Philippine Aerospace Industry Grows to $2.707 billion

29 December 2015

The Philippine aerospace industry has grown from a total market size of $2.58 billion as of end-2014 to $2.707 billion this year, data from the US International Trade Administration (ITA) showed.

The country has been identified by the American government agency as one of the “best prospect” industries for US-based aerospace firms, as it was seen offering significant opportunities for investment, being home to three tier 1 original equipment manufacturers (OEM) namely Moog Controls Corp., B/E Aerospace and Jamco, supplying parts to plane manufacturer Boeing and Airbus.

The total market size of the Philippine aerospace industry is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by next year, while total exports are seen to hit $467.8 million and $491 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines president John Lee earlier said the Philippine aerospace industry aims to be the region’s hub for aircraft interior market.

According to the US ITA reports, the Philippine aerospace industry was attractive due to the Philippine government’s thrust to develop the country’s civil aviation infrastructure, and the ongoing expansions being undertaken by the local airline industry and aerospace parts manufacturers.

“The Philippine aerospace industry presents significant opportunities for airport design companies, aviation consultants, airport ground support equipment, security equipment, wide body aircraft, jet engines, and helicopters,” the US ITA said.

Lee said the Philippines already has three of the world’s largest MRO providers, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Singapore Engineering Philippines and Hong Kong’s Metrojet Engineering generating revenues close to 1 billion US dollars this year, up by 25 percent from $800 million in 2014.

Lufthansa Technik, which is the biggest facility outside of Germany, is a joint venture between Philippine Airlines’s affiliate MacroAsia Corp. and Lufthansa Group, while Singapore Engineering in Clark International Airport is a joint venture between Singapore Airlines affiliate SIA Engineering and Cebu Pacific parent JG Summit. Metrojet Ltd. of Hong Kong is the biggest corporate jet MRO provider for Bombardier, Cessna, Hawker, Dassault and Embraer planes in Asia Pacific which also calls Clark airport its home.

Lee said the local aerospace industry is “a net export industry," with 99 percent of industrial output manufactured for export.

Etihad Escapes Mandatory Cebu Flights

Emirates Does Triangle

29 December 2015

Etihad Airways has successfully circumvented the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) "must fly Cebu rule" as it utilizes new flight entitlements granted from the latest round of Air Service negotiations between the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

The gulf-based carrier got a nod from CAB to add three new weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Manila from May 1, 2016, offering a total of 17 return flights per week, while its Code share partner Philippine Airlines (PAL) flies the remaining four weekly services between Manila and Abu Dhabi providing the alliance with 21 flight entitlements per week.

According to the agreement, PAL will fly Cebu - Abu Dhabi sector via its hub in Manila and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the other Emirate airline will fly daily triangular services from Dubai to Cebu and Clark onward to Dubai beginning summer of next year as a condition for it to use new Manila entitlements equivalent to four weekly flights as it expands Dubai - Manila services to 17 weekly flights. Currently, the airline operates 14 flights a week.

5J To Add Moscow, Vladivostok in 2016

29 December 2015

Low cost airline Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) will take foray in Europe as it launches its first flights to Russia in 2016, as part of a major international expansion plan after the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) granted the airline series of new route entitlements to Russia, the Middle East and Taiwan.

CAB also approved CEB’s request to be designated as an official carrier under the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services (MAAS) Monday last week.

As soon as the Philippines completes the ratification of the relevant protocols of the MAAS, CEB will be able to operate unlimited flights between capital cities within the ASEAN region.

“We sincerely thank and commend the members of the Civil Aeronautics Board for enabling… Cebu Pacific to expand operations to key international destinations,” said Atty JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific’s vice president of corporate affairs last week.

The carrier was recently granted official Philippine carrier status to Russia by CAB, with permission to operate up to three weekly flights from Manila to Moscow and Vladivostok.

Cebu Pacific was also given permission to operate an additional seven flights weekly from Manila to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, on top of its existing daily flights to Dubai from the recent UAE - Philippines Air Service Agreement expansion.

The airline was also given permission to operate additional flights from various points in the Philippines to the Taiwanese cities of Taipei and Kaohshiung.

Cebu Pacific earlier requested for rights to operate direct flights to Taipei from Caticlan, Clark, Davao, Puerto Princesa, and Tagbilaran, as well as direct flights to Kaohshiung from Caticlan and Cebu.

The carrier is presently operating ten times weekly flights between Manila and Taipei, and thrice weekly flights between Cebu and Taipei.

“We’ve always maintained that traffic rights are valuable resources that must be rationally allocated to carriers that are willing and able to utilise and operate flights.” says Atty. Mantaring.

Mantaring disclosed that there are yet no confirmed schedules of the new routes to Russia, the UAE or Taiwan but said that they are being worked at and should be announced soon when additional aircraft joins their fleet.

Cebu Pacific recently launched new flights on 17 December serving Manila-Fukuoka, and Cebu-Taipei routes, while Davao-Singapore was relaunch by the airline.

CEB is expected to commence Manila-Guam service in March 15, 2016. Its planned A330-300 Manila-Honolulu and Manila-Melbourne service also slated for next year is bugged by congestion issues at Manila International Airport as it fails to secure favorable landing gates at the requested time slots.

The airline will take delivery of 5 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft between 2016 and 2021.

Meanwhile, CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the aviation regulator had also allocated five frequency entitlements to Philippine Airlines (PAL) for five-times weekly flights between Manila and Moscow, three times weekly between Manila and Khabarovsk and four times weekly between Cebu and Khabarovsk.

PAL currently flies Manila-Vladsvostok and Kalibo-Valadivostok charter flights over the last two years which helped bring in 40,000 Russian tourists in 2014. Russia is a high-yielding tourist markets for the Philippine, with $1,000 spending per visitor.

PAL Goes Saipan

Begins Flight Summer Next Year

11 December 2015

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines will re-start its service to Saipan in the Northern Marianas in July next year, says its President at the Makati City Hotel Wednesday.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said their new short haul international destination will be Saipan after offering thrice-weekly flight services to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea beginning December 18.

The airline recently expanded to Cairns and Auckland last week.

The twice weekly services will be flown by a bi-class 156 seater Airbus A320-200 operated by low cost affiliate PAL Express.

It will be the second international destination of the low cost carrier after Dubai. PAL Express flies Philippine Airline's most domestic points across the country, other than Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Tagbilaran.

PAL Hopes To Fly AKL Direct Soon

9 December 2015

Auckland - Philippine Airlines intends to fly non-stop Manila to Auckland soon, says PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista over the weekend.

"As the airline develops the market it would look to make the flight non-stop," he said in Auckland.

According to the PAL executive, a non-stop flight from Manila to Auckland would take about nine hours of travel time, as compared to the current service which is about twelve hours with technical stop over in Cairns, Australia.

"We are hoping in two years time this flight will be a direct from Manila to Auckland so that we can have a travel time only of around nine hours" says Bautista.

The airline said they will use the bigger Airbus A330-300 to serve the route as soon as the growing market support it. Currently, PAL flies the long journey via 156 seater Airbus A320-200s four times a week.

Five Star Airline

PAL Aims Highest Skytrax Rating!

9 December 2015

Auckland - Philippine Airlines intends to be a five star full service airline in five years according to airline President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista.

”We want PAL to become a five star full service airline in five years,” Bautista said while in New Zealand as he promotes the airlines service to the middle earth kingdom.

A five star rating is the highest airline quality ranking used to certify airline product and service standards.

To achieve this goal Philippine Airlines will upgrade product services beginning with the new long haul aircraft that will join the fleet starting next year. It will also update existing fleet with the new standards beginning 2017.

Presently PAL is rated three star airline by Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization.

AirSwift Anyone?

ITI has a new name, and its not Hotdog!

5 December 2015

Charter operator Island Transvoyager, Inc (ITI Air) incorporated in 2002 has officially changed its name to AirSwift after securing regulatory approvals and is now a full blown airline.

The airline, bought by Ayala Capital Corporation in 2012 from its previous owner Andres Soriano Corporation, was incorporated to transport guests from Manila to El Nido’s island beach resort in Palawan, beginning with a fleet of 19-seater Dornier 228-212 turboprops.

The introduction of Ayala Corporation into the company saw its changed its fleet to a much bigger 50-seater ATR 42-500 (c/n 689,RP-C4201) let from Nordic Aviation Capital in 2012. The second ATR (RP-C4200) was added recently to support its growing route network.

The company has ordered 1 ATR 42-600 making it the first airline operator of the newest variant in the Philippines.

SwiftAir regularly flies scheduled flights From Manila to Coron and Balesin. It introduced last week November 26, extension of its El Nido flights to Cebu and vice versa. It intends to add Manila-Sicogon service beginning March 2016.

Air New Zealand Finds MNL Slot Difficult

4 December 2015

As Air New Zealand finds new long-haul routes to Asia Pacific in 2016, the airline found Manila more difficult to fly to after failing to secure desired landing slots at the Philippines premiere airport for next year's summer season.

Air New Zealand proposes to fly 224-seater Boeing 767-300 aircraft direct three times a week from Auckland to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila by the second half of next year after announcing their flights to Vietnam commencing June of 2016.

Philippine Airlines started flying to Auckland from Manila yesterday, operating four flights a week via Cairns using Airbus A320-200 aircraft with 156 seats.

Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliance officer Stephen Jones was quoted as saying that there is a strong two way traffic between New Zealand and the Philippines. 

Tourism data show passenger travel from the Philippines to New Zealand increased by 9.4% over the last five years, while the New Zealand to the Philippines travel grew by 11.6% over the same period.

"That means there are more kiwis wanting to visit the Philippines," Jones said.

From Jan.-Sept. 2015, the number of inbound tourists to the Philippines from New Zealand stood at 14,206, while about 13,500 Filipinos made their way to New Zealand last year.

There are more than 44,000 ethnic Filipino community in New Zealand last year. 

PAL Selects A350-900

Announced Paris
At 6500nm the A350-900 proves to be the most efficient plane from Los Angeles to Manila

4 December 2015

Amidst jubilation during the carrier’s recent party to celebrate the second anniversary of its London route, Philippine Airlines (PAL) admitted that it has chosen the Airbus A350-900 as its mid-sized long haul jets. (See our leak here long before others have known)

David A. Lim, PAL senior vice president, Commercial Group, confirmed the Airbus A350 orders, and said these long haul aircraft will fly North America and Europe.

Lim said they will start Paris next year after securing favorable slots at Charles de Gaulle Airport. (We also broke the story here, a long time ago)

Meanwhile, Ryan T. Uy, PAL vice president for Sales, added that the Paris route will be flown by Airbus 330-300, which carry 368 passengers.

“This is temporary, until we get the A350.” Uy said.

The Airbus A350-900 ordered by PAL will carry 325 passengers in two class configuration and will be used for its long-haul destinations when they start arriving in 2017.

PAL will be flying Airbus A330-300 to Paris four times a week via Dubai with evening departures out of Manila while they are still sorting the flights to Frankfurt in Germany thrice a week to be flown also via Dubai.

Lim added that the carrier is also considering flying to Amsterdam via Dubai where the airline has fifth freedom rights while existing flights to Jeddah would be flown direct soon.

Why not Rome?
“It would be nice if we could fly to Rome, because there is a large religious tourism market, as well as a great number of OFWs. But we don’t have fifth freedom rights with Italy,” Ryan Uy said.

The airline would have considered linking Israel and Italy but only Istanbul granted them beyond rights.

The fifth freedom right allows an airline from one country to fly between two other countries. With the current restriction, PAL cannot fly passengers between Dubai and Rome.

Uy said PAL had wanted to fly to Rome via Dubai as well, but the Italians granted only direct flights preventing them to introduce intermediary points. They can however transport passengers from Italy to the Philippines and vice versa, but no UAE-Italy traffic similar to that employed in Vancouver and Toronto.

PAL Group has 21 flight entitlements to the United Arab Emirates daily, while Cebu Pacific just rammed up its rights to 14 flights a day by applying for the seven new slots, based on the current aviation bilaterals.

Cairns, Auckland Inaugurals

3 December 2015

Cairns Arrival

Philippine Airlines (PAL) (RP-C8613) carried 112 passengers from Manila to Cairns with some onward connections and new passengers to Auckland on its inaugural flight.

Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista, led the delegation by travelling all the way to Auckland on the inaugural flight.

Bautista said the new service offered a convenient link for expatriate Filipinos to their home country and would promote tourism.

Cairns and Auckland will become PAL’s 37th and 38th international points, (fifth and six in Oceanea region) while Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, set to be launched on Dec 18, will be its 39th international destination.

Philippine Airlines, which has fifth freedom rights to New Zealand, is slated to become the only airline offering year-round nonstop flight services between Cairns and Auckland as Air New Zealand serves Cairns on a seasonal basis from its Auckland hub.

Auckland Arrival

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has completed its first ever flight to New Zealand touching down at Auckland Airport as it landed at 4.20pm Thursday afternoon.

It is the first airline to operate scheduled flight services between the Philippines and New Zealand.

PAL will fly Auckland via Cairns four times a week using 156-seater Airbus A320, flying every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

PR1 Arrives Paris For COP21

30 November 2015

Philippine Airlines PR1 (RP-C3438) arriving at Paris Le Bourget Airport to attend Climate Summit.