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Old September 25th, 2009, 04:24 AM   #341
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Boracay remains unaffected by Caticlan Airport problems


By Luc Citrinot

It went almost unnoticed, except in the Philippines. On June 29th, a 60-seat aircraft from domestic carrier Zest Air overshot Caticlan Airport’s runway forcing to a closure of the airport. It was the second serious incident at the airport in a six month-time.

The problem is that Caticlan serves Boracay, one of the Philippines most popular resort destination. The airport has been reopened but only for small 19-seat aircraft of commuter airline SE Air and only for one-way operations. All other airlines with 60 to 70-seat aircraft had to divert their operation to the next airport in Kalibo, an over two-hour-drive and boat ride from Boracay Island.

Caticlan airport redevelopment has been a long time topic for Philippine tourism with the project of upgrading the airport. The airport is surrounded by sea and a hill providing difficult landing conditions for aircraft. Its runway is in fact limited to only 970 meters. The urgency comes from the fact that the airport is now among the top five busiest in the country with some 800,000 passengers a year.

In 2007, Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the construction of a new US$ 44 million passenger terminal to serve the rising influx of visitors to Boracay Island. In the final project, originally due for completion in 2014, the apron and the runway are to be expanded by reclaiming land. The airport would then have its runway extended to 2,100 meters, enough to welcome aircraft up to the Boeing 737. International traffic will, however, continue to land at Kalibo airport.

But following the accident, the Philippine Department of Tourism and the Philippine Department of Transportation have worked together to accelerate the airport’s upgrading. The plan is to taper a portion of the neighbouring hill to remove obstacles along the runway. Works are du to be completed this month, before the start of the peak-season, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) is assisting the government in its efforts to upgrade the runway and the airport’s safety.

They have been earlier plans to flatten completely the nearby hill but it is likely to face the protest of surrounding population as well as environmentalists, who are gaining more voice in the country. The rest of Caticlan Airport Development Project will then be funded by the Caticlan International Airport and Development Corp. (CIADC), a Filipino-owned company in the form of a build-operate-transfer (BOT) operation. However, for many domestic and foreign observers working in the tourism field, problems faced by Caticlan Airport are just another typical story “made in Philippines.” “We have heard for a long time about the necessary renovation of Caticlan Airport. And what happened last June is just a reflection of the problems faced by our country when it comes to infrastructures’ development. There is still a long way to get transport infrastructures to international standards and this turns to be a major handicap to a proper development of tourism in our islands,” said Candice Iyog, vice president Marketing for Cebu Pacific Air.

Boracay in Western Visayas is one of the Philippines’ most successful stories of the past decade. According to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board, Boracay has seen the total number of tourists growing from 200,000 in 2000 to 635,000 in 2008 –including 200,000 foreign arrivals. The island alone generates over US$275 million annually in tourist revenues.

Data point out that 69 percent of all international travelers to Boracay come from Northeast Asia, with Korea alone representing 46 percent of all foreign arrivals- and 13 percent from Europe.

H1N1 virus has so far failed to dent into the growth of the destination this year. For the first six months of 2009, arrivals to Boracay surged by over 5 percent to reach 400,000 visitors.

This year, Boracay could then end up with some 675,000 to 700,000 tourists on its shores. New deluxe hotels have opened up over the last three years, the latest being the Fairways Golf Resort and Country Club, the Discovery Shores Boracay, the Mandala Spa and Villas Boracay and most recently the exclusive Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #342
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PAL must downsize to be competitive

DEMAND AND SUPPLY
By Boo Chanco

September 25, 2009


At last, Philippine Airlines is recognizing the realities of the times by preparing to downsize its staff. The labor union is up in arms and is threatening legal action but even the Supreme Court cannot overturn the new rules of airline finances.The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is predicting an $11 billion loss for world airlines in 2009 and most of these losses would be borne by so called legacy airlines like Philippine Airlines.

It happened to the American car industry just a few months ago. General Motors and Chrysler had to file for bankruptcy and get government financial assistance because their labor costs are no longer competitive to the Japanese brands who are also manufacturing cars in union-free operations in some Southern states.

In the case of the car companies, the labor union had to become extremely reasonable. GM’s Bob Lutz called Ron Gettlefinger, the UAW president, a labor statesman. Indeed, the UAW agreed to a lot of demands that meant cuts on such legacy costs as lifetime health care and pensions for retired workers, massive lay offs and changes in shop rules to bring down labor costs to competitive levels with Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, among other foreign brands. Being intransigent was not an option because that would mean closure and total job losses.

In the airline industry, the same thing is starting to happen. Recently, British Airlines got into trouble with its unions because of plans to trim operations and staff in line with a drastically reduced demand for airline passenger seats. The unions are acting tough but it is likely that they will have to give in sooner than later.

In addition to tough economic times, British Airlines also faced fierce competition. The budget airlines such as Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Virgin are attracting the more budget conscious passengers these days. And let us not forget the pummeling the airline finances got from soaring fuel prices.

In Asia, the situation is the same. The mighty Singapore Airlines was forced to mothball a considerable number of planes in its fleet for lack of passengers. It is also cutting down on unprofitable routes and all these steps mean they are laying-off staff too. Malaysian Airways, Thai International and even Cathay Pacific are all in the same predicament.

Japan Airlines, the flag carrier of the country with the world’s second biggest economy is in danger of going under. JAL is desperately negotiating with American and other foreign airlines for assistance in exchange for equity stake and a large say in management. It is thus not surprising that Philippine Airlines, a legacy airline, is now saying they have serious financial problems that need drastic solutions.

“The bottom line of this crisis ... is larger than the impact of 9/11,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO. Industry losses for 2001-2002 were $24.3 billion. IATA attributed the worse ever loss to declining demand, rising fuel prices and exceptionally weak yields. Passenger traffic is expected to decline by four percent and cargo by 14 percent for 2009. Yields are expected to fall 12 percent for passenger and 15 percent for cargo.

Though “the global economic storm may be abating,” Bisignani warned that airlines “have not found safe harbor” and that “the crisis continues.” IATA predicted that the industry would post a loss of $3.8 billion in 2010. Industry revenues in 2009 are expected to be $80 billion less than 2008.

Bisignani predicted that “revenues are not likely to return to 2008 levels until 2012 at the earliest.” Asia-Pacific carriers will likely post a loss of $3.6 billion, roughly in line with the previous forecast of $3.3 billion.

Here at home, Philippine Airlines has finally snapped out of its state of denial. Among other things, they are now admitting their old business model is no longer viable. They have too much staff at 8,000 compared with Cebu Pacific at just 2,000. And to top it all, Cebu Pacific is now flying more domestic passengers than Philippine Airlines and presumably presents a better bottom line as well.

For PAL to be more competitive, it has to adopt the same business model of Cebu Pacific. It must have less full time staff. They need younger staff that is paid less and more fuel efficient planes. They have to get rid of other legacy costs that make the airline less nimble. PAL has acquired newer and more fuel efficient planes but is hamstrung to act decisively on the staffing problem.

The other negative of PAL these days is the threat of a labor strike. I got stranded in Los Angeles the last time they had a strike. Now that there is a threat of a strike, I am having second thoughts buying a PAL ticket for use two or three months forward. I don’t want the problems of being stranded.

Frankly, if I had my rathers, I would rather fly PAL than Cebu Pacific because PAL has better seats. For short flights, I can suffer the seats at Cebu Pacific. But for a flight of over two hours, I would choose PAL. Many others, it seems, don’t mind some discomfort in exchange for the cheap fares of Cebu Pacific.

The way it looks to me, the plan of PAL to rationalize its staffing is not a legal issue that the courts can decide. It is very much an economic issue. No court can force Lucio Tan to bleed still more money in PAL if he decides that he has lost enough in the airline through the years. There are easier ways of making money for the taipan. He doesn’t need the headaches of another labor tussle like the last one.

It is entirely possible that the labor union can win its case before the courts as it did the last time. But their victory will be pyrrhic if the airline goes out of business anyway. PAL’s labor union must study what the UAW did in the case of the American car companies and help management save PAL from its current financial troubles. They have to take the long view… the big picture. Or they will lose their airline and their jobs and there is nothing the Supreme Court can do about it.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 05:35 AM   #343
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Manila remains a profitable destination for JAL
But cuts 21 other International Routes

September 26, 2009

Tokyo - Asia's biggest airline announced this week that it intends to keep its operations in the Philippines amidst recent announcement of cutting 21 of its unprofitable international routes as part of the company's massive re-structuring program after reporting $ 1 billion in losses for the period of April-June this year.

Japan Airlines operation to the Philippines has been downgraded since July 1, 2009 with its afternoon flight serviced by Boeing 767's due to economic downturn says the JAL Group in a statement. But in August both services were downgraded from Boeing 747 to 767 service or a capacity reduction of about 30%.

The airline said that in accordance with the FY2009 management plan, drastic adjustments are being made to the network and fleet size so as to more closely match capacity to demand, and allow the Group to improve profitability. However servicesis expected to be upgraded back slowly when traffic to and from Manila improves particularly during the peak months of December and January.

A downsizing strategy will be implemented in most of JAL's route network affecting 15 flights on 14 international routes, where jumbo 747-400s will be switched to medium-sized 777s and 767s, and medium sized 767s will be switched to even smaller 737s.

As part of its corporate reconstruction plan presented on Sept. 15, JAL will cancel all of its loss-making routes both at home and abroad within the next 3 years totaling 50 unprofitable routes that is 29 flights to cities in Japan and 21 to overseas destinations.The company also plans to completely withdraw from seven domestic and nine overseas airports.

The international routes to be abolished includes flights from Narita to Rome, Amsterdam, Brisbane and Sao Paulo, as well as those from Kansai to Singapore and Hangzhou.

JAL secured a 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) loan from the Japanese Development Bank in June to keep flying until the end of the year but needs more money from the State to fund a restructuring plan. It seek as much as 250 billion yen ($2.5 billion) more through a mixture of equity and debt financing. It already cuts 6,800 jobs from its payroll to stay afloat.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #344
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NAIA turns into pier
By Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star)
Updated September 28, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Hundreds of departing passengers were stranded last Saturday when more than 10 international and domestic flights were canceled and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1

was shut down after portions of the airport were flooded by heavy rains brought by tropical storm “Ondoy.”

Manila International Airport Authority general manager Alfonso Cusi said yesterday that he activated the airport crisis committee after flood waters swamped Terminal 1 including the engineering room and electric power had to be shut down last Saturday until early Sunday as a safety measure.

Some flights bound for Manila were diverted to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark Field, Pampanga and the Mactan International Airport in Cebu last Saturday.

The departing flights from the NAIA Terminal 1 were suspended until around 2 a.m. yesterday.

Airport authorities were forced to announce flight advisories through radio stations, television and text messages to update passengers.

Airport assistant general manager Tirso Serrano said airport workers had to remove plastic bags and other garbage brought by floodwaters that were scattered at the steel fence of Instrument Landing System (ILS) located at Runway 24 near Multinational Village gate.

Departing passengers started arriving at NAIA 1 as early as 5 a.m. yesterday.

Allan Solis of Caloocan said he arrived Saturday around 5 a.m. at Terminal 1 for his flight to Dubai, but his flight was rescheduled four times until yesterday morning.

Saudi Airline passenger Lyra Mindalano from Mandaluyong said she boarded a taxi for the airport and it took 13 hours through traffic to reach NAIA last Saturday, only to find out her 2 p.m. flight to Jeddah was canceled so she was forced to sleep at the airport and wait for her new flight schedule.

Flights at Terminal 1 later resumed and are now finally back to normal starting at 1 p.m. yesterday.

“Heavy rains that flooded most areas of Metro Manila including the airport’s adjacent areas of Parañaque and Pasay City also adversely affected some crucial areas of the airport such as the electrical section and even the presidential lounge forcing us to temporarily shut off our electrical facilities at Terminal 1 but the other terminals continued with uninterrupted power supply,” Cusi said.

He said a 150-meter stretch of the airport security perimeter fence near the runway also collapsed due to the floods at around 12 midnight Sunday and airport security personnel were deployed to secure the area while construction workers conducted repairs on the wall.

“NAIA is still coping with cancelled flights yesterday, but with close coordination with the international and domestic carriers, we are restoring usual or regular flight schedules,” Cusi added.

“Despite the challenges posed by the bad weather, floods and the pressures on our terminal facilities and amenities, we commit to do our utmost best to sustain safe and convenient airport services at NAIA,” Cusi said.

Some unscrupulous residents living near the airport runway also bored holes at the concrete perimeter fence to divert floodwaters from their houses.

“Kaya lalong bumaha sa airport dahil dun,” said Cusi who even led the distribution of relief goods to some 1,000 families living near the airport that were affected by the flood.

Cusi said that international flights like Asiana Airlines to Seoul and Pusan have already departed. The other flights that have departed included the Emirates flight EK 333 for Dubai, two Qatar Airways flight QR645 for Dubai, Cathay Pacific flights CX 904 and 906 for Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines flight SQ 915, Jet Star bound for Hong Kong, Northwest Airlines flight 081 for United States, Saudia Airlines flight SV 869 for Jeddah, Etihad Airways flight EY 421, Japan Airlines flight JAL 746 bound for Narita and KLM flight 804 bound for Amsterdam.

Philippine Airlines canceled their domestic flights from Manila to Cebu PR 847, PPS-Manila PR 196, Manila to Tagbilaran PR 175 and Tagbilaran to Manila while Cebu Pacific flights to Legazpi and their turn around flights including Busuanga were canceled.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:17 PM   #345
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Quote:
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From the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sept. 28, 2009 Issue



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Domestic, got this from Gmanews Facebook

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from GMAnews Facebook
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Old October 1st, 2009, 06:45 PM   #346
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PAL hit hard by slowdown in international traffic
By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 01, 2009 12:00 AM



MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expected to suffer a loss for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2010 mainly due to a slowdown in international traffic that has affected not only local airlines but the entire world aviation industry as well.

At the sidelines of yesterday’s stockholders’ meeting of PAL parent PAL Holdings Inc., PAL president and CEO Jaime Bautista said that while they posted earnings during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (April to June), the second quarter covering the July to September 2009 period is expected to be a loss while the third and fourth quarters of the 2009-2010 fiscal year may be break even. With PAL accounting for almost 100 percent of PAL Holdings’ revenues, the financial picture of the two companies are almost the same.

Last fiscal year, PAL registered a $301- million loss, largely due to increased fuel cost and the economic slowdown. “This year, we expect the loss to be much lower than last year’s,” Bautista said.

Asked to describe the third quarter (July to September 2009) situation, PAL’s chief executive noted that traffic is still down considering the effects of the worldwide recession.

But while PAL’s international passenger traffic is down, its domestic passenger volume has increased. “Domestic traffic has not been very much affected and this we attribute to the efforts of the Tourism department to improve tourist arrivals to the country,” he pointed out. The international business accounts for about 70 percent of total revenues for PAL.

He said that while revenues are expected to be down for the current fiscal year and the company is projected to realize a loss, passenger traffic for the combined international and domestic businesses is expected to slightly increase from last year’s 8.95 million passengers to around nine million.

Bautista, who is also the president of PAL Holdings, however pointed out that the projected nine million passengers flown for the current fiscal year is still lower than expectations.

So far, PAL has reduced capacity by seven percent following expectations that the market will be down by about 10 percent.

And because of the reduction in capacity, Bautista said there is a need to reduce manpower. PAL has asked its employees’ unions to avail of the early retirement, after which rationalization of manpower will follow. “We are looking at a seven to 10 percent cutback in manpower,” he revealed.

Bautista told stockholders that the past fiscal year covering April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009 has been a difficult year for the airline industry in general, mainly due to increased fuel cost and falling passenger demand.

He noted that there was a 38-percent increase in average fuel prices, from $89 in 2008 to $123 in 2009, coupled with higher fuel consumption and the depreciation of the peso against the dollar.

As a result, the company posted a P12.26 billion loss for the last fiscal year, an increase from the P528.5 million loss in the previous year.

Bautista said they expect the market to remain depressed in the months ahead and the situation to be extremely challenging.

“We are now on the second quarter of an extremely difficult fiscal year which is showing no signs of recovery. And so far, the April to June results have not been encouraging,” he stressed.

In order to boost the company’s financial condition, Bautista revealed that they are tapping new traffic streams, reducing flight frequencies in low-performing areas, redeploying capacity, deferring non-essential capital expenditure, and trimming route network and capacity in response to the changing demand condition.

“Our company will be severely tested by the current downturn. But we are working to succeed and return to profitability,” he said.

Meanwhile, PAL Holdings said it fully supports the cost-cutting measures being pursued by PAL to survive the crisis that continues to plague airlines worldwide.

Bautista also revealed that they are eyeing new destinations either through charters or regular scheduled operations. PAL is also expecting to take delivery of its brand new and fuel-efficient Boeing 77-300ERs and is in the final stages of its $50-million program of refurbishing the current fleet of B744s.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #347
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PAL slashes all its domestic fares
(The Freeman) Updated October 04, 2009 12:00 AM


CEBU, Philippines - Philippine Air Lines is slashing all its domestic fares by P400 as additional financial assistance in the wake of massive devastation wrought by tropical storm Ondoy over the weekend.

Dubbed as BIYAHEnihan, according to Jonathan Gesmundo of the PAL, the P400 fare reduction is applicable on one-way tickets to any domestic destination of PAL and PAL Express.

“This is a way of assisting typhoon victims and their relatives to fly to Manila or to the province to enable them to be with their families,” Gesmundo said in a press release sent to The FREEMAN.

Gesmundo said the tickets may be bought through the PAL or PAL Express websites and or ticket offices or any accredited travel agents before October 8.

The travel must be completed by October 31.
Earlier, PAL offered to airlift for free selected donations from the provinces for the typhoon victims addressed to any reputable, non-profit charitable organization in Manila. — Garry B. Lao/BRP (FREEMAN NEWS)
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Old October 5th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #348
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Bacolod-Based Aviation school Expands

plans P123-million expansion

By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
October 3, 2009

Filipino-American joint venture Aeronavigation Academy International Philippines Inc. is expanding its existing aviation training institution in Silay City, Negros Occidental with a project cost of P123 million.

The training institute is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) of the Department of Transportation and Communications as a pilot school on May 28, 2009 with a validity of up to May 26, 2010. The certification is renewed annually.

The P123 million investments would be used to acquire 17 new airplanes five of which have already arrived to augment its existing two airplanes.

The company will also purchase new aircraft simulator, aircraft fuel trucks, transportation vehicles, and other related equipment.

At the same time, it would also construct additional aviation facilities such as hangars and training/administration complex.

The company’s curriculum follows the existing guidelines by CAAP. Its training courses are being administered by Qualified Flying Instructors (FIs) and Ground Instructors (GIs) to ensure quality standards and safety. In some of these course, students will receive a set of training materials as well as laptops.

The company is 30 percent owned by American firm Aviation Holdings International LL and 70 percent Filipino investors Uldarico Raul Galeste, Jaime Vergara, Rodolfo Vergara, Cesar Poe, and Amado Marking.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #349
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Amadeus powers Zest Air
October 5, 2009

Wider customer reach paves the way for Zest Air's expansion into Asia
Amadeus, a leading global technology partner to the travel and tourism industry, today announced a deal with Zest Air, a leading domestic carrier in the Philippines, to distribute its flights on Amadeus' world-leading Global Distribution System (GDS).


Travellers will now be able to pre-book flights to destinations across the Philippines from more than 100,000 travel agencies worldwide. This will save them the inconvenience of having to book domestic flight tickets after arrival in the country. The broadened distribution will also help support Zest Air as the carrier prepares to move beyond the Philippines to cover key destinations in Asia.

Paul Martin, Director of South East Asia and the India Subcontinent in Amadeus Asia Pacific's Airline Business Group, said, "This is a landmark deal for Zest Air as it enters a period of exciting growth. By distributing its flights on Amadeus' GDS, Zest Air will significantly widen its customer base to reach a critical mass that is vital to its regional expansion."

"The Philippines is growing in popularity as a global tourism destination, and Amadeus is correspondingly increasing its support to travel providers in the country. We are thrilled to have been chosen by one of the Philippines' leading domestic carriers to drive bookings on its routes in the country, and following that, in Asia," he added.

Zest Air plans to widen its route network to include cities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia and South Korea.

Ambassador Alfredo Yao, Zest Air's President and CEO, said, "Since its inception in 2008, Zest Air has successfully fused creativity and modernity with excellent service, and this has resulted in our airline's strong growth. We have selected Amadeus as our distribution partner because it understands the needs of fast-growing airlines like Zest Air and exhibits the same qualities of innovation and customised service that we value."

"Distribution through Amadeus will not only establish Zest Air as a global player, it will also provide our customers with enhanced convenience and accessibility to our flights. We intend to leverage Amadeus' industry expertise to support our strategic development, and hope to strengthen our relationship in the coming years."

A young brand in the aviation industry, Zest Air operates seven aircraft and flies to 20 destinations around the Philippines.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #350
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Omni Aviation Expands
beefs up trainer fleets


October 5, 2009

MANILA, Philippines - Omni Aviation, the country’s leading flying school, has added four new aircraft to its fleet of training airplanes. One of these airplanes is a Cessna 152 Aerobat, an aircraft capable of performing various aerobatic maneuvers.

Capt. Ben Hur Gomez, president and chairman of Omni Aviation Corp., said they now have 22 airplanes consisting of 16 Cessna 152s, five Cessna 172s and one twin engine Piper Seneca.

The acquisition of the Aerobat bolsters Omni’s reputation as the Philippines’ premier source of safe, reliable, and well-trained pilots. “The Aerobat provides students advanced training in upset (unusual attitudes) recovery, along with stall and spin recognition and avoidance,” he said.

“The Aerobat trains students to maintain control of the aircraft in conditions of unexpected severe turbulence. In this situation, an aircraft can be tossed around or even flipped upside down. Omni Aviation now has the capability to train its students to analyze and make correct decisions in order to return to safe normal flight,” he added.

Capt. Gomez founded Omni Aviation in 1994, right after his retirement from Philippine Airlines (PAL). He served with PAL for 38 years and capped his career as vice president of safety and security. He ended his career as a Captain of a Boeing 747 with more than 33,000 hours of flight experience without a single accident. His experience and reputation has made Omni Aviation what it is today – an honest company.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #351
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Can you?

Can you tell me all the tail numbers of PAL B747-400?
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:14 AM   #352
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Air Philippines sets refleeting program

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror | 10/06/2009 10:26 PM

MANILA - Air Philippines, the low-cost partner of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), will undergo a refleeting program before the end of the year.

“Air Philippines will soon announce its refleeting plan since it is a separate company. It will operate on its own. It will be a whole new Air Phil.,” said PAL president Jaime Bautista.

Air Philippines is 99% owned by the Lucio Tan Group of Companies. PAL, on the other hand, is 95% owned by the group.

Air Philippines, for the moment, has ceased operations. “Yes, it has stopped flying the 737-200 jet aircraft because these consume more jet fuel than other types of aircraft. It needs to be replaced,” Bautista said.

PAL Express, another low-fare unit of PAL, is currently flying the routes assigned to Air Philippines, added Bautista.

Both PAL and Air Philippines, said the PAL executive, are looking to strengthen their operations with modest fleet and route network buildups despite predictions by the International Air Transport Association of a dip in industry earnings due to higher fuel prices.

The two airlines have had close complementation in their flight operations, feeding passengers into each other’s networks and ensuring seamless connections via their joint hubs at Naia Centennial Terminal 2 in Manila and Mactan International Airport in Cebu.

Bautista said the partnership of PAL and Air Philippines yielded operational synergies that enabled the alliance to deliver a superior product to passengers.

Air Philippines carried 254, 244 passengers in the first half of the year out of the possible 335,392 seats while PAL transported 3,207,060.

The company used to operate Bombardier Q300 turbo-prop aircraft but these are now being operated by PAL Express, which carried a total of 623,000 passengers from April 2008 to March 2009.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #353
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CEB inks partnership with Canadian-based NAVTECH
New flight planning software to increase flight efficiency

Cebu Pacific (CEB), the leader in the Philippine aviation industry, recently signed an agreement with Ontario-based Navtech, Inc. for the use of the Navtech Flight Planning (NFP) software which will further improve operating efficiencies.

NFP is a superior state-of-the-art flight planning software, provided by Navtech, a leader in flight operations software serving more than 350 airline and aviation services customers.

Navtech CEO Mike Hulley said, “Navtech combined Cebu Pacific’s mixed fleets onto a single platform, enabling our new mapping technologies and online filing functionality to support their dispatchers.”

Their product enables CEB pilots to use dynamic route construction functionality and optimized fuel burn calculations. The software also has integrated graphics and textual weather for the most efficient and optimized routes.

“CEB passengers will definitely benefit from this new technology because it allows us to sustain our low fare advantage in the market. Using this world class technology helps us to save on fuel and other operating costs, which we continue to pass on, in the form of lower fares, to our passengers,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

CEB is the third-largest low-cost carrier in Asia, flying to 32 domestic and 14 key international destinations in the ASEAN region. It has a current fleet of 21 Airbus and 8 ATR72-500 aircraft, and expects delivery of 19 more aircraft from 2010-2014.

For more information on its flights, check out www.cebupacificair.com or call its reservations hotlines (02) 7020-888.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:16 AM   #354
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Seair turns Caticlan crisis into opportunity

MANILA, Philippines—Just a few months ago, niche carrier South East Asian Airlines was struggling on the ropes in a mismatched fight against larger competitors, which unceremoniously and progressively entered its “home turf” of Boracay over the last two years.

Long used to a virtual monopoly in the lucrative Manila-Caticlan air route, Seair suddenly found itself looking for a new business model after the “invasion” of other airlines, according to its president Avelino Zapanta.

New approach

“We had to think of a new approach,” he said in a recent interview with the Inquirer. “We would run out of money if we competed with them head on.”

The airline diversified its operations to give more emphasis on developing routes to less popular destinations which had the potential to become travel hotspots in the future.

But then, the unexpected happened.

A string of accidents in Caticlan involving one of its competitors forced aviation regulators to rethink operations at the small airport (which is, ironically, also one of the country’s busiest) that serves as the main gateway to the world-famous Boracay Island.

In the first incident, a turboprop MA60 aircraft of Zest Air crash landed when it undershot Caticlan’s 900-meter runway. A few months later, another MA60 of the same airline overshot the same runway.

After an investigation, aviation officials declared Caticlan a “one-way takeoff and landing” airstrip—meaning that flight operations could only be conducted in one direction—effectively preventing larger aircraft from using it.

This left Seair, with its relatively smaller, 32-seat Dornier Do 328 turboprops as the only airline able to operate under the new restrictions.

All of a sudden, the airline that was reeling on the ropes was back to its virtual monopoly status. Seair soon began to reap the financial rewards of being the only operator to service the popular route.

During the interview, Zapanta showed no glee at having been the beneficiary of the tightened regulations. But he did reveal that the airline had taken advantage of the situation, in part, to meet the consistently strong demand for flights to the resort island.

“Even before the July 9 [2009] announcement that the other airlines would be pulling out [from Caticlan operations], we have already added flights,” he said. “Before this, our flights had become very infrequent, maybe only nine or 10 times a day. Now we have been able to raise that to 18 flights a day.”

But the response from the flying public has been enthusiastic, prompting Seair to acquire a third Do 328 aircraft from Germany last July.

“When we input the new aircraft that came in, our flights [to Caticlan] would go to 20-25 a day, and as many as 27,” he said.

Toward the traditional peak travel season, Zapanta said Seair will raise the number of Manila-Caticlan flights to as many as 32 a day.

“That was our old frequency before the ‘invasion,’” he said. “So it’s really just going back to our old level, and perhaps a bit more.”

Growing demand

Last month, the airline also relaunched flights between Caticlan and Cebu to meet the growing demand for direct services from tourists in the country’s second largest city.

So enthusiastic has been the public’s response, in fact, that Seair now intends to acquire a fourth Do 328 by next month.

“It will be the same [aircraft] type,” Zapanta said. “That’s because that’s the most suitable type of aircraft for Caticlan. All other turboprops in the market today will have to have a payload penalty.”

“Ever since, our pricing has always been at a premium,” Zapanta said. “We have differentiated our product, because the cost of transfers are included—from the airport all the way to the island so the passenger won’t be hassled anymore.”

Fastest flights

More importantly, Seair also has the fastest flights to Boracay, even when its competitors were still serving the same route.

With or without the presence of larger rivals, however, Seair maintains a loyal following in a niche market of leisure travelers.

“We also had a loyal high-end market that would stick with us through thick and thin,” Zapanta said. “They didn’t want to be associated with low-cost carriers. So we would like to strengthen our capacity here.”

To do this, Seair has begun to “divert” these clients to other routes using a “blue ocean” strategy that, it is hoped, would make competition “irrelevant.”

“We found new destinations like Basco in Batanes, Masbate and Marinduque,” he said, adding that Seair is now working closely with local governments and the private sector in these locales to develop their potentials as tourism destinations.

New routes

“We’ve already started charter operations for Marinduque,” he said. “After an observation period, we may start scheduled service.”

Nonetheless, the Boracay market will remain Seair’s “bread and butter” for the foreseeable future, despite having priced itself at a premium to its former rivals.

The Seair chief also acknowledges that the party will not last forever. At some point, the airline will lose its virtual monopoly status, especially with government having promised to expand Caticlan airport to be able to accommodate larger aircraft.

“We don’t know the timetable of the government, but I think we have some time. That should give us a head start,” according to Zapanta. “It’s best for us not to worry about it and concentrate on improving the service so that we are able to strengthen our position.”
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:20 AM   #355
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SC affirms ruling on PAL dismissal of cabin crew

10/06/2009 9:00 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court has affirmed with finality its July 22,2008 ruling that the dismissal of some 1,400 cabin crew personnel of local carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was illegal.

In a 31-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, the Court’s Special Third Division denied for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by PAL seeking the reversal of the ruling.

The High Tribunal held that the Lucio Tan-led airline’s reduction of personnel was illegal as it failed to comply with certain standards established under the law.

The Court dismissed PAL's claim that the pilots’ strike on June 5, 1998 caused the company to bleed financially, thus justifying the retrenchment of the flight attendants belonging to the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP).

“We find this argument untenable. The strike was a temporary occurrence that did not necessitate the immediate and sweeping retrenchment of 1,400 cabin or flight attendants,” the High Tribunal noted.

The Tribunal's 2008 decision has made PAL a landmark case that provided lessons to shaky companies that are considering retrenchment of its employees. It has also become a guide to labor unions and employees to detect forms of illegal dismissal. (Read: Retrenching workers? Don’t repeat PAL’s mistake)

Recently, PAL has offered early retirement packages to its employees until end-October as it plans to reduce its 8,000-strong workforce by at much as 10% this year.

At present, the company said manpower accounts for 18% of the company's total expenses.

Backwages, reinstatement

While affirming the core of its 2008 decision, the High Tribunal has reconsidered its previous order that PAL immediately reinstate the retrenched cabin crew, and pay their backwages and separation pay.

It said these are no longer feasible since a substantial fraction of the 1,400 flight attendants have already been recalled, reinstated, or relieved from the service while others have already reached the mandatory retirement age or even died. A good number of the retrenched employees have also received separation pay and signed quitclaim.

Previously, PAL's monetary award to the affected flight attendants would reach a whopping P2.3 billion.

Based on review of the case' records, the Supreme Court said that it will instead remanded the case to the labor arbiter “solely for the purpose of computing the exact amount of the award” to be given to the dismissed employees.

“After finality of this case, the records will have to be remanded to the labor arbiter who decided the case at the first instance. There the actual amount of PAL’s liability to each and every flight attendant will be computed. Both parties will have a chance to submit further proof and argument in support of their respective proposed computations,” the Court said.

The SC also reduced to P2 million the award of attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation. In its previous decision, the Court directed PAL to pay attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total monetary award.

Pilots' strike

During the oral arguments on the case, the SC said PAL admitted that the principal and true reason it had to lay-off cabin personnel was not the downsizing of aircraft fleet size but the June 5, 1998 pilot’s strike, where around 600 of its pilots abandoned their planes and refused to fly.

As a result of this pilots’ strike, PAL said it suffered revenue losses equivalent to P100 million daily and P50 million of lost fixed costs.

The Court, however, held that there was no necessity for PAL to permanently implement its retrenchment scheme considering that the strike was only temporary.

It added that PAL could have implemented other cost cutting measures as temporary measure to defer the adverse effects of the pilots’ strike.

11 years after

After the 1998 retrenchement of the flight attendants, PAL is again reducing headcount to cut costs.

PAL is offering early retirement packages to its employees until end-October as it plans to reduce its 8,000-strong workforce by at much as 10% this year.

At present, the company said manpower accounts for 18% of the company's total expenses.

"We are currently reviewing our entire organizational set-up. We want to make PAL lean and mean so it will be agile and flexible enough to adapt to the new economic climate," PAL Holdings President Jaime Bautista previously told reporters during its recent annual stockholders meeting.

"We now have lower capacity, so we need to reduce manpower," Bautista explained.

Aside from reducing its workforce, Bautista confirmed that PAL will outsource its non-core services to prevent the company from incurring further losses.

In a notice sent to the PAL union early this month, he said services to be initially outsourced on November include catering, passenger handling, ramp handling, and cargo-handling operations.

Due to the brunt of the economic crisis on the global airline industry, PAL Holdings Inc. reported a total comprehensive loss of P12.26 billion for fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

These losses are the holding firm's second in a row after losing P528.54 million in the previous year.

PAL has also reported a 12% drop in total revenues from April to June, its first quarter for fiscal year 2009.

Early this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the global airline industry is likely to lose $11 billion this year due to the economic crisis, higher than its previous forecast of a $9-billion loss. IATA said this would be driven mainly by lower passenger and cargo traffic this year, which the group expects to drop by 4% and 14%, respectively.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #356
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PAL loses P3-b labor case

Manila Standard
Oct. 7, 2009

THE Supreme Court has ordered the labor arbiter to compute the compensation due some 1,400 cabin crew that Philippine Airlines retrenched in 1998 after the flag carrier was placed under corporate rehabilitation.

The high court’s order came after it affirmed its decision in July 2008 declaring as illegal PAL’s dismissal of the cabin crew, and then tossed back the case to the labor arbiter so it could compute exactly how much the carrier owed them.

Initial estimates showed that Philippine Airlines owed the employees P3 billion, Daniel Reyes, the airline union’s lawyer, said earlier.

The Court said that the flight attendants who had reached retirement age or had died should receive back wages up to the date of their retirement.

Those who had not been re-employed by the carrier—including those who had executed quitclaims and received separation pay or financial assistance—should be reinstated without loss of seniority rights and paid full back wages. But the amounts they had already received should be deducted from whatever amounts were adjudged to them individually, the high court said.

It said the flight attendants who had obtained substantially equivalent or even more lucrative employment elsewhere in 1998 or after were deemed to have severed their employment with the carrier.

“They shall be entitled to full back wages from the date of their retrenchment only up to the date they found employment elsewhere,” the Court said.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said he was disappointed with the high court’s decision.

“While we have yet to receive a copy of the said decision, PAL is disappointed that the high tribunal did not appreciate our arguments that the termination of PAL employees, including [Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines] members in 1998, was necessitated by the fact that PAL was under rehabilitation, which is equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” Bautista said in a statement.

“We will wait for the official copy of the Supreme Court decision to study its implication and determine our legal options,” he said.

Bautista last month told the Philippine Airlines Employees Association that management planned to outsource or spin off some units including catering, passenger handling, ramp handling and cargo handling because of heavy losses.

In response, the association said this planned “second wave of outsourcing” would affect the job security of the 2,000 to 4,000 employees assigned to those departments.

“It seems 10 years of labor sacrifice were not enough,” group president Gerry Rivera said. Rey E. Requejo
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:22 AM   #357
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Aklan execs hail Caticlan airport plan

First Posted 23:01:00 10/06/2009

MANILA, Philippines – Aklan officials and tourism stakeholders have welcomed the proposed expansion and improvement of the Caticlan airport, the nearest gateway to the world-famous Boracay island resort, to accommodate bigger and more planes.

In a press statement, Representative Florencio Miraflores said the project would solve the problem of accessibility of Boracay to tourists, most of who pass through the airport of Kalibo, the provincial capital, and travel for one-and-a-half hours to get to Caticlan.

Caticlan airport’s obsolete facilities and short runway allow the landing of only small airplanes.

Governor Carlito Marquez said the lack of world-class transport had hindered the full development of the country’s tourism industry.

Special attention

The governor has prioritized tourism as Aklan’s development thrust, the statement said. Boracay, as one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines, should be given special attention by the national government, it said.

He said the drawing power of Boracay had already been proven for many years and should take precedence in “the use of scant resources for tourism development.”

Fast-track project

The two Aklan leaders said they would seek the help of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in “fast-tracking” the Caticlan airport project. They belied reports that local officials here were against the implementation of the project, the statement said.

The expansion and improvement of the airport will be undertaken with the highest consideration for passenger safety and environmental protection, the statement said.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:23 AM   #358
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Commercial flights to Guiuan expected

By Vicente Labro
First Posted 23:02:00 10/06/2009


TACLOBAN CITY – The opening of an airport in historic Guiuan town in Eastern Samar, to commercial flights and the completion of other infrastructure projects will attract more tourists and investors on Calicoan Island, officials said.

Guiuan Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan said commercial flights would start next month after the completion of the P155-million Guiuan Airport Development Project.

In an interview on Sunday, Kwan said that she had talked with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air officials about her request for flights to and from Guiuan.

Cebu Pacific promised to start flights in November, she said, while the PAL manager in Tacloban had “endorsed favorably” the plan to the airline’s head offices in Manila.

The project included a new apron and taxiway, a passenger terminal building, a fire department building and perimeter fence, as well as the installation of a single-phase electrical line and asphalt overlay of the runway, Kwan said.

The mayor also disclosed that the P38-million water system project in Calicoan Island had already been completed. “In the past, many investors in Calicoan had backed out because of lack of potable water,” she said.

Potable water will be supplied to seven of the town’s villages, including four in Calicoan – Pagnamitan, Baras, Ngolos, and Sulangan.

Kwan said two major telecommunication companies had also put up towers in Calicoan, allowing people to use their cellular phones.

Guiuan has a big tourism potential because of its natural wonders and rich heritage, said Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras, who was in Guiuan to attend the inauguration of the town’s Tourism Information and Pasalubong Center on Saturday.

Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, sailing under the flag of Spain, first set foot on Philippine soil in Homonhon Island, which is a part of Guiuan, on March 16, 1521.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 09:58 AM   #359
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romantic_guy08 View Post
From Pinoyexchange.com PRs first B77W

Quote:

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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #360
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Quote:
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Can you tell me all the tail numbers of PAL B747-400?
RP-C7471
RP-C7472
RP-C7473
RP-C7475
RP-C8168
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