7th PAL B777 Joins Fleet

29 October 2016

Philippine Airlines 7th triple seven landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport past 8:00 p.m. on Saturday From Seattle and will make its first flight to Vancouver and New York on Nov. 2, PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said at the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Everett Delivery Center.

The Boeing plane has 370 seats, 42 of which are business class and boast new flight entertainment system. It is the first leased by Intrepid, and will be used for flights to North America.

“With this delivery, we will be increasing our flights twice a day to Los Angeles in December in time for the Christmas season as PAL get its eighth Triple Seven in December,” Bautista said.

“I’m sure our passengers will love the airplane because this has been proven to be the best aircraft for trans-Pacific operations,” he added.

According to Bautista the new plane has state-of-the-art entertainment system from Panasonic.

PAL Expands Cebu Hub

Flies Double Daily to Narita, Opens Singapore and Clark Route

26 October 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines is expanding its Cebu hub by increasing flights to Tokyo twice daily beginning October 30 with A321-200 aircraft.

PR434 CEB0800 – 1340NRT 321 D
PR436 CEB1500 – 2030NRT 321 D

PR435 NRT0915 – 1355CEB 321 D
PR433 NRT1440 – 1840CEB 321 D

It will also add new services from Mactan to Singapore which flight begins on December 16, after securing regulatory approvals.

PR517, 22.00 CEB - 01.45+1 SIN, 1-3-5-7
PR518, 02.45 SIN  - 06.40     CEB,1-2-4-6

The airline also intends to open Cebu-Chengdu and Kalibo- Chengdu by March 2017.

Philippine Airlines also re-opened PAL Boutique, it’s in-flight catalogue, into a 24x7 online shopping site.

PAL boutique can be reached online at boutique.philippineairlines.com, where passenger shoppers can choose variety of products available on all PAL flights and on the ground.

Likewise, Clark to Seoul and vice versa will begin daily operations on January 1, 2017 using Airbus A321-200 aircraft.

CEBGO To Expand Mactan Connections

26 October 2016

Opens Roxas, Ormoc and Calbayog

Cebu Pacific subsidiary Cebgo will develop “inter-island services to meet the growing demand for local air travel” using the 16 78-seater ATR 72-600 aircraft from Mactan International Airport, says Alexander Lao, CebGo President and Cebu Pacific vice president for commercial sales.

Mactan Cebu will be used as a hub for new flights to Roxas City in Capiz, Calbayog in Samar, Ormoc in Leyte, Masbate province and Marinduque island.

Flight services To Roxas, Ormoc, and Calbayog begins November 19, 2016 while the rest of the new destinations will be announced later.

Japan Leases Five TC-90s

26 October 2016

As Part of PAF Surveillance Capability Upgrade

By Jaime Laude

The Japanese government is leasing five light surveillance airplanes to the Philippines to bolster the country’s maritime patrol operations.

Defense Undersecretary for Finance Raymundo de Vera Elefante said the deal to be signed today in Tokyo is for $7,000 per year for four TC-90 propeller light planes and the fighter TC-90 plane would be leased for $2,000 per year.

Elefante said the lease agreement is renewable every year.

“It’s almost for free. Training will also be free and it will help us (in) guarding our shores, from the air,” Elefante, who will sign the lease, said.

The TC-90s would come from the stock of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces.

He said the Beechcraft King Air planes could be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and maritime security operations.

Elefante said that they are looking at the possibility of using the airplanes for 20 years while the military is upgrading its equipment.

The TC-90s were offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29.

The TC-90’s patrol range is double that of small Philippine planes currently in service, which have a maximum range of only 300 kilometers.

Ken Jimbo, a senior research fellow of Japanese think tank Canon Institute for Global Studies Japan, said that Japanese officials could be intermediaries to encourage President Duterte to return to engaging the United States in diplomatic, economic and military relations to maintain the balance of power in the region.

“I hope that Japan can be a catalyst to connect the Philippine and US relationship back on the normal track because we believe that the United States still provides the fundamental role of the security guarantee of the Philippines and United States has been the last resort to provide favorable balance of power in East Asia,” Jimbo said.

On Duterte’s flip-flopping stance toward the US, Jimbo agreed with analysts that his statements have caused confusion around the world.

“At this moment we are somewhat confused and puzzled,” he said in an interview.

He said as Duterte tries to craft an independent foreign policy with a pivot towards China and Russia, this “should not be made at the expense of its relations with the United States.”

He urged the government to work also on the principle of abiding with the rule of law, including the UN arbitration ruling on the South China Sea.

PAL Offers San Diego Free Ride For LAX Flights

26 October 2016

San Diego

Philippine Airlines residents who are flying to the Philippines on round-trip tickets from the Philippine Airlines (PAL) are getting free shuttle rides to and fro the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Ma. Theresa B. Garces, PAL Los Angeles area manager, made the announcement in a gathering of travel agency managers in a restaurant in San Diego last Thursday (October 13).

Garces said PAL wants San Diego residents to get to the airport and back with “no hassles or worries.”

“We know how hard it is to drive up to LA, so we’re trying to make it easier for our clients here in San Diego,” Garces said.

Pinoy Shuttle, a San Diego based vehicle service, will be exclusively transporting PAL passengers from San Diego to the airport and vice verza.

Steve Cabuag, owner of Pinoy Shuttle, said their transport firm will be solely responsible for any untoward incidents that may occur during the transport.

“And that is the reason why we are not going to get other passengers because it is part of our insurance agreement,” Steve said.

He added that Pinoy Shuttle has a fleet of vehicles of varying capacity limits that it could deploy, depending the number of passengers present.

Passengers who bought tickets effective September 1- December 10, 2015 and travelling from September 7 with a return trip on/before December 15, 2015 can avail of free shuttle service. But the shuttle voucher is only valid on the flight and date specified on the ticket. These vouchers will be cancelled or forfeited in case of changes or rebooking.

The travel agents will make two days advance notice to the shuttle service provider and they will also issue the travel vouchers to the passengers.

On the other hand, passengers must hold valid PAL ticket traveling to Manila via PR 113/PR103 and return via PR 112/PR 102. They must have confirmed shuttle service reservations 48 hours before their flights and they must present their vouchers to Pinoy Shuttle service on departure day.

The travel vouchers are not transferable.

Pick up points are located at:

2300 Sweetwater Road National City, CA 91950

9650 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92126

Los Angeles:

Tom Bradley International Arrival Area (TBIT)

The Airbus That Rules Southeast Asia

8 October 2016

Aircraft manufactured by the European consortium Airbus Group SE are a familiar sight in the skies above ASEAN, with some 31 per cent of the company’s worldwide orders to date coming from Southeast Asia.

From the workhorse Airbus A320 to the A380, the world’s largest airliner, visitors to almost any Asean airport would be hard pressed not to see one of the company’s aircraft. Currently there are more than 3,000 Airbus aircraft in service with over 100 airlines across all ten Asean member countries, with another 2,300 on order.

Since the early Airbus A300/A310 models in 1974, Airbus’ presence in Asean has grown along with the region’s rapidly growing demand for air travel.

Today there are 2,200 Airbus A320 family aircraft in service in the Asia-Pacific region, with the company’s aircraft forming the backbone of Asean carriers such as AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Lion Air, Jetstar, Tigerair, VietJet, and Vietnam Airlines. Another 678 A320s are on order. For the larger Airbus A330/A340 family 36 Asean airlines operate 580 aircraft, with another 668 on order.

The newer and bigger Airbus planes have also been snapped by Southeast Asian carriers. Vietnam Airlines was the second in the world to operate the Airbus A350 WXB, a long-range, twin-engine, wide-body jet liner comprising a fuselage and wing structure made primarily of Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International rapidly followed suit, while Philippine Airlines has placed an order for six of the aircraft.

In the video, Airbus takes four of its most popular single-aisle and widebody jetliners – the best-selling A320neo (new engine option); the popular and versatile widebody A330; the new-generation A350 XWB and the double-deck A380 – for a day’s outing.

The four Airbus jetliners gracefully move across the skies in never seen before close formation, the winglets almost touching as they bank and turn.

According to Airbus the video brings together ‘the most modern and comprehensive aircraft family on the market… a family built on shared values of efficiency, quality, innovation and commonality’.

All of those things and more are probably true. To us though the piloting skills and camera work look totally awesome and we’re sure you’ll be as amazed as we were to see these giant aircraft being flown so close to each other. AEC

PAF Next Chopper?

7 October 2016

by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan

THE Philippines is set to acquire two helicopters—each worth between $12 million and $17 million—as its initial purchase under a Russian-Philippine military acquisition program.

An insider ad Foreign Affairs Department told the Manila Standard that the Philippines is looking to purchase either two of MI17 or MI24 to improve the country’s capability against possible internal and external threats.

“We are looking of purchasing two to four MI17 or MI24. This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s focus is more on internal security than external,” the source, who asked for anonymity, told the Manila Standard.

Although the Philippines is still window shopping, the source admitted that the Israel government is also pushing for their drones.

The heavily armored Russian helicopters are designed to withstand any kind of weather and are said to be low maintenance.

The choppers are also said to have defensive capabilities against portable surface-to-air attacks.

The source said Russia may offer a huge discounts and extended payment schemes could be arranged.

“It’s all just feelers at the moment. There are no negotiations yet,” the source said.

Recently, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said the Philippines is looking to buy military equipment and technology from Russia.

He said the officials of Federal Service for Military-technical Cooperation (FSMTC) briefed them on the different modes of financing on acquiring militaty equipment or technology.

The ambassador said Philippine defense officials have established the kind of equipment they need for internal defense and counter-terrorism, and that they were now canvassing to see if the systems that Manila needs are available from Russia.

The Philippines has been unable to procure the weapons it wants “because some countries don’t believe we can use these high-tech systems properly or because of certain country-specific conditionalities,” he said.

The only country so far with the available military technology and the willingness to sell it is Russia.

“They trust that we will use these in accordance with international humanitarian law,” he said.

Aside from the military equipment and technology, Sorreta said, both countries have discussed possible cooperation on training; after-sales service and maintenance; transfer of technology; investment in domestic military production and servicing; and different modes of financing.

The talks with Russia developed after Duterte met with Russian Ambassador Khovaev in Davao City a few days after the May 9 elections.

Khovaev said he was impressed by Duterte during a “very productive” meeting where they discussed how to jump-start Philippine-Russian relations which officially started only in 1976.

Khovaev said that it was “time for Russians to discover the Philippines, and it is time for the Philippines to discover Russia,” adding that strengthened trade cooperation could begin before the end of this year.

The Russian envoy said there is much potential in the two country’s bilateral ties because “there were no disputes and no contradictions.”

Bell To Increase Support For PAF Choppers

2 October 2016

Bell Helicopter of Canada is set to increase its maintenance support for rotary-wing platforms operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with a view of enlarging the fleet of eight 412EPs, an official from the company has said.

Speaking at the Asian Defence and Security 2016 (ADAS 2016) exhibition in Manila, James Williamson, Bell Helicopter's business development manager, said the company is looking forward for new orders of the type as it regards the Philippines as key market with expanding opportunities across both military and commercial sectors.

The company intends to increase the number of Bell Helicopter technicians employed in the country who carry out engineering work and provide technical assistance, he said.

Williamson added that the company plans to increase the level of support it provides the PAF and commercial customers in maintaining the aircraft to an operational standard.

Bell recently secured maintenance contract for 60 Bell UH-1 series helicopters, while it has existing contract with eight Bell 412EPs recently delivered in 2015 with a lists price of USD100 million).

PAL's Clark Dilemma

2 October 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) plan to make hub at Clark International Airport was put in limbo after desires to connect Clark passengers to Manila was shot down by authorities even before it flew.

The culprit, slot allocations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

PAL proposed to transfer between five to ten daily domestic and international flights to Clark beginning this month but it has since been moved to November since its strategy requires connecting traffic to Manila, which is addressed only by two daily flights between Manila and Clark to ferry passengers.

The airline cancelled 29 local flights operating out of Manila effective Sept. 1, 2016 when Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) found it operating without approved slots. Those cancelled flights covered routes from Manila to Caticlan, Cebu, Calbayog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legaspi, Tablas, and Tuguegarao.

PAL would have wanted them served at Clark hub but its application with Air Coordination Australia (ACA Philippines), a third party slot coordinator at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was rejected three weeks ago due to unavailability of desired slots at NAIA. They were supposedly ferry flights.

“One way of developing the market is for us to operate between Clark and Manila. We filed for slots for Manila-Clark but were denied,” says Jaime Bautista, PAL President and Chief Executive Officer.

“If you really want to develop the market, there should be a flight between the two airports. It’s not too far. It’s a very short flight, but I’m sure there are passengers who are willing to take a shorter travel time and pay a little more as compared to road travel of three to four hours,” Bautista added.

Bautista said the 20-minute ferry flight from Manila to Clark is key in increasing the traffic in Clark.

The airline plans to refile the application with ACA and is optimistic to get slots for two flights a day, one in the morning and another in the evening.

“We’ll find another timing,” added Bautista saying its necessity to its operation.

In the meantime, they are preparing bus shuttle services from Clark to Manila as it signed contract with NLEX e-toll collector Easytrip Service Corp.

PAL hopes to operate international flight services to Seoul initially together with Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and some other cancelled destinations.