to Abu Dhabi in October this year – even this position may soon be challenged.

Philippines Airlines 2004-2013 Annual flights (thousands) and ASKs (billions)
Source: Innovata Diio Mi

Growing sector length; ASKs hold steady

The carrier’s briskly paced growth in terms of annual flights between 2004 and its peak in 2009 was largely due to the building of its domestic network, which it doubled over these five years, only to reduce them back down to almost the 2004 levels over the next five years, ending this June. 

This is because Philippines Airlines’ solution to the onslaught of its domestic challengers has been to push more of its domestic and regional services to the airline’s low-cost regional brand PAL Express, while it uses its aircraft to seek out longer, more profitable sectors. Indeed, between year-ending June 2004 and year ending June 2013, the airline’s average sector length has increased 12% from 1,476 kilometres to 1,654 kilometres. 

The result of this strategy is that while Philippines Airlines’ annual flight tally for year-ending June 2013 is back down around 2008 levels, its ASKs have held reasonably firm around the 22 billion mark since 2011.

Manila-Cebu #1 – for now

Unsurprisingly, Philippines Airlines’ top 12 biggest routes all involve Manila, with links between the island nation’s two largest airports of Manila and Cebu being top of the pile. Perhaps more surprisingly, the airline has reduced its capacity on the city pair by 10% year-on-year, and along with its operation to Seoul Incheon, represent the only destinations from the top dozen routes to have seen some capacity cuts in the last 12 months. 

However, the flag carrier has shifted almost every seat cut on this domestic route to PAL Express, which has grown its seats in the market by 25% since June 2012. With seats to the #2 market, Hong Kong, still growing, albeit marginally at just 3%, the two routes may well switch positions in the next five years if this trend continues.
Philippines Airlines Top 12 routes Weekly seat capacity
Source: Innovata Diio Mi 10-16 Jun 2013

The airline’s strategy in the domestic is not clear-cut however, as the remaining four domestic routes in the top 12 have all seen capacity hikes in the region of 10-30% in the last 12 months. That said, two domestic routes which were in last year’s top 12 — namely Manila to Cagayan de Oro and Kalibo — have seen the same treatment as Cebu, with weekly capacity being switched to PAL Express, resulting in its seats increasing on these routes by 121% and 73% respectively. 

Of the regional routes listed, it is Singapore that has grown the most since last June – with a 16% increase coming as result of the airline using widebody aircraft (mix of A330 and A340s) on 50% of the four-daily operation this June in comparison to 25% a year ago.

Oz is fastest growing country market

Of course, the domestic market is still of vital importance to the carrier’s ongoing strategy, so while in terms of weekly seats domestic flying commands 69% of the airline’s total seats, or 74% of its total flights, the remaining 15 country markets generate the remaining quarter of the its network. For the purposes of this graph, and given its scale and scope, Philippines Airlines’ domestic flights have been excluded.

Philippines Airlines top country markets Weekly frequency and seat share
Source: Innovata Diio Mi 10-16 Jun 2013

Capacity to Australia has shown the most significant growth over the last 12 months, with the existing four and three weekly flights to Melbourne and Sydney respectively being added to on 1 June by a further seven weekly flights operating to Perth (four weekly) and Brisbane (thrice-weekly), with all flights operating via Darwin

Services to Macau have grown by 75% in the same period (increasing to daily from four weekly), while Thailand (plus five weekly – all additional flying to Bangkok) and Indonesia (plus three weekly – two extra weekly flights to Jakarta and an additional single weekly operation to Denpasar) have benefitted capacity increases of 29% and 27%.

Pilot Error or Microbursts?

There is strong evidence linking Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-971 crash landing to be cause by micro burst when it skidded off the runway at Davao International Airport on Sunday night.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said another Cebu Pacific plane, an ATR-72 turboprop from Cagayan de Oro bearing Flight no 5J-215, swerved after touchdown in heavy rains at 6 pm hitting two runway lights. The Airbus Flight 5J-971 touched down at 7:10 p.m. Sunday.

CAAP said they learned about the incident only during the inspection of the runway on Monday as the pilot did not report the incident but the ATR's landing gear were damaged during the landing maneuver.

A micro burst is a weather associated violent short-lived localized downdraft that creates extreme wind shears at low altitudes and is usually present during thunderstorms.

First known in 1981, micro burst caused the crash of Delta Air Lines Flight 191 on August 2, 1985 while on approach to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport during a thunderstorm. The science of microbursts can be read here.

FAA to Upgrade PH Aviation Rating

Restores CAT1 Rating Effective November

June 6, 2013

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will lift upwards the aviation rating of the country following successful audit from Switzerland-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In a letter address to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the American regulators has agreed to upgrade the aviation rating of the Philippines to Category 1 by November, Director General William Hotchkiss III said in a briefing.

Hotchkiss said the FAA will conduct final assessment to the country in the next few months, after which a two-year surveillance program would be imposed to the country to address sustainability issues.

"The program is similar to a probation where FAA officials would fly in and out of the country to address the sustainability aspect” Hotchkiss said.

The surveillance program is meant to secure compliance of aviation standards.

Meanwhile, European aviation regulators from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) based in Germany has arrived into the country for validation purposes of recent ICAO findings.

ICAO has delisted the Philippines from having Significant Safety Concerns (SSC)s to its aviation laws and regulations last February.

The EU inspectors will be in the country until June 7 to determine whether the Philippines should be removed from the European Union blacklist.

PAL Returns to Brisbane

June 4, 2013

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has welcomed the return of Philippine Airlines services between Manila and Brisbane via Darwin, with the inaugural flight landing at BNE on June 2, 2013. It has been two years since Philippine Airlines last serviced BNE and the three flights per week will provide nearly 500 additional seats per week between Brisbane and Manila on an A320 aircraft.

GES became the busiest airport in Mindanao Tuesday

Amidst DVO Closure

June 5, 2013

General Santos Airport became the busiest airport in Mindanao Tuesday after handling 25 A320 flights of Cebu Pacific, five A320 and three Boeing 747-400 flights of Philippine Airlines.

Towing the A320

How difficult can it be?

June 4, 2013

It took a crane, three tractors, a plethora of workers and three attempts to remove the plane from the field as it was retrieved by its tail out of the runway and hoisted on a trailer truck, clearing the paralyzed airport by evening on Tuesday 48 hours after the aircraft stocked its nose in the mud.

Lance Apologizes

June 4, 2013
By Jojo Malig

Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei on Monday night apologized for the mishap at the Davao airport that has paralyzed the international gateway and caused thousands of passengers to get stranded.

In an interview by ABS-CBN, Gokongwei said the incident was "most unfortunate."

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has already ordered an investigation into the faulty landing of Cebu Pacific flight 5J-971, which veered off the runway as it landed at the F. Bangoy International Airport in Davao City Sunday night.

The incident prompted the closure of the runway, affecting not just flights of Cebu Pacific, but also Philippine Airlines, Zest Air, Air Philippines, Sea Air, and Silk Air.

CAAP gave Cebu Pacific until Tuesday morning to remove the aircraft.

Gokongwei said it's too early to speculate on the cause of the landing mishap.

He added that Cebu Pacific has preliminary reports on the incident from its pilots.

He said that upon touchdown of the aircraft on the Davao airport runway, "there was heavy downpour resulting in zero visibility."

Gokongwei said Cebu Pacific's airline crew workers did their best in the face of the mishap.

"I'd like to congratulate the professionalism of our crew on board with all passengers safe," he said.

"In this situation we may not have handled all issues perfectly, but we can learn from this experience," Gokongwei said.