Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok eyed for next foreign route of PAL’s Davao hub

28 March 2018

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has confirmed that it will link Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to its Davao airport hub soon as part of the airline expansion program.

The route which will be flown by Airbus A321-200 aircraft is already pending for regulatory approvals and likely approved within the year.

The airline operates flights to Zamboanga, Tagbilaran, and Siargao from its Davao hub, while it dropped Cagayan de Oro route very recently due to poor passenger sales.

A330s Dream To Reach San Diego Closer To Reality

As Airbus pitches 251t  A330-900neo to PAL 
for Trans-Pacific Flight

27 March 2018

Airbus is expecting its new A330-900neo variant with 251t maximum take-off weight (MTOW) powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines to finally cross the Pacific for 15 hours flight towards Southeast Asia on 2020 as it provides additional 650nm range hike compared with the current 242t variant.

The aircraft Manufacturer is putting the range of the new A330-900 with 297 passengers in three classes to 7,200nm, a 1,450nm range increase over typical A330s currently in service, while that for the A330-800 will increase to 8,150nm with its empty weight and maximum zero-fuel weight unchanged at 177t and 172t respectively.

The heavier plane will also feature a new tire and brake system together with reinforcement of main and nose landing-gear.

Airbus said this aircraft will give PAL great flexibility to use either aircraft in their fleet according to network needs in size and range.

The new take-off weight combined with the fuel capacity increase and the additional 10 seats (compared with existing A330-900s) enables PAL to carry additional payload on longer missions to North America that would make the aircraft capable of reaching Manila or Cebu from Los Angeles or San Diego, which would otherwise be too big for the A350-900s.

The additional fuel capacity for the A330 also allows PAL to fly thinner longer distance routes, such as direct flights between Manila to London, Frankfurt or Paris, with the ability to carry additional cargo on the eastbound return flight according to Airbus.

Currently, the A330-800 typically seating 257 in three classes will carry passengers over 7,500nm (with MTOW of 242T). The A330-900 typically seating 287 in three classes will carry passengers over 6,650nm (with MTOW of 242T).

PAL has been using A330 plane since 1996 from the earlier 212t variant for regional destinations to the latter 235t variant in 2012 for Middle East, Australia, and Hawaii operations with longest flight to Honolulu and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with 10-11 hours flying time.

CEB Flies First A321

24 March 2018

Low Cost Carrier Cebu Pacific has flown its first A321-200 (RP-C4111), fitted with 230 Recaro seats in an all-economy configuration, out of seven orders made in 2016 to address delay in delivery of its A321neo orders.

The seven A321s will be delivered between the months of March to September, while its first A321neo powered by Pratt & Whitney engines will be delivered in November 2018.

Cebu Pacific has ordered 32 Airbus A321NEO planes which will replace all the current A320-200 planes on its fleet with deliveries originally scheduled in January of this year until 2022. Problems in Pratt & Whitney engine development prompted Airbus to delay delivery for 10 months.

The A321s will relieve the A330 from its domestic run as it flies to Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Bacolod.

Cebu Pacific as of this date has 62 aircraft fleet, consisting of 1 Airbus A321ceo, 36 Airbus A320, 8 Airbus A330, 8 ATR 72-500, and 9 ATR 72-600.

MIAA Goes Back To Earth

Not So Novel Idea After All!

21 March 2018

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is not transferring flights to Clark International Airport after finding that airport's terminal capacity is still within manageable limits.

General manager Ed Monreal clarified that at this time NAIA schedules are still within limits. NAIA fight schedules is being prepared by Airport Coordination Australia(ACA).

Monreal said peak times are already closed but there are still lean time available at the airport. Operators wanting to operate at peak times were however advised to land in Clark instead.

Earlier in February, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said airport authorities have six months to decongest and reorganize NAIA. He then suggested to transfer some flights to Clark.

Monreal said that what Speaker Alvarez meant was that excess traffic would be relocated to Clark.

"So far there is no excess at this time. Our schedule prepared by ACA are still within manageable limits. There is no mandate to automatically transfer planes or flights to Clark." Monreal explained.

Terminal assignment is however a different matter.

Monreal said the plan is for all of Philippine Airlines’s (PAL) international flights from Terminal 1 and 2 to be relocated to Terminal 3. Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Thai Airways and Saudia Airlines, however, will continue to operate in Terminal 1.

Terminal 2 would become a domestic airport for flights of PAL, PAL Express and Cebu Pacific. The international flights of 27 foreign carriers would be transferred to Terminal 3.

The airport manager said Terminal 4 would still be used by Air Asia, Cebgo, Sky Jet and Air Swift.

Terminals 1 and 3 are intended for international flights while Terminals 2 and 4 are for domestic ones.

Monreal said that "mixed use" of the airport terminals has to end, and vowed to change the system solely for the Terminals intended purposes.

"Terminal 3 should all be international and Terminal 2 should go back to being domestic" Monreal said.

"The problem with Terminal 2 is that its not enough to accommodate all domestic bound passengers" Monreal said.

It is on this end that Alvarez laments rationalization plan to transfer some domestic flights to the CIA that can't be accommodated by Terminal 2.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific offered win-sin solutions to the airport operator claiming expansion of terminal 3 instead of segregating terminal operations.

“Our proposal that would see the construction of a new concourse within the existing Terminal 3 area and be designated as Terminal 3 Domestic, but will leverage the common infrastructure, terminal and ramp areas of the current Terminal 3. We estimate this will increase total Terminal 3 capacity from 14 million to 28 million,” the airline said.

PAL Head of Operations Ismael Gozon said the company supports the objective of terminal rationalization and the intended timelines set by airport authorities, but said the plan is not solution to the problem instead the expansion of Terminal 2.

DOTr is currently preparing the contract for Terminal 2 expansion to accommodate both PAL and Cebu Pacific domestic passengers. Bidding papers for this project will come out soon.

Amadeus Powers PAL Migration To Alliance

While CEB selects airRM as its RMS

20 March 2018

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines has switched to full Amadeus Altéa Suite from Sabre Systems to deliver an extensive transformation of the airline’s Passenger Service System that aims to streamline and improve all core passenger processes for PAL, including reservation, inventory, departure control, and flight management as it readies for integration with airline partner.

The Amadeus Altéa Suite is a next-generation airline IT system that, once implemented, will help PAL enhance customer experience by delivering more consistent and personalized customer service, develop new revenue streams, and improve operational efficiency.

Tangible benefits include faster and simpler check-in for travelers, the ability to re-accommodate disrupted passengers in a matter of seconds, improved on-time performance, and consistent, automatic application of customer preferences at every touch point.

Adopting Altéa will also support Philippine Airlines’ ambitions to join an airline alliance. More than two-thirds of Star Alliance airlines, three-quarters of oneworld airlines and half of Skyteam airlines use Altéa.

As a community platform for airlines, Altéa enables better integration between partner airlines, with real-time sharing of availability, fares, customer and booking information to deliver a harmonized customer experience across the alliance.

ANA implemented Amadeus’ Altéa Customer Management Solution in 2011.

The unified Amadeus solution simplifies and enables consistent decision making across several commercial planning divisions by bringing all the data to one place and in real-time.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific has selected airRM for its revenue management system, inventory control, and reporting tools to identify sales opportunities, maximize passenger revenues, closely control pricing, and analyze performance.

airRM enables airlines to make better and more profitable decisions. The solution is currently used by more than 90 of the most successful carriers in the world.

“Cebu Pacific is the largest and most successful airline of The Philippines. Experiencing rapid growth in the last decade Cebu Pacific now operates a fleet of over 75 Airbus aircraft”, said Andrew Millar, Vice President of Sales & Support.

Air Asia Bhd has been using airRM for its Revenue Management System since 2011 while Tiger Airways (now Scoot) started the system in 2014.

Piper Crashed at Plaridel Airport

17 March 2018

A Piper PA-23 Apache plane (RP-C299) belonging to Lite Air Express crashed at 11:21am after take-off at Plaridel airport killing its two pilot and four passengers. It was bound for Laoag International Airport.

The ill-fated aircraft was flown by Capt. Ruel Meloria and co-pilot Efren Patugalan. Names of passengers were withheld until notifications are made to their respective families.

The plane crashed in a residential area belonging to Luisa Santos at Purok 3 Brgy. Lumang Bayan, Plaridel, Bulacan this morning killing five person on the ground which involved the whole family that reside in the house where the plane fell.

Initial investigation from the Flight Safety and Inspectorate Service disclosed that the aircraft stalled after climbing and plunged into the house. The cause of the stall remains unknown.

CAAP said all aircraft operated by Lite Air Express would be grounded pending results of the investigation.

DOTR Inaugurates New Domestic Terminals

17 March 2018

The Department of Transport (DOTr) together with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has inaugurated two brand new terminal within the week opening Tuguegarao and Tacloban airports on March 14 and 16, respectively.

Together with the first phase of terminal improvements were runway and taxiway widening of Tuguegarao Airport, while new airfield lighting system will also be upgraded for safe night-time operations.

The airport was inaugurated by Sec. Arthur Tugade together with DOTr Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Manuel Antonio Tamayo.

"Our goal is to improve and develop our airports all over the country. The airport is the first thing that a traveler sees when visiting a place, and we should be able to make a great first impression," DOTr Sec. Tugade said.

The second phase of the airport development, which includes the expansion of the existing pre-departure and check-in areas and additional check-in counters, will start this year.

“Phase 1 pa lang po ito. In fact, this year, phase 2 of the Tuguegarao Airport development project shall commence. This includes the expansion of the existing pre-departure and check in areas of the passenger terminal building. The second floor shall also be developed for additional check-in counters, all for passenger convenience,” Usec. Tamayo said.

Meanwhile, Secretary Tugade together with Tamayo and CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco also lead the inauguration of the expanded passenger terminal building (PTB) of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City, Leyte yesterday that was damaged by Typhoon Yolanda.

After nine (9) months of construction, the check-in station was improved and widened, comfort rooms were fully-renovated, and about 275 seats were added in the departure area.

The expanded terminal which is now bigger by 1,100 square meters, with a wider check-in area, more seats, and fully-renovated comfort rooms, will serve the interim needs of the airport while new planning designs of the passenger terminal building (PTB) is finalized for construction soon.

DOTr said they are improving first the airport’s parking area, asphalt re-overlay of the runway together with runway extension to 2,500 meters and shore protection construction that will minimize tidal surge damages from super typhoons. The new terminal will commence construction after completion of the seawall.

Sydiongco said the DOTr is ready to bid out the P721 million new passenger terminal building by June 2018. The new PTB which has three finger bridges is expected to be completed in 2021.

CAAP said the P400-million budget allocated in 2017 will also finance the site development for the new terminal building, including the construction of a perimeter fence.

“The ongoing development activities will be completed by November,” Sydiongco said.

Sydiongco said the target is to complete the full development of the city’s airport within the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Tacloban Airport Development Project was conceptualized in May 1996 when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) carried out a master plan on the development of Tacloban, Bacolod, Iloilo and Legazpi Airports.

The project together with the other airport projects has faced several construction delays for two decades, primarily due to massive funding requirements.

In November 2012, President Benigno Aquino III approved the ₱2.12 billion Tacloban Airport Development Project supposedly for implementation between 2013 and 2016 but airport plans together with the PTB were changed drastically after Typhoon Yolanda caused massive damage to the airport.

Air Juan Bridges Inter Islands

17 March 2018

Air Juan is expanding its Cebu hub by re-launching old destination and adding new flights to Biliran Island, Catbalogan and Ormoc.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim C. Sydiongco, Catbalogan Mayor Stephanie Uy-Tan, and Air Juan CEO Francis Enrico Gutierrez graced the event as the nine seater plane takes off for its maiden flight last week, March 9. It first flew the route in 2017 on charter flights.

Tomorrow it will begin flight to Ormoc which was abandoned by Cebu Pacific on January 31 citing low passenger traffic.

A direct flight from Cebu to Ormoc is expected to be 30 minutes, while Catbalogan is estimated to take about 50 minutes but a route such as Cebu-Biliran-Catbalogan will take about 2 hours.

Gutierrez said triangular flight is necessary to sustain its economic viability.

Air Juan is the first commercial seaplane operator in the Philippines. Routes from Cebu include Maasin, Naval, Malapascua Island, Sumilon Island, Kalanggaman Island, Gigantes, Lakawon, Camotes, Panglao and Anda in Bohol. It also operates flights from Manila to Baler, Balesin, Boracay Island, Busuanga, Coron, Cuyo, Mamburao, Marinduque, Puerto Galera and Subic.

The airline said that additional less chartered routes are expected to be added in the future.

DVO Expands Destinations

7 March 2018

Davao International Airport (DIA) is growing its domestic and international destinations as new routes are introduce by airlines this year.

In the pipelines are routes to Siargao flown by Philippine Airlines effective March 25 and El Nido flown by Airswift effective May 22.

Two international destination is also opening up this year after airlines secure regulatory approvals. Qatar Airways is expected to begin flight to Doha before the end of the year while renewed flight to Hong Kong is prepared.

DIA is recently connected to Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia, Puerto Princesa by Philippines Air Asia,  Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Dumaguete by Cebu Pacific and Caticlan and Tagbilaran by Philippine Airlines, all being launched last year. PAL however is terminating flight to Cagayan de Oro beginning March 23 due to poor sales.

The airport previously listed Manila, Cebu, Clark, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga as its domestic points while its sole international destination is Singapore.