CEB Flies MNL-Da Nang

 8 December 2023

Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Cebu Pacific (CEB) mounted its first ever direct flight from Manila to Da Nang, Vietnam on Thursday, Dec. 7, making it the airline's third destination operating in Vietnam after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

"Today, Cebu Pacific makes history once again as we make traveling to Da Nang, Vietnam more affordable and accessible for every Juan,” said Xander Lao, CEB President and Chief Commercial Officer.  

The airline's Manila to Da Nang flights will be operated thrice a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays utilizing A320 aircraft.

Departure time from Manila to Da Nang will be at 7:25 p.m. (Philippine time) to 9:30 p.m. (Vietnam time). Return flights from Da Nang to Manila will be from 10:30 p.m. (Vietnam time) to 2:25 a.m.

PAF Acquires Three C-130J-30


20 October 2023 

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has announced the acquisition of three (3) new C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters powered by 4 Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines for the Republic of the Philippines through the Department of National Defense, with option order for two (2) additional frames.  

The acquisition was through a Direct Commercial Sale valued at US$376 million (P22.2 billion).

“The procurement is part of the Second Horizon of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program. The project was awarded to Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace, arms defense, information security, and technology corporation,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement. 

The first C-130J delivery is scheduled in July 2026, the second one in October of the same year, and the third plane shall come in January 2027.

The Philippines is a long-standing C-130 operator, receiving its first Hercules in 1976. 

The PAF currently operates a mixed fleet of legacy C-130s to support critical humanitarian, military and natural disaster relief missions throughout the Indo-Pacific region. 

The C-130J-30, first delivered in 1999, is the stretch version of the C-130J which offers an additional 15 feet (5 meters) of cargo space. 

The new Super Hercules' increased power, range, integration, space and capability will support PAF crews in meeting complex and evolving tactical mission requirements.

Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 525 C-130J Super Hercules in 10 mission variants. There are 26 operators in 22 nations which operate the C-130J global fleet do date

PAL Expands Ceb Hub Again

12 October 2023

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will resume domestic flight services from Cebu to Laoag, General Santos, Legaspi and Ozamiz this December using Q400NG planes.

From December 15, PAL will operate daily Q400 flights between Cebu and Laoag, General Santos City, as well as daily flights between Cebu and Legazpi’s Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay.

From December 16, PAL will resume regular thrice weekly flights between Cebu and Ozamiz City.


The Boeing Advantage

CEB sees MAX as its Next Plane, As Pratt & Whitney drags Airbus down

7 October 2023

Low cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) has seen Boeing 737 Max planes to be their next narrow-body fleet if Airbus does not help fix it engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney (P&W) for their troubled GTF new engine option (neo) powered planes, its executive said.

According to airline CEO Mike Szucs, Boeing is firmly in the running because of the Pratt & Whitney engine issues currently impacting many Airbus aircraft, which has impacted the airline industry in general. 

"Buying Boeings could help the carrier diversify risk, so we haven't got all our eggs in one basket."

CEB will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to both Airbus and Boeing next week as it plans to acquire more than 100 aircraft in what it calls the largest narrow-body aircraft order to ever come out of the Philippines.

"This is an extremely large order for Cebu Pacific certainly, but even in the Philippines it's by far the largest order I think that will ever be placed," Szucs said. 

"In the coming week or two, we will formally launch the request for proposal and may the best man win. It will be one or the other; we're not going to split it between two. It could be that we order a whole load of new Airbuses again, or it could be we order a whole load of Boeings. We would think three to six months would be the whole (RFP) process." he said.

The choice for the next fleet shall be made somewhere between January and February next year, which is enough time for it to deliver the first aircraft on order by 2026.

"Frankly, we will look at the right outcome financially and operationally, but both products are really good. The B737 MAX is an excellent product [...] The A320 is an excellent product as well. That's why we're ambivalent in that sense. It will be the right financial answer so that we can pass on the best ticket prices for our paying passengers," he added.

The CEO said it is unlikely for them to extend operating leases of their P&W powered neo planes that will soon be grounded to address manufacturing defects, even if compensation is given to them by the engine maker. 

While PW1000G engines offer lower fuel consumption and higher efficiency compared to previous generations, they have faced various logistical problems since their entry into service in 2017.

Massive delay in remedial works to affected engines produced between 2015 to 2021 has been particularly noticeable recently. As a result of supply chain issues and delays in maintenance and engine overhaul work, many operators have been forced to ground aircraft, leading to disruptions in their operations.

CEB said they will gladly give back the plane to its lessors beginning 2026 when its leases start to expire, rather than keep them on longer cue time for engine repair works to be done. 

Nine of the fourteen 320Ns and all of its A321Ns engines are affected by the manufacturing flaw.

The airline said it was already notified by Pratt & Whitney parent Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX) that a number of its A320neo and A321neo aircraft will go out-of-service for engine inspections beginning 2024.

"We expect that this will affect our fleet availability in 2024," the airline said as it flagged a lower-than-anticipated fleet growth next year.  

The low-cost carrier presently operates an all-Airbus fleet comprising twenty-one A320-200s, fourteen A320-200Ns, seven A321-200s, eleven A321-200NXs, three A330-300s, and five A330-900Ns.

The airline has pending 44 aircraft on order at Airbus of various operating type still to be delivered.

Vietnam Airlines Returns To Manila

 4 October 2023

After 22 years hiatus, Vietnam Airlines is returning back to Manila beginning December 1, for flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, departing at NAIA's Terminal1.

The flight will be flown by Airbus A321 with thrice weekly services to Hanoi and quad weekly services to Ho Chi Minh under the following published schedules:

Hanoi – Manila eff 02DEC23 3 weekly A321
VN647 HAN0005 – 0420MNL 321 246
VN646 MNL0520 – 0735HAN 321 246

Ho Chi Minh City – Manila eff 01DEC23 4 weekly A321
VN649 SGN0050 – 0420MNL 321 x246
VN648 MNL0520 – 0650SGN 321 x246 

The resumption of flight services to Manila are still code-shared with Philippine Airlines. Vietnam Airlines last served Manila in November 7, 2001 as its operation in the country was adversely affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Cotabato Airport Re-opens to Commercial Traffic

 2 October 2023

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has reopened Awang Airport to commercial Traffic beginning October 1, 2023.

Cotabato airport was closed for safety reason on June 22 after asphalt debris from the airports runway was thrown to Cebu Pacific (CEB) Airbus A320 on June 21 causing damage to the plane stabilizer, tail cone and elevator, jeopardizing its return flight to Manila. The return flight was eventually cancelled and runway was closed for commercial traffic pending rehabilitation work of its asphalted runway.

The airport was reopened on August 19 but only for military and private planes, an official from the CAAP said. 

PAL utilizes the Cotabato Airport for its flights from/to Manila, Cebu and Tawi-Tawi route, while Cebu Pacific flies Manila, Cebu, and Zamboanga routes.

Aeroflot To Fly Manila Next Year

18 August 2023

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot is expected to fly to Manila from Moscow beginning first quarter of next year, according to the Philippine regulator CAB.

The route will be flown by Boeing 777-300ER thrice a week from Moscow's  Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport (SVO) to Ninoy Aquino International Airport arriving midnight in Manila and leaving in the morning to the Russian capital. No specific time schedule has been provided by the airline at this time as they will still be loaded in the Global Distribution Platform (GDS) after official announcement.

CAB said Aeroflot's application to fly to Manila was made in 2017 under CAB Case No. EP-17-3695-ACFD-072017-0045-R and was approved a year later but its introduction into the country was delayed due to the covid19 pandemic which hit the country in 2020.

According to the spokesperson of the Russian Embassy in Manila, renewed application was made by Aeroflot in June this year from Russian aviation regulator Rosaviatsiya, the Federal Agency for Air Transport, for modification of approved route due to landing slot issues in Manila. The renewal was approved sometime in July with route modification. Separate application was made in the Philippines and recently approved by Philippine regulators this week, after obtaining landing slots from Airport Coordinator ACA at the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The new application calls for triangular service from Moscow to Manila and Cebu and vice versa arriving in Manila and Cebu in the evening and then leaving Cebu early morning for Manila early morning arrival and departure to Moscow. 

Under the Russia-Philippines Air Services Agreement approved in 2015, both Aeroflot and Philippine Airlines is entitled to fly daily flights between Moscow and Manila. The 2015 ASA amended the 2009 agreements made between the two countries. In addition, Philippine Airlines also asked beyond traffic rights to London and two other flights to Europe, either in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, and Madrid subject to fifth freedom limitations.

The new agreement also allows Philippine carriers to conduct operations between any point in the country and three destinations in Russia, including Moscow.

Philippine airlines has since utilized Kalibo-Vladivostok and Manila-Vladivostok for its seasonal route sometime in 2017, while Russian Airlines flew Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk to Kalibo from 2016.

Russian Embassy earlier said it registered 27% passenger growth bound for Russia in 2019, mostly Filipino workers in health, construction and mining sectors, attributed to good personal relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, a separate flights from the Russian far east of Khabarovsk to Kalibo, and Vladivostok to Kalibo and Cebu is likewise being prepared for both S7 and Aurora airlines for 2023 winter schedule. Both will be operated by Airbus A320 aircraft.