Zamboanga-Cotabato Inaugural

29 July 2017

Cebu Pacific subsidiary CebGo inaugurates Cagayan de Oro and Cotabato flights from Zamboanga on July 26 and 27.                                                                                  Photocourtesy Dean San Juan

PAL Returns To Okinawa

28 July 2017

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will relaunch a direct flight between Okinawa and Manila 4 times a week from December 2017 with Airbus A321 aircraft. The direct flights between Naha and Manila would be the first flight since July 2007 when the regular flights were suspended due to airline's financial problems.

US Donates Surveillance Aircarft

PAF Receives 2 Cessna 208B ISR

28 July 2017

The Philippines became a beneficiary of Two Cessna 208B Caravan EX aircraft (N320ZZ and N322ZZ) purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense in behalf of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and modified to perform airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The equipment was officially transferred yesterday , July 27 at Villamor Airbase to the Philippine government and deployed to the 300th Air Intelligence And Security Group of the Philippine Air Force.

The two aircraft were procured by the US government in early May 2016 under separate DoD contracts funded under section 2282 of the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act and the Counter-terrorism Partnerships Fund for the capacity-building of foreign military.

The two new aircraft, valued at ₱ 1.67 billion were delivered to the Philippine Air Force through the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act Building Partnership Capacity Program.

It is expected to be used in maritime or border security and counter-terrorism tasks that benefit the national security interests of the Philippines and its allies.

The Cessna 208Bs is two of six aircraft registered by the U.S. Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, up for modifications. The other four were bound for Cameroon and Chad.

The six aircraft are fitted with the L3 WESCAM MX-15 high-definition imagining and electro-optical/infrared sensor for airborne full-motion video surveillance in a central housing. The sensor is integrated with an on-board airborne operator sensor console and will also have Harris ultrahigh/very-high frequency and high frequency radios for air-to ground and air-to air communications.

North American Surveillance Systems of Titusville, Florida, was awarded a $39.98 million contract for modification and integration of ISR capabilities into six Cessna 208B aircraft together with training and support services.

The aircraft were installed with extended-range fuel system designed by Weaver Aero International, for extra loiter time.

Currently,ISR capability has been provided by Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion aircraft from the U.S. Navy and Australia, together with Japanese TC-90 and U.S. UAVs over the battles in Marawi City.

The United States government has allocated more than ₱ 15 billion ($272 million) of grant funding to provide the AFP with up-to-date equipment and training in the last five years.

The two aircraft will be stationed at Zamboanga's Edwin Andrews Airbase for tactical deployments to Marawi by August 1.

PAF's Biggest Air Evacuation

28 July 2017

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has airlifted the biggest air evacuation of wounded soldiers in its entire history when it's 220th Airlift Wing transported 78 wounded soldiers in July 26, 2017 through the use of a single C-130 aircraft from Laguindingan Airport to Villamor Air Base.

Airport Expenditures For 2018

27 July 2018

1ALAMINOS28.8Lot Acquisitions
2ANTIQUE110Runway Ext
3BASCO145Rwy Ovrlay, PTB Rehab
5BILIRAN7Perimeter Fence
6BISLIG9.5Perimeter Fence
7BORONGAN22.2Lot Acquisitions
8BUTUAN184Airside (Rwy ovrlay,SGC)
9CALAYAN10Airside (Rwy Ext, SGC)
10CALBAYOG245Landside, Airside
11CATBALOGAN10Perimeter Fence
12CAUAYAN306.4ILS & Navaids
14CLARK2,746PTB, Navaids
15COTABATO 161ILS & Navaids
16DIPOLOG182Airside (Rwy overlay,SGC)
17DUMAGUETE300Lot Acquisitions
18IPIL18Runway Ext
19JOLO30Runway Ext
20KALIBO920New Apron & Taxiway
21LAOAG368.5ILS & Navaids
24MAMBURAO35.7Landside, Airside
25MARAMAG425Lot Acquisition
27MLAMG38Runway Ext
28NAGA200Lot Acquisition
30OZAMIZ192.2ILS & Navaids
31PAGADIAN84.2Airfied Lights
32ROXAS169Airside (Rwy overlay,SGC)
33SAN VICENTE50 +24CTRTower, Powerhouse
34SURIGAO200 +113Rwy Rehab & Overlay
36TUGUEGARAO61Control Tower
38VIRAC50Runway Ext
39ZAMBOANGA221Rwy Overlay, SGC

TOTAL (Millions)9,545.90
2CNS-ATM (Phase III)122.2
GRAND TOTAL(In Billions)10.5
Source: Department of Transportation (DOTr)

AirAsia Connects DVO-KUL

Flight Begins December 21

23 July 2017

Malaysia’s Low-cost airline, AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) will introduce its latest route to Davao, Philippines from Kuala Lumpur, with four times weekly direct flights commencing Dec 21.

The new route marks the airlines' fourth direct route from Malaysia to the Philippines after Manila, Cebu and Kalibo.

“Next on the line is Puerto Princesa and Kota Kinabalu” AirAsia chief executive officer Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes said after announcing the airlines' latest route at the Fourth Davao Investment Conference 2017 in Davao City.

Fernandes said the launch of this new air connectivity came after his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte who urged him to open a new flight from the Davao City to Malaysia during their meeting in Cambodia last May 2017 for the World Economic Forum on Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

the airline's Philippine subsidiary has launched new flights from Davao to Cebu, Palawan and Boracay, and enabled fly-thru via Cebu to international destinations such as Singapore, Taipei and Seoul.

Fernandes added that Davao will become an international hub of Air Asia in the future for direct flights to China, Japan and Korea and that Kuala Lumpur was just a start for something big.

AirAsia owns 40 per cent stake in AirAsia Philippines Inc, with the remaining 60 per cent shared between Filipinos investors. AirAsia Philippines offer nine destinations within the country including Clark, Manila, Caticlan, Kalibo (Boracay), Tacloban, Palawan (Puerto Princesa), Cebu, Tagbilaran and Davao.

Air Asia is the fourth carrier to offer international flights out of Davao.

Malaysia Delivers HADR To Marawi

 ASEAN Closed Ranks, Sends Aid

21 July 2017

Malaysia has send 19 tonnes of Human And Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance to Marawi City on Friday ferried by Royal Malaysia Air force A400M transport plane. 

The airlift operation arrived at Laguindingan airport this morning and was the first humanitarian mission of the air force that involves the A400M operation.

The A400M is piloted by Lieutenant-Colonel Baharin bin Mohamad assisted by Major Wan Azrul bin Wan Azmi as his co-pilot. The aircraft arrived around 6am and was on the ground for nine hours unloading the cargo before it left for Kuala Lumpur at 3pm this afternoon.

Likewise, eleven personnel from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) are also deployed in Cagayan de Oro to assist in the distribution of the aid.

Duterte Arrives Ground Zero on 412's

21 July 2017

Air Asia's Call of Duty

Generosity to Marawi Bound Troops

21 July 2017

An act of passengers generosity prompted the airline to provide Marawi-bound troops free baggage allowance and in-flight meals to soldiers on peace-keeping missions beginning Thursday after presenting their ID and mission order.

The dice that rolls the ball came from a Facebook post of a certain Inday Rakel which turned viral for sharing how AirAsia passengers helped three soldiers on their way to Marawi City and Cotabato with their excess luggage. The soldiers’ luggage was heavy because of their uniforms and other military paraphernalia.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Inday said she did not intend to criticize the airline or its employees.

“Siguro magagawan naman ng paraan ng AirAsia ang mga ganyang bagay. Nakakalungkot lang kasi tingnan, sila po yung lumalaban para sa kalayaan natin. A little treat naman lang sana para sa kanila,” she said.

"We recognize the incredible sacrifices of our military heroes and Bayanihan spirit among Filipinos," AirAsia CEO Capt. Dexter Comendador said Wednesday.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed gratitude on the airlines generosity for giving free baggage allowance up to 40 kilograms and in-flight meals to soldiers on peace-keeping missions.

PAL Newest Q400NG

21 July 2017

The Difference is in the Premium

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines accepts delivery of its newest plane, the Bombardier Q400 Next Generation plane (sn4561) (RP-C5901) intended for intra-domestic network. Acceptance was made at the Bombardier Plant in Toronto, Canada. The airline will receive 12 frames of this 86 seater aircraft.

Based on the list price of the Q400 aircraft, the Q400 orders is valued at approximately US $566 million says Bombardier. Aircraft finance was provided by Japanese lessor Mitsui & Co. (Asia Pacific) Pte, Ltd. 

The first 5 batch of the Q400 Next Gen aircraft with 86 seats is valued at $31.5 million each, while the second batch of 7 aircraft with 90 seats and a brand new Pratt & Whitney engine is valued at $33.57 million each.

The Q400 NextGen turboprop was first delivered to SAS airline subsidiary Wider√łe and AirBaltic in 2009.

Bombardier said the Q400 NextGen turboprop is an updated version of the Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft in current operation with the PAL Fleet which it set to retire.  It will be stationed in Cebu for flights to Caticlan and Clark.

The main difference between the Bombardier Q400 and the Bombardier Q400 NextGen is the interior of the Bombardier Q400 NextGen cabin. The Q400 NextGen has larger overhead bins that can carry two standard size roller bags as compared to the old model with small overhead bins.

The seating options for the Q400 Nextgen turboprop aircraft are also updated from the regular Bombardier Q400. The new high density model introduce in 2016 is now able to accommodate 90 seats from the previous 78 seats of the old model. 

PAL added premium economy to their product and introduce two more rows seats with a total of 86 seats configured with a 29-inch and 33-inch seat pitch respectively. The aircraft is scheduled to enter into service in two weeks time.

The aircraft manufacturer was also able to tweak and fine tune the Q400 Next Gen with slightly better performance numbers resulting to 5% efficiency as compared to the regular Q400 series planes.

Bombardier disclosed that the new 90 seater aircraft variant that was launched at the Singapore Airshow in February last year will have a new Pratt and Whitney engine.

The Montreal-based plane and train maker plans to introduce the high density model with new power plants in 2018. Currently, all Q400 are powered by P&WC’s 150A engines from the PW100 design.

The first of the twelve aircraft left Toronto today heading east for its 10,500 nautical miles journey to Manila stopping at seven airports in 3 continents along the way comprising 5-day flight. The new Q400 was ferried by a crew of two pilots namely Captains Anthony Larena and Vincent Almeda, first officer Oliver Jiminez, and aircraft mechanics and engineers Jesus Wong, Rommel Salgado and Richard Ho.

From Toronto the plane will fly to Goose Bay, Newfoundland, to Reykjavik Iceland, to Paris, France, and then to Malta before it heads to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Muscat, Oman, Hyderabad in India, and Bangkok, Thailand before arriving Manila on Wednesday.

Bombardier has log a total of 585 Q400 Next Gen aircraft on firm orders from over 60 airline owners and operators in almost 40 countries. The worldwide fleet has logged more than 6.9 million flight hours and has transported more than 429 million passengers.

US Sends Humanitarian Aid To Marawi

Singapore Sends Drones

19 July 2017

The United States government has delivered Tuesday morning humanitarian assistance that was offloaded in Zamboanga International Airport intended for displaced civilians at the war torn City of Marawi.

The US government said the cargo comprises among others educational supplies, drugs and medicines, as well as water containers and chlorine tablets to make potable water to evacuation centers in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and in Iligan City. There are 78 evacuation centers that was put up by the government to house thousands of displaced persons (IDPs).

Meanwhile, Singapore has offered drones and its urban warfare training facilities to help Philippine troops on its fight against ISIS militants. The offer was accepted by the Philippines through its Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen of Singapore said in a news briefing this afternoon that he offered to his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana help "to enhance the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities" of the Philippine military.

Singapore has two types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): the Heron 1, which has a range of 200km and can stay in the air for 24 hours; and the Hermes 450, which has half the range and a shorter flying time of 14 hours.

The UAV's will be send to Zamboanga's Edwin Andrew Airbase with a C-130 complement anytime next week where they will be stationed together with its counterpart from the US military for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in Marawi.

The Singaporean C-130 will also be used to ferry humanitarian supplies to Marawi evacuees.

China Eastern Flies Clark

12 July 2017

China Eastern Airline has confirmed that it will start its Clark flights to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport on October 18.

China’s second largest airline will operate this route daily with Airbus A320-200 aircraft.

Clark will be the airlines 3rd gateway in the country after Manila and Cebu.

Airbus Demos C295MSA

Could This Be PAF's LRPA?

12 July 2017

European Plane maker Airbus Defence and Space landed in Clark International Airport yesterday to promote The C295MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft) sample to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The aircraft is s derivative variant of the CN235 military transport aircraft which Airbus military produces and delivered to the Philippines.

The C295 can be used for surveillance, as a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) or search and rescue (SAR) missions and logistics.

The plane flew from Spain, stopping in Oman for refueling and Mali before making its first tour stops in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia before heading to the Philippines for demonstration flights. 

It heads today to Japan and then South Korea before continuing its tour in the Americas, with stops in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The aircraft will then heads back to Brazil where it will begin service in the Brazilian Air Force as a search and rescue aircraft.

The Philippine Air Force is currently re-bidding its Long Range Patrol Aircraft (LRPA) with Airbus showing to win the bid in commonality with its ASEAN neighbors.

PAF To Receive US Made UAS

5 July 2017

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will receive delivery of undisclosed number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from the United States in September this year says its Defence Minister.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said The US government has programmed to hand over a Scan Eagle-type X200 UAS manufactured by Insitu’s, as disclosed by US Ambassador Sung Kim to Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang Monday together with  some precision ordnances.

The The first Scan Eagle-type X200 UAS was handed by Zamboanga-based U.S. Special Operations Forces  to the Philippine military in 2012 while the new UAS was acquired by the Philippine government in 2016 for $13.5M taken from Foreign Military Sales (FMS). 

UK-based IHS Jane's disclosed the Philippines' follow-on system likely to be made up of about 15 UAS vehicles.

Korea Eximbank To Fund New Dumaguete Airport

Duterte's First Airport Infrastructure Submitted For Funding

5 July 2015

Department of Finance (DOF) has announced yesterday that Korea Eximbank (KEXIM) will finance the construction of the $137 million proposed new Dumaguete Airport development project in Bacong, Negros Oriental.

This is the first airport project to be offered under Official Development Assistance (ODA) by the Duterte Administration and the fourth Korean Project after Laguindingan, Puerto Princesa, and Panglao.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said feasibility studies for this airport will need to be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for approval this year, after which it will be submitted to the South Korean government for funding.

The P8.5 million Feasibility and Master Plan Study for Dumaguete Airport Development Project was already prepared by TCGI Engineers in 2013.

South Korea has offered to finance USD1 billion worth of infrastructure projects of the Philippine government through its Economic Development Cooperation Fund between 2017 and 2022.

The loan was offered by the Korea Export-Import Bank, after it met with selected agencies of the Philippine government last month to discuss financing participation in the government’s infrastructure-building push.

Dominguez said that one-fourth of the project amount would be shouldered by the Philippine Government for lot acquisitions.

Construction of the P7 billion proposed new Bacong airport will take place around 2019 and would take about five years to complete. The all-weather airport will have a 2km x 45m two-way runway and passenger terminal building capable of supporting 1.5 million passengers per annum.

“Right now there’s still no approval from the ICC, so that is where we are right now.”Dominguez said.

Dumaguete is the 17th busiest airport in the country registering 546,276 passengers in 2016. It is expected to handle 1 million passengers in 2024, according to latest projections.

PAF At 70

4 July 2017

Philippine Air Force (PAF) displays its new ordnace for the FA-50 jet recently acquired from the United States, comprising AIM-9B sidewinder air-to-air missiles, M117 GPB and AGM-65 G2 maverick air-to-ground missiles delivered in July 1. Image courtesy of Efrain Noel Morota