Air Services To Hong Kong Doubles

22 October 2014

The Philippines and Hong Kong signed a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) supplanting the 2008 bilaterals that would pave the way for increase in air traffic services to Hongkong. The new air pact allows 30,000 seats per week from the current capacity of 15,000. All restrictions to other international airports in the Philippines was also lifted allowing any Hong Kong based airline to fly unlimited flights except NAIA.

Ethiopia Seals Air Deal

10 October 2014

The Philippines and Ethiopia has signed a new Air Services Agreement (ASA) allowing their flag carriers to mount flights between the two countries. 

The ASA was sealed in Manila yesterday granting 7 flight entitlements per week between Manila and Addis Ababa, and unlimited flights between Ethiopia and other airports in the Philippines.

"The Philippines and Ethiopia signed yesterday in Manila an Air Services Agreement (ASA) that defined the aviation relationship and the exchange of traffic rights between the two countries," Carmelo Arcilla, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director said.

The CAB director said its agreement with Ethiopia allows intermediate stops in  Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, India and the Middle East.

Ethiopean has filed with CAB proposed air services between Addis Ababa and Manila via Hong Kong using Boeing 767-300/787-800 planes three times a week but their application was put on hold due to non availability of landing slots at the requested time in Manila. 

The airline has since revised its application with either Bangkok or Singapore as stop-over on the way to Addis Ababa with the same aircraft and frequency but different time schedule. 

Arcilla said that Ehiopean Airlines has sought the ASA to fly Manila either via Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh and Singapore with fifth freedom rights considering the current traffic between the Philippines and Ethiopia is small but only Bangkok and Singapore were granted as they are allowed beyond right by both countries while Hong Kong stops were not granted by the Chinese government.

The airline finally applied for Addis Ababa- Bangkok-Manila route with thrice a week flight beginning summer of next year.

Ethiopian has been cleared to land at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport with their revised schedule and the airline is expected to use Terminal 1 once it commence flight. 

The airline flies to Hong Kong, Beijing, Guanzhou, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul.

Manila flight is seen either as replacement to the Addis Ababa-Bangkok-Singpore service which was terminated by the airline to be replace soon by direct B787 flight to Addis Ababa in April 2015 or a tag-on service from Singapore says Arcilla who clarified that route planning depends upon the airline.

Bautista Confirms Plane Deferrals

8 October 2014

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has confirmed Tuesday that it is talking with Airbus concerning delivery deferrals to some of its forthcoming orders.

Incoming PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said the orders to be affected are those scheduled for delivery in 2015 and beyond. Remaining orders scheduled for delivery in 2014, including 3 A330 and 3 A321s are not affected.

Bautista said they have to review the current aircraft orders as they have surplus of short to medium haul aircraft, particularly the A321s with no destinations to fly to, while the remaining A330 is Middle East bound but hounded by overcapacity.

The airline is scheduled to receive 10 A321 aircraft in 2015 and another 10 in 2016 under a purchase order sealed in 2012.

Bautista added that impending orders for long haul aircraft are also put into back burners indefinitely after full control of the airline officially gets back to the Lucio Tan Group in 31 October.

PAL also announced that they are deferring plans to open new routes in Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam in Europe, and instead focus on more profitable routes to North America starting with New York expansion by summer next year.

The airline said that except for London, all their long-haul fleets of Boeing 777 and Airbus 340 will serve North American market.

Yes, Filipino Can Fly The Whale Jet!

From Fokker 50 To Airbus 380
By Lynda C. Corpuz
“I’m happy, I’m happy. I can’t describe how happy I’m now,”
8 October 2014

At 10:26 pm on Tuesday, October 7, Filipino captain Franklyn Desiderio safely landed the Airbus 380 – Emirates’ flagship aircraft – at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

Desiderio, the first Filipino certified to fly A380, helmed that rare appearance of the world’s largest passenger airliner at a Manila airport, and which left the country at 1:15 am on Wednesday, October 8.

The flight from Dubai – flight EK334 – was a one-off, commercial flight to Manila, to celebrate the Dubai-based Emirates' transfer to NAIA 3. President Benigno Aquino III and other government officials were there to welcome the passengers.

“I’m happy, I’m happy. I can’t describe how happy I’m now,” Desiderio beamed about the opportunity to be part of the rare service of Emirates, for which he is a pilot for about 9 years.

Flying since 16

At 41, the Desiderio has been a pilot for 25 years, with over 18 years and 40,000 hours of commercial flying experience. Before flying A380, he was a captain for A330 and A340 airplanes. He has been flying the A380 since January 2014.

Boeing 777 is Emirates passenger airliner that flies to Manila. Emirates started flying between Manila and Dubai in 1990 and as of 2013, the airline welcomed over 820,000 passengers on its 3 daily Dubai-Manila services.

The pilot from Meycauayan, Bulacan first flew a plane when he was 16, and said his fascination for airplanes started when he was very young – from loving the science behind flying an airplane to enjoying the sound those huge engines make.

Eventually, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Major in Flying at Airlink International Aviation School, and his first job was a flight instructor. “I’m so enthusiastic about flying that I told my parents, 'I’m going to study really hard and I want my solo (flight) immediately,'” he recalled.

Then he joined the country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), and commanded his first commercial flight, Manila-Catarman-Manila, in January 1997, flying a Fokker-50 aircraft.
After about 9 years, he left PAL, and as his wife, Rebecca agreed, the couple and their two children moved to Dubai and Desiderio joined Emirates. “It’s nice to have my family closer,” Desiderio said.

Commanding a ‘gentle giant’

Desiderio called the world’s largest passenger airliner a “gentle giant.” “It’s so gentle. It flies smoothly. The wide wings do it. It's smooth [flying for long-haul], like our flight from Dubai to Los Angeles which was 16.5 hours,” he described.

Desiderio said, only belatedly he realized he made it as the first Filipino to fly the A380, because he was solely focused completing the training and immediately flying the jet. “I thought it would be similar with other Airbus airplanes, but no. I really had to get deep into my books and study flying it,” Desiderio said.

Desiderio took the rigorous A380 training for 25 days, spread in 2 months late last year, that covered flight, flight operations, and simulation. “Emirates has a very high standard. You have to surpass even the bottommost of that standard,” he said. Desiderio said 2 more Emirates pilots are training now to fly A380.

How is flying the 2-decker Airbus 380 different? Desiderio gleefully said that “they put all the good stuff together.”

By good stuff, Desiderio meant that first class passengers can lie down in any of those 14 flat beds; have a massage in private suites; and freshen up onboard at the shower spas. Business class passengers can relax in seats that convert to flat beds up to 87 inches (2 meters long); while those in the economy class can stretch their seats with a pitch of 33 inches.

An on-board lounge with fully-stocked bar and hot and cold canap├ęs are available for both first class and business class passengers. All passengers can enjoy Emirates’ award-winning ICE (information, communication, entertainment) digital widescreen in-flight entertainment system that has over 1,800 channels.

Flying a big passenger airliner like the A380 is indeed a huge responsibility, Desiderio said because there is an increased number of passengers depending on a pilot like him to fly them safely to their destination. “Whatever happens, it’s always the passengers’ welfare first,” he stressed.

Currently, there are 8 Filipino pilots for Emirates – 5 of them, including Desiderio, are Filipino nationals, while two pilots are Filipino-American and one Filipino-Australian. “All together, we’re friends. We’re all brown-skinned. We talk in Filipino,” Desiderio shared.

With his wealth of experience, he plays mentor to his co-pilots and always tries to share whatever he learned from the job. “I didn’t dream to fly [a big airplane like] A380. I only wanted to fly. So, I try to guide them (pilots) to achieve their own dreams,” Desiderio added.

Desiderio said the Filipino pilots and other aviation professionals have come a long way, with many of them based abroad and working for the world’s big-name airlines. But he still encourages aspiring aviation professionals to jumpstart their career in the Philippines.

“There are two kinds of Filipino pilots: first is like me who likes to venture out and discover the world. The other one likes to fly around the Philippines and they’re accomplished as well. We all stand on the same level,” Desiderio said.

Emirates A380 to return soon?

Asked about flying A380 to a Manila airport (which the Terminal 1 is under renovation while Terminal 3 is starting its full operations), he said that the NAIA 3 runway is long and wide enough, but the airport is not yet 100% A380 qualified. While landing, the airport vehicles were not allowed on the apron at the same time. A smaller airplane was also set up on the taxiway while A380 is approaching to see how it would affect plane traffic on the ground, he added.

While Emirates is the first commercial A380 service to Manila, the A380 first made an appearance during a test flight in 2007. Also, customers of Lufthansa Technik Philippines regularly fly their A380 aircraft to NAIA for much-needed routine maintenance.

A380 flies 517 passengers – a huge volume that can congest the pre-departure holding area but could be remedied if Terminal 3 provides gates with two aerobridges. Most airports that service the A380 have gates with 3 aerobridges specifically designed for the large aircraft.

Desiderio said though that from the approach to landing, “Manila is capable [of accommodating] an A380.” There are limitations but if studied well and given enough time, combining A380 with other traffic – like setting up an A320 while an A380 is taxing or landing – would be possible, Desiderio added.

Emirates A380 fly to 31 destinations like Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, New York, and Paris, Desiderio declined to comment though when will A380 starts to regularly commercially fly to Manila.

Desiderio simply said that Tuesday’s one-off service proved that an A380 can operate in and out of Manila.

“I’m hopeful that after today, it would be possible soon. I’ll be writing a good feedback about how the operation went in Manila. And I hope to fly it again soon, back here in Manila,” Desiderio said. –

And It Fits!

8 October 2014
CAAP Engineers coordinate with Airbus and Emirates representatives on A380 docking procedure at NAIA Terminal 3

Emirates Airlines (UAE) successfully tested its Airbus A380-800 plane at its new home in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3 last night for future flight operations of the said aircraft at the terminal.

NAIA is one of the world's airports certified by Airbus to be capable of handling the A380 in 2006. Probing flight was made by the frame maker upon the request of UAE for future operations. 

Flight testing of the said aircraft followed in 11 October 2007 with Terminal 1 as the docking station. Two gates were approved by Philippine aviation regulators at Terminal 1 where future A380 operators resides. Docking approval carries with it requirements for construction of a new aerobridge. 

First A380 flight to Manila was made on 29 April 2012 by Qantas (VH-OQD) for maintenance checks at Lufthansa Tecknik (LTP), while Emirates A380 (A6-EEY ) became the first revenue flight. The flight was also piloted by Filipino captain, Franklin Desiderio, becoming the first Filipino pilot to fly the A380.

While Terminal 3 is designed to handle the A380 no certification was made for both Terminal 2 and 3 for the operation of the said aircraft other than Terminal 1. 

Ground and Services Certification for Terminal 3 was completed last night by Airbus and CAAP engineers amidst funfare at the terminal. No major changes was made to taxi operations other than restriction on runway 13-31 use when wide-body aircraft is on taxiway delta.

First revenue flight of the A380 was made on 25 October 2007 by Singapore Airlines.

PAF Has FA's Too!

8 October 2014

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) also makes government official's travel comfortable on board its   Fokker F27s (sn 10669) catering first class service to every passenger. And these pretty ladies are armed and dangerous too.  They are Airwoman 2nd Class Charizza M Obillo and Airwoman 2nd Class Ilonah A Balatayo of the Philippine Air Force. Photo courtesy Cpl Allan Villapando/ PAO AFP

Terminal 3 Welcomes CX

2 October 2014

Cathay Pacific finally moved to NAIA Terminal 3 Tuesday evening with CX913 as the first flight arriving 10:40pm. followed by CX905 arriving at midnight. The first flight at the new terminal was welcomed by a water cannon salute. Full story of transfer here. PPSG

The Flight of the A380

1 October 2014

Emirates Airlines (UAE) is bringing to Manila its special A380 flight on 7 October. Flight EK334 is expected to arrive at 10:10pm. The special flight will test airport terminal operations at Ninoy Aquino International airport in preparation for upgrade airline services before the end of the year. UAE is scheduled to operate bi-class A380 service between Manila and Dubai.

ANA Enters Codeshare Deals With PAL

1 October 2014

Tokyo - All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced Wednesday that they have agreed to establish commercial partnership between points in Tokyo and Manila as well as domestic services for both countries.

Both companies will sell tickets for all the code-sharing flights, including those operated by the other company.

Passengers on code-sharing flights will be able to take Philippine Airline's shuttle buses linking terminals 2 and 3 at NAIA.

Both airline advise travelers a two hour layover time to connect and move between NAIA terminals using the airport shuttles.

The codeshare agreement commences on 26 October 2014. In the agreement, ANA will codeshare on all Philippine Airlines-operated services to Japan and Philippine domestic services while PAL will also codeshare on ANA services to and from Japan as well as its domestic services.

ANA and PAL will jointly have access to 37 routes in Japan and the Philippines.

Codeshare routes are as follows:

ANA operated by Philippine Airlines
Cebu – Tokyo Narita
Manila – Bacolod
Manila – Caticlan
Manila – Cebu
Manila – Davao
Manila – Dumaguete
Manila – Fukuoka
Manila – Kalibo
Manila – Laoag
Manila – Nagoya
Manila – Osaka Kansai
Manila – Puerto Princesa
Manila – Tacloban
Manila – Tagbilaran
Manila – Tokyo Haneda
Manila – Tokyo Narita

Philippine Airlines operated by ANA
Fukuoka – Komatsu
Fukuoka – Miyazaki
Fukuoka – Okinawa
Fukuoka – Osaka Itami
Fukuoka – Sendai
Nagoya – Miyazaki
Nagoya – Sapporo
Nagoya – Sendai
Tokyo Haneda – Iwakuni
Tokyo Haneda – Kagoshima
Tokyo Haneda – Kumamoto
Tokyo Haneda – Manila
Tokyo Haneda – Miyazaki
Tokyo Haneda – Nagasaki
Tokyo Haneda – Osaka Itami
Tokyo Haneda – Sapporo
Tokyo Haneda – Tokushima
Tokyo Narita – Komatsu
Tokyo Narita – Manila
Tokyo Narita – Niigata
Tokyo Narita – Osaka Itami
Tokyo Narita – Sapporo
Tokyo Narita – Sendai 

Earlier PAL entered similar deals with Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi for reciprocal joint services.