Bulacan airport proposal approved by NEDA Board

27 April 2018


San Miguel Corp.’s unsolicited proposal to build an airport in Bulacan, along with several other major infrastructure projects, has been approved by the National Economic and Development (NEDA) Board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte.

San Miguel, which was awarded original proponent status last year for the P735.63-billion project, is now expected to face a Swiss challenge for the right to build an alternative to Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Confirmation is subject to final review of [the]concession agreement,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd told reporters.

The plan calls for the construction, operation and maintenance of an international airport with an area of approximately 2,500 hectares in Bulakan, Bulacan. It involves the construction of a passenger terminal, along with an 8.4-kilometer toll road, able to accommodate 100 million passengers per year.

The NEDA said the airport project had been approved along with seven others but Dominguez said the Board had green-lit a total of 20.

In a statement, the NEDA identified the other projects as:

• the P50.03-billion Subic-Clark Railway project;

• P5.61-billion Clark International Airport Expansion Project and Operations and Maintenance PPP Concession;

• P39.2-billion Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control projects;

• P27.37-billion Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project;

• P11.37- billion Bridge Construction Acceleration Project for Socioeconomic Development;

• P4.78-billion Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project; and

• the P1.086-billion Davao Food Complex Project.

The Subic-Clark Railway Project involves the construction of a 71.13-kilometer line that will connect the Subic Bay and Clark freeports. Of the P50.03-billion cost, P42.53 billion will be financed through official development assistance (ODA) and P7.51 billion through local funds.

The Clark airport project, meanwhile, involves the selection of an operator that will undertake the fit-out and installation of the necessary systems to “complete, commission, operate and maintain” a new airport terminal that will be built by the Megawide-GMR consortium. The winning bidder will be given a 25- to 30-year concession.

The Ambal-Simuay and Rio Grande de Mindanao projects cover the construction of flood management infrastructure along the Mindanao River Basin, which is the second largest in the country.

Construction of the Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway bridges — 10 in total — is expected to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila. The first two spans — the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges — received NEDA Board approval last year and will be built via a grant from the Chinese government.

The larger Bridge Construction and Acceleration project, which is expected to be completed by 2022, involves the turnkey construction of five four-lane bridges and 25 two-lane truss bridges, comprising a total length of 2,848 lineal meters, in nine regions nationwide.

The RAPID Growth project, meanwhile, aims to support 78,000 farming households by increasing on-farm and off-farm activities and generating employment opportunities in rural areas. It will be implemented in stages, with the pilot phase to cover up to 25 percent of the total project cost.

Lastly, the Davao Food Complex involves the development, marketing, management, and lease of a 20-hectare area owned by the government in Toril, Davao City. The planned agri-industrial complex is expected to promote development in the area.

The NEDA, without providing details, said the Board also accepted revisions to the following previously-approved projects:

• a change in scope and cost, as well as a loan validity extension, for the Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay project;

• change in scope and cost for Phase 2 of the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System Project;

• a cost increase for the New Centennial Water Source—Kaliwa Dam project; and

• the restructuring of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management project.
Dominguez, meanwhile, said the following projects were confirmed “ad referendum” or subject to agreement by others:

• a change in financing, from local funding to ODA, for the Arterial Bypass Project (ARBP) Phase III’s Contract Packages I, II, and IV;

• P25.26-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project (Tawi-Tawi bridges);

• proposed change in design and increase in cost of the P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project;

• P1.27-billion Conflict-Sensitive Resource and Asset Management Program – Financial Cooperation;

• P20.3-billion Safe Philippines Project Phase 1;

• request for a supplemental loan for the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project;

• a 24-month loan validity extension, revision of construction period and schedule, and change in scope of the P1.03-billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project; and

• a 46-month extension of the loan validity and project completion schedule for Stage II of the P11.21-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project.

PH Signs ASA With Maldives

19 April 2018

The Philippines and Maldives have signed Air Services Agreement (ASA) that will allow direct daily flights between Manila and Male Tuesday.

The ASA provides an initial entitlement of 1,200 seats weekly that can be flown by each country’s designated airlines between the Philippines and the Maldives Capital after series of air negotiations on April 16 and 17 that were conducted in Manila.

The designated carriers were Philippine Airlines and Maldivian. Philippine Airlines manifested intent to fly Maldives with A321Neos as early as next year.

Maldives earlier wanted unlimited flight with the Philippines in its preliminary proposals that were discussed in letter exchanges in the past three months.

The Philippine panel However agreed that flights originating from or destined for points outside Manila will be unlimited, in line with the Philippines’ pocket open skies policy which promotes other international gateways away from the capital. This will allow Maldivian to fly unlimited flights to Clark or Cebu or Davao.

The Maldives panel delegation was composed of the chairman, the chief executive and senior officials of the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority, while the Philippine air panel was led by the Department of Foreign Affairs, with representatives from the Department of Transportation, Civil Aeronautics Board, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment as members.

The Ministry of Tourism of Maldives said that as late as March 2018, it recorded a 17-percent increase of tourist arrivals from the Philippines.

PAL Makes ICN Flight Out Of PPS

PPS Incheon Flight Begins June 24

18 April 2018

Philippine Airlines will launch regular flight services from Puerto Princesa to Seoul and Busan in South Korea beginning June 24, 2018 while the flight to Busan will start July 26.

The route will be flown by A321-200 planes with the following schedule as follow.

Puerto Princesa – Busan (4x weekly)
PR476 PPS1320 – 1835PUS 321 x125
PR477 PUS1935 – 2315PPS 321 x125

Puerto Princesa – Seoul Incheon (daily)
PR474 PPS0050 – 0630ICN 321 D
PR475 ICN0825 – 1205PPS 321 D

The airline has send charter flights to China and Korea on number of occasions from Puerto Princesa International Airport.

PAL Upgrades New Zealand Service

17 April 2018

By otsen bryl
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is upgrading flight services to Auckland with tri-class Airbus A330-300 aircraft starting on June 17, increasing the overall route capacity by 22 per cent.

The bigger A330 aircraft replaces the smaller A340 used on the non-stop route that operates three times a week. The current A340 service has 254 seats while the A330 aircraft has 309 seats.

PAL began flying nonstop from Manila to the New Zealand city of Auckland on December 6, 2017.

PNP Commissions Bell 429 Chopper To Service

17 April 2018

The Philippine National Police (PNP) officially commissioned into service its first brand-new helicopter this year, with outgoing PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa gracing the occasion yesterday.

According to Dela Rosa, the PNP’s acquisition of the Bell 429 twin-engine rotary wing aircraft will greatly enhance the operational flexibility of the police by providing air support to ground troops.

“This multi-role police helicopter is designed to perform a variety of air support missions,” he said.

The supply contract was awarded on June 28, 2017 to Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas at a contract price of P435,797,548 funded from the General Appropriations Act of 2017.

The unit was delivered and inspected last April 12, three months ahead of the delivery schedule on July 5.

Unsolicited Proposals Find No Favor With Govt

Sangley consortium, Chelsea Logistics’ airport offers rejected

16 April 2018

Two more unsolicited airport development proposals—one of them from a businessman said to be close to President Rodrigo Duterte—have been turned down by the Transportation Department.

Along with the rejection of Aboitiz Equity Ventures’ (AEV) P148- billion bid to upgrade and run the Iloilo, Bacolod-Silay, Laguindingan and New Bohol airports, the department last month also ruled against Chelsea Logistics’ P67-billion bid for the Davao and Bohol airports and the Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group’s $12-billion plan to develop an alternative to Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), documents obtained by The Manila Times show.

Chelsea, owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, was seen as having gained an advantage after the rejection of AEV’s proposal, which the holding firm disclosed last week. The Sangley consortium’s offer, meanwhile, has been viewed as going up against San Miguel Corp.’s P700-billion plan to build a NAIA alternative in Bulacan, which has already received the endorsement of the National Economic and Development Authority.

Public bidding preferred
The Transportation department, in letters dated March 27, said it was pursuing a policy of offering projects for public bidding. Chelsea Logistics and the Sangley consortium, however, were still welcome to participate once projects are rolled out.

In the letter to Sangley consortium President and CEO Wilson Tieng, Transportation Assistant Secretary Airene Robinson said that “should the government pursue the Sangley Airport Development project, it will be implemented using its own resources, thus cannot accept your unsolicited proposal.”

“In view of this, you may retrieve all the submitted documents of your proposal … Notwithstanding the above, the government reserves the right to publicly solicit bids for the develop of the Sangley International Airport and all qualified interested entities will be invited to participate and submit bids,” it added.

The Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group is a consortium formed by the Tieng-owned All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. and Sy-owned Belle Corp., which aims to develop an airport in Cavite — to be named the Philippine Sangley International Airport (PSIA) – “at no cost to the government”.

The consortium, which was looking to secure a 50-year concession, had said it would build a world-class “aerotropolis” via the reclamation of about 2,500 hectares of land from Manila Bay in addition to the development of the existing Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite.

With regard to Chelsea Logistics’ offer, Robinson’s letter to the company’s President and CEO, Chryss Alfonsos Damuy stated that the Transportation department had “adopted a policy to competitively bid out the O&M (operation and maintenance) of airports under government jurisdiction through a concession, particularly those airports that are deemed to exhibit viability, and thus, will no longer process your unsolicited proposal.”

“In view of this, we will no longer be needing your submission of the financial and economic models of your proposal that we earlier requested in our office … Further, you may retrieve all submitted documents of your proposal,” it said.

“Notwithstanding the above, your firm may participate and submit bids in the public solicitation for the operations, maintenance, improvement and expansion of the subject airports which the government will subsequently undertake.”

Chelsea Logistics had proposed to operate and maintain all existing assets of the two airports, except of those that would remain under the control of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, while undertaking the necessary development works to meet future passenger and aircraft movements.

It said the Davao International Airport would be upgraded to handle up to 30 hourly aircraft movements with the construction of a new taxiway. The cargo terminal’s capacity would also be expanded to almost three times the current volume.

The Panglao International Airport’s cargo terminal facility, meanwhile, will be expanded by 25 percent, Chelsea Logistics said.

No to bundled projects
Speaking to reporters last week, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that he was against offering bundled projects.

“Personally, ayaw ko ho nun. Yung iba gusto. Bakit ayaw? Kasi gusto mo ba na isang tao lang mag-aadminister ng limang airport? (I do not want that but others do. Why am I against it? Do you want just one person administering to five airports?) “

While Tugade clarified that the Transportation department would still accepts unsolicited proposals, “there are certain airports that are better be bidded such as Davao.”

He also noted that the country needed more airports as NAIA would “not last forever”.

A so-called “super” consortium composed of seven Philippine conglomerates – including AEV – and the GMR-Megawide consortium have also submitted unsolicited offers to improve, operate and maintain the country’s main gateway.

Tugade said the proposals should not only address increasing NAIA’s passenger capacity but also consider the traffic situation outside the airport.

PAL Flies JFK Direct

Flight Begins October 28

11 April 2018

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is set to fly direct flights from Manila to New York beginning October 28, 2018 with four weekly flights between Manila and New York JFK non-stop in both directions initially with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Currently, PR 126/127 flies via Vancouver before heading to New York with the same aircraft type.

PAL will change departure and arrival times from the present to the following schedules:

PR126 MNL1830 – 2100JFK 773 x357
PR127 JFK0200 – 0610+1MNL 773 x146

Flight services to New York is expected be replaced by Airbus 350-900 planes by December 2018. (first A350 flight, see here)

Flights between Manila to Vancouver remains unchanged at seven times weekly with the same aircraft type and departure and arrival times from Manila. Return flights however is re-timed to reflect the following schedules:

PR116 MNL1900 – 1440YVR 773 D
PR117 YVR0045 – 0620+1MNL 773 D

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines and PAL Express has successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), confirming the airline’s strict compliance with international aviation safety standards.

PAL Express was first included in the Registry in March 2014. It's safety compliance was renewed in March 2016 and later in March 2018. PAL, on the other hand, has received its sixth consecutive IOSA renewal, marking 12 years of full international safety compliance by the country’s flag carrier.

The IOSA is designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. The audit is conducted every two years and is recognized as the gold standard in airline safety assessments.

DOTr Earmarks Nightrating To 4 Mindanao Airports in 2018

10 April 2018

Four more domestic airport is scheduled to be rated for night flights next year as the Department of Transport (DOTr) schedules bid for the supply and installation of Intrument Landing Systems (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipments (DMEs), and night lights installation to four domestic airports in Mindanao.

DOTr identified the airports of Cotabato, Dipolog, Ozamiz, and Pagadian Cities as the beneficiaries of the state of the art equipment which will be made operational next year.

The Transport Department said the first airport to be installed with ILS equipment are those with existing operational runway and apron lights.

According to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) they already allotted a budget of ₱986 million to equip the airports in northwestern Mindanao and Cotabato with ILS and DME technology together with support equipment that will allow them to operate at night.

Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Friday that they have already allotted ₱188 million for the Cotabato Airport, ₱253 million for Dipolog Airport, ₱301 million for Ozamis Airport and ₱244 million for Pagadian Airport.

Installation of ILS, DME and other support equipment has a price tag of at least ₱225.5 million.

Together with these projects Diokno also said that they will bid out the Operations and Maintenance contract of Davao and Laguindingan airports before the end of the year so that airport expansion will begin next year for completion in 2021.

"Davao Airport, we estimate that to be about ₱40.6 billion, and Laguindigan Airport another ₱14.6 billion," he said.

Contract for Davao airport includes construction of full parallel taxiway, Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) and cargo terminal building expansion, and tarmac expansion, while Laguindingan airport involves expansion of terminal building and airport apron.

PAL Ends Kuwait

9 April 2018

The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) deployment ban to Kuwait prompted flag carrier Philippine Airlines to suspend flight services to Kuwait beginning May 14.

PAL said the OFW travel ban to Kuwait has made regular operations economically unsustainable, as the airline mostly caters to the Filipino market, hence the need to suspend these flights to Kuwait until such time that market conditions on the route improve or after the lifting of the suspension order.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers last February 12, after series of injuries and death to a number of overseas Filipino workers, mostly domestic workers, in the Gulf State.

The airline said regular schedule would commence after signing of the agreement by Kuwait for the protection of Filipino workers.

According to Kuwait's Foreign Ministry, there are 170,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, majority of whom are house helpers and one half of whom travel back home every year for vacation.