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Old December 3rd, 2009, 06:27 AM   #401
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Terminal 2 and 3 seeks ISO Certification
Aims service excellence upgrade

December 2, 2009

Manila - THE Manila International Airport Authority launched government campaign to get International Standards Organization (ISO) certification for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminals 2 and 3 by signing service pacts with 13 government agencies operating in the two facilities covering passenger-facilitation process.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is an international authority that promulgates worldwide industrial and commercial standards. Founded in 1947, the ISO has its home office in Geneva, Switzerland, and currently has 158 member-states including the Philippines in its roster.

Terminal 1 has successfully achieved its ISO certification for the 9001 and 2001 versions in March this year. In April, Terminal 1 was upgraded to the 2008 version, and so far is one of the few government institutions that was granted with such certification, according to airport general manager Alfonso Cusi.

Alfonso Cusi said securing ISO certification for the passenger facilitation process for Naia 2 and 3 would give an assurance to domestic and international travelers that they were getting quality services in the country’s gateways.

The ISO is an indication that all of Naia terminal facilities and personnel are geared toward giving its passengers an internationally recognized ritual of assistance, following a world standard.

“Today’s signing activity brings us further to our dream of achieving service excellence at all levels in all Naia terminals. Slowly but surely, we’re getting there,” Cusi said.

The Service level agreements (SLA) involves the participation of 13 government agencies operating at NAIA airport which require them to provide Service Excellence Standards to passengers.

The signed SLAs contain the so-called “service excellence standards” for passenger handling that the 13 agencies hope to raise to ISO levels in the coming months.

Every month, the 13 agencies will submit performance reports to the Miaa’s Quality Management System Committee, detailing percentage accomplishments against targets that they have committed to achieve., which they submit monthly, including their performance reports to a quality-management committee, writing in details the percentage of accomplishments against a prescribed goal.

The 13 participating agencies are the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Wildlife Traffic Management Unit of the environment department’s National Capital Region office; the National Bureau of Investigation, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the transportation department’s Office for Transportation Security, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Philippine Tourism Authority.

“The entire process is laborious and entails commitment to change our airport processes,” explained Tirso Serrano, Assistant General Manager for Airport Development and Corporate Affairs. “But we have done it in NAIA 1 and we are confident we will get NAIA 2 and 3 certified in no time.”

Serrano also announced that MIAA has launched its NAIA Privilege Card Program, an airport assistance scheme allowing bearers to avail of NAIA’s Meet and Assist Service. The MIAA Public Affairs Office is implementing the personalized program.

Meanwhile, the Airport Authority will introduce a Passenger Information System (PIS) to boost security at Manila’s international airport next year. PIS require international airlines heading to the Philippines to provide the airport with information on their passengers and crew two hours before they arrive, said Angel Atutubo, assistant general manager for security.

“The new system is similar to the United States and other European countries,” he said. He added that the system was already in use in Japan, China and South Korea to prevent the entry of aliens with criminal records or suspected terrorists.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #402
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:43 PM   #403
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RP, Russia sign air services accord
TransAero coming to Manila

By CHARISSA M. LUCI
December 5, 2009

Filipinos who intend to fly to Russia don’t need to take connecting flights to reach that country following the signing of air services agreement (ASA) between the Philippines and the Russian Federation that signals the opening of Cebu-Moscow direct flights, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Friday.

The Philippine Embassy in Moscow reported to its home office that the ASA was signed on December 1 by Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Doroteo A. Reyes II and Deputy Minister for Transport Valeriy Mikhailovich Okulov.

In a statement, the DFA said the air pact is “set to facilitate and intensify two-way tourism, trade and investment, and cultural exchanges through the opening of direct flights between the Philippines and Russia.”

The new agreement will replace the 1992 RP-Russia ASA.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Victor G. Garcia III, who witnessed the signing, described the recently-signed pact as “important vehicle” that will intensify the 32-year old diplomatic relations between the two countries.

During the pre-signing meeting held on Nov. 30, Russian carrier Transaero and the Philippine Airlines discussed the opening of chartered flights between Cebu and Moscow.

“Both sides expressed hope that this exercise will materialize as soon as possible and lead to eventual opening of regular scheduled flights,” the DFA said.

During Mrs. Arroyo’s three-day visit to Russia that ended on June 6, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured his government’s nod to the signing of the bilateral air services agreement.

The assurance was made during their 45-minute bilateral meeting last June on the sidelines of the 13th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum right after her South Korea visit.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #404
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Rewards take flight with Mabuhay Miles


A look at PAL's Reward Program
By Louisa Margaret Bonoan-Calawod
December 6, 2009

PAL smiles: Mabuhay Miles is the Frequent Flyer Program of Philippine Airlines (PAL). PAL is recognized as Asia’s oldest commercial airline but it has never rested on that distinction, continuously improving its services, including the ways that it delights customers.

MANILA, Philippines - Generosity in recognizing and rewarding customer loyalty despite the challenges in the airline industry — this, in a nutshell, is what sets Mabuhay Miles apart from the other frequent flyer programs.

And by generosity, we mean endless possibilities of earning that free ticket to your next flight, flexibility in redeeming Miles, and the perks and privileges of being an Elite Mabuhay Miles member.

Mabuhay Miles is the Frequent Flyer Program of Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s national flag carrier. PAL is recognized as Asia’s oldest commercial airline but it has never rested on that distinction, continuously improving its services, including the ways that it delights customers.

Determined to value the loyalty of its customers, it launched its first frequent flyer program in 1984 — the Mabuhay Club and PALsmiles.

Guided by the customer service principle of continuous service improvement, the frequent flyer program of PAL was subjected to a lot of enhancements and face-lifting over the years to ensure that its valuable customers remain happy and are given premium recognition for their loyalty.
Consider these:

Mabuhay Club and PALsmiles started in 1984 as a frequent flyer program for international first and business class passengers. But in 1989, PALsmiles was enhanced to include all frequent travelers in its international and domestic destinations on all classes of service.

In August 2002, Mabuhay Miles became PAL’s brand of frequent flyer program (FFP) which integrated all of the airline’s FFPs — PALsmiles, the Mabuhay Club and the Flying Sportsman (now called SportsPlus).

World-Class Frequent Flyer Program

Today, Mabuhay Miles is PAL’s world-class frequent flyer program; undoubtedly at par with existing customer loyalty programs.

Through its dynamic Product Loyalty Marketing team, Mabuhay Miles has continuously worked on improving the features of its loyalty program.

Earning Miles as you fly

Mabuhay Miles has enabled its members’ earning ability to considerably improve, by earning actual Miles flown and class of service bonuses between 25 percent and 75 percent, with the exception of promotional and non-revenue tickets.

Members who fly on Philippine Airlines code-share partners, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines earn Miles. However, flights in these airlines have to be flown under a PAL flight number to be eligible to earn Miles.

Widened Miles earning ability

A Mabuhay Miles member’s earning ability continues to widen.

The frequent flyer program has increased its full partner list and members can earn Miles from credit card spending, hotel and resort stays, banking services, even car rentals and purchases with lifestyle partners.

Swipe that card, earn Miles


Mabuhay Miles acknowledges that next to Miles earned from airline flights, the credit card comes as the most viable source of Miles for most of its members. And recognizing the worldwide acceptability and convenience of the credit card, Mabuhay Miles partnered with credit card companies to include them in PAL’s frequent flyer program.

The Mabuhay Miles Visa from HSBC was launched in 2002 as the official credit card of Philippine Airlines’ frequent flyer program.

For Mabuhay Miles Visa Classic and Gold cards, every P45 card spent is equivalent to one Bonus Point while for Mabuhay Miles Visa Platinum cards, every P35 card spend is equivalent to one Bonus Point. One Bonus Point is equivalent to one Mile.

Primarily targeted at frequent travelers, it has evolved to include aspiring travelers and those seeking the fastest way to fly free.

This has prompted a lot of cardholders to consolidate their spending to their Mabuhay Miles Visa to maximize the potential of earning more Miles, or else… Sayang ang Miles!

The huge success of the Mabuhay Miles Visa card has inspired Philippine Airlines to launch another co-branded credit card, the Mabuhay Miles MasterCard, with its sister company Allied Bank in 2008. For every P38 card spent, Mabuhay Miles MasterCard holders earn one Point which is equivalent to one Mile.

The Mabuhay Miles Platinum and World MasterCard is empowered and privileged to give “More than Miles ahead.”

Mabuhay Miles members also have the option to convert their Rewards Points, earned from other financial institutions’ Rewards Program, into Miles. (Banking Services: Allied Bank; PNB Credit Card: Allied Bank, Banco de Oro, Citibank, Citibank Guam, Metrobank, PNB, Security Bank, Union Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Union Bank; Remittance Services: PNB.)

Indeed, cards with a mileage-earning component have given members a convenient way to earn Miles for credit card purchases that would otherwise not fall under the mileage umbrella.

The dynamic team of Mabuhay Miles continues to work closely with their credit card partners to offer additional earning activities for its members.

Earning Miles Through Hotel And Resort Stays


Mabuhay Miles members can earn Miles for hotel and resort stays in the Philippines and worldwide. With current partner hotels and resorts like Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Marco Polo Hotel Group, Pan Pacific Group, Tokyu Hotels, The Shilla Hotels and Resorts, Best Western Hotel San Mateo, Crowne Plaza Foster City, Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield, Regal Hotels International, Century Park Hotel, Amorita Beach, Boracay Regency, Boracay Tropics, Friday’s Boracay, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Microtel Inns & Suites, Sumilon Bluewater Island, The Panoly Resort, Pearl Farm Beach Resort and Taal Vista... And with ongoing negotiations for possible partnerships, members will have a long list of hotels and resorts where they can enjoy the comfort and luxury of their hotel or resort stay while earning Miles that they can use in their subsequent flights.

And a lot more...

Mabuhay Miles’ partnership with Hertz enables its members to earn Miles when they avail of the car rental company’s services.

For the shopaholic Mabuhay Miles members, they can earn Miles by purchasing World Traveller and Victorinox luggage.

Indeed, the possibilities of earning Miles are endless, from Time, Fortune, Discovery and Reader’s Digest magazine subscriptions to purchase of tickets to the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Even a purchase of travel insurance through Travelplans by AIU Insurance will earn Miles. Members also have the option to convert their Platinum Loyalty Reward to Mabuhay Miles, earned from the Globe Platinum Loyalty Reward and through accumulated bill usage inclusive of roaming charges and upon renewal of Globe Postpaid subscription.

Flexibility in redeeming earned Miles

One good measure of generosity is flexibility. And Mabuhay Miles surely measures up.

Members are provided with award choices, specifically, with options to redeem their Miles according to their needs. Domestic award ticket redemptions may be made for one-way or roundtrip flights. However, international award tickets are only available for roundtrip travel. Travel awards start with as low as 3,000 Miles. A round-trip flight to the US in economy class will give you a free ticket to Hong Kong.

Mabuhay Miles Flexiflyer award is not capacity controlled and allows members to redeem Miles even on full flights. Members can mix and match awards and fly on a standard award ticket one way and Flexiflyer on the return trip. More importantly, there are no blackout dates for award travel.

Transferring Award Tickets, Buy Miles And Miles Transfer


Award tickets are transferrable to anyone and upgrade awards may be transferred to family and friends who are also Mabuhay Miles members.

A Member can Buy Miles to complete Miles required for a particular flight. Miles can also be purchased and given to someone else or it could be transferred to another Mabuhay Miles member’s account for a minimal fee.

Perks for the sports enthusiasts

SportsPlus is a unique subscription-based feature available only to Mabuhay Miles members, especially the sports enthusiasts. SportsPlus members receive an extra free 20kg luggage allowance for sports equipment on Philippine Airlines flights.

Generous perks and privileges for Elite Members


Mabuhay Mile’s Elite-Level Program allows members to qualify for elite membership. Mabuhay Miles recognizes the fact that individual preferences of members vary according to their needs. Accordingly, Mabuhay Miles continues to focus on the elite member benefits.

After all, what could be more generous than the perks and privileges that go with a Mabuhay Miles membership?

As Elite or Premier Elite Members, you enjoy the following privileges: elite tier-based bonus Miles, access to the Mabuhay Lounges, exclusive reservations numbers, priority waitlist, standby, check-in, boarding and luggage handling and additional free luggage allowance.

Million Milers enjoy the highest level of privileges and receive lifetime Premier Elite membership, four complimentary Upgrade Travel Certificates each year and exclusive gifts.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #405
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PAL expands Australian operations
Adds Brisbane to its international network

December 6, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Sunday said it will expand its Australian operations when it returns to Brisbane in March 2010.

In a statement, the flag carrier said it is eyeing a twice-weekly service to Brisbane in the Australian State of Queensland, and twice a week via Melbourne, using the 302-seater Airbus 330-300 jets.

“The addition of Brisbane service, our third destination in the country, is expected to boost PAL’s market performance as the Australian economy remains resilient amidst the crippling worldwide recession,” said PAL president Jaime J. Bautista.

“With the Brisbane service, we expect to make the existing Australian routes more profitable as we cater to more passengers flying to and from the country including the Filipino migrant community, tourists, and businessmen considering its constantly growing market,” he added.

Bautista said will continue to fly to Sydney and Melbourne five times a week. Sydney will be served exclusively by PAL's new B777-300ER aircraft which features the latest Recaro full-flat seats in Business class and Weber seats with in-seat videos in Economy.

Brisbane is the third most popular tourist destination in Australia, next to Sydney and Melbourne. It is renowned for its rich culture, architecture, and landscape and is famous for its stature as a world city.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #406
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Marinduque joins Seair destination
December 7, 2009

MANILA, Philippines - Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR), the country’s premiere leisure airline, recently announced the opening of a new route to Marinduque. It now flies Manila-Marinduque-Manila every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The island province of Marinduque lies south of Quezon, east of Mindoro and north of Romblon. It features untouched beaches and islets, underwater caves, coral reefs, and therapeutic sulfur springs. Marinduqueños are known for their very hospitable nature, which is reflected in putong, a custom of welcome where visitors are crowned with flowers while local women dance and sing for them. The island is also popular for the annual Moriones Festival, one of the most colorful festivals in the country, celebrated during Holy Week.

“SEAIR is doing a unique service to the country in support of its tourism development goals. We are committed to the mission of bringing travelers from the Philippines’ gateways to its many island destinations,” said Avelino Zapanta, SEAIR president.

SEAIR now offers up to 27 flights every day to and from Boracay (Caticlan), and now has daily flights to the island paradise of Batanes. The airline also recently opened its paradise-to-paradise routes from Puerto Princesa (Palawan) to Boracay and vice versa, every Tuesday and Friday. SEAIR also flies Manila-El Nido-Manila every Wednesday and Sunday.

SEAIR has flown almost three million passengers to local destinations including Tablas (Romblon), Cebu, Clark, Zamboanga, Jolo, and Tawi-tawi. SEAIR also offers the most routes from Caticlan with flights from Caticlan to Manila and vice versa, Caticlan to Clark v.v., Caticlan to Cebu v.v. and Caticlan to Puerto Princesa v.v.

Meanwhile, the airline announces a special limited online offer for travelers who want to experience a chilly holiday season within the Philippines with a 10-percent discount for its flights to Batanes from Dec. 1 to 25. Travel period is from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, 2010. SEAIR flies to Basco in Batanes daily.

Batanes, a visual feast of rolling hills and green pastures, traditionally goes through more seasons than the rest of the country. Its close proximity to Taiwan brings the temperature down to as much as 7° C in December and January. It is the only place in the country that experiences 4 seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter.

Visitors will be enthralled by historical stone houses, lighthouses guarding immaculate shorelines, rocky beaches and cold weather. This picturesque destination is also known for the freshness of its cuisine, and the warmth of its people. Long likened to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland, the Batanes islands more than holds their own as a uniquely pleasurable travel destination.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #407
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Former Asian Spirit owner diversifies into tourism, air ambulance
A look at Archibald Po

Written by Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo

BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan—Archibald Po, former majority shareholder of Asian Spirit (now Zest Airways), is now going full blast in his investments in the tourism industry by opening another boutique hotel.

A pilot by profession, Po also recently set up an air ambulance service in Singapore, bringing in patients as far as Nepal and India to hospitals in the city-state.

In an interview, Po said his new resort, called Hotel Soffia, was built at a cost of P100 million under his property concern, Kifessia Realty Corp. “It’s always been a dream of mine to build a hotel on this island, which I passed so often during my flying days in the 1980s.”

Architect/interior designer/master plumber Chi-chi Victoriano, who also did the Amorita Hotel in Bohol, designed the boutique hotel. Because he is an environmentalist, Po explained that the hotel uses only natural lighting aside from its energy-saving light bulbs, solar heaters, and filters its waste in a leaching field which produces fertilizer, instead of emptying into the island’s sewerage system.

It employs 50 employees in three shifts for its round-the-clock operations, making it a “very lean” hotel, he added. Room rates of the hotel are “affordable”, ranging from P3,500 ++ (standard, twin/triple-share) to P5,000 ++ (superior, twin/triple-share).

Although nestled on a hill in barangay Yapak, the hotel, Po said, will attract Boracay tourists who want quiet and privacy, but still need quick access to the restaurant strip and main white beach. “You just relax here and swim in our infinity pool. Or have your cocktails while taking in the 340-degree view of the island. If you want to go to the beach or the party places, we’ll transport you there. It’s only seven minutes away.”

This is the second boutique hotel to his name after the 48-room Hotel Fleuris in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, built at a cost of P90 million. Said to be a “favorite” among diplomatic embassies, consular offices, Fleuris is now on its 11th year of operation, “but it still looks brand new,” said Po. At least 84 percent of Tripadvisor members who have stayed at Fleuris have dubbed it the “cleanest and friendliest” hotel in Puerto Princesa.

Po said he is considering to build another hotel in Basco, Batanes, and is currently evaluating other possible hotel sites in the country.

“I think the Philippines has no way to go except tourism. That is what will save our economy, not manufacturing, which is already the stronghold of China,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Po recently bought a Hawker jet to beef up his fleet of air ambulances via Executive Jets Asia, a company in partnership with other Asian and American air transport experts.

Po said he invested some $4 million in the company, based in Selatar Airport (East Camp), Singapore, supplying the company’s four-plane fleet. The company also provides cost-effective executive jet transport services to the region’s high-powered businessmen.

“All the jets are convertible to air ambulances,” he explained, adding that the planes, mostly eight-seaters, are chartered by hospitals, insurance firms and individuals needing quick medical evacuations for critical medical conditions.

Po praised the Singapore government for its efficient bureaucracy, allowing businesses to operate with the most minimal permits and signatures required. “An air ambulance, for instance, has to mobilize quickly in less than 45 minutes,” he stressed.

He said he is eyeing to invest another $2 million to expand the operations and maintain four planes in Singapore. He is also eyeing to expand to other countries.

Po also operates LionAir Inc., a charter service with 20 helicopters and two LET aircraft. The company is also the licensed distributor and service center of the Torrance, California-based Robinson Helicopter Co. in the Philippines. A number of well-known politicians and high-profile businessmen in the country are owners of Robinson choppers. LionAir is also the favorite go-to charter service by politicians running in national elections.

In 1995 Po set up Asian Spirit with two other businessmen—Antonio Turralba Jr. and Noel Oñate—capitalizing it a cost of $3 million. In May 2007, he sold his shares in the airline to Antonio Ang, founder of CATS, the distributor of Mercedes-Benz locally. Ang, in turn, along with the airline’s minority shareholders, subsequently sold their shares to juice king Alfredo Yao in March 2008.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #408
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232 Million Jolo airport upgrade completed
December 9, 2009




Zamboanga City- The 232 million pesos US aided Jolo airport upgrade project was recently completed by Manila based construction firm CS Santiago Construction Company and turned over to the ARMM Provincial government headed by Gov. Abdusakur Tan...


Philippine Airlines [PAL] and Cebu Pacific [CEB] are already studying the viability of opening flights from Zamboanga to Jolo, and possibly direct flights from Manila to Jolo to determine the frequency of their future flights,”Asgari said. Zest Airways [RIT] is also mulling its return to the airport he said.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #409
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232 Million Jolo airport upgrade completed
December 9, 2009




Zamboanga City- The 232 million pesos US aided Jolo airport upgrade project was recently completed by Manila based construction firm CS Santiago Construction Company and turned over to the ARMM Provincial government headed by Gov. Abdusakur Tan.


Governor Tan said that "with a bigger airport, more planes can now fly and land safely in Sulu and accommodate more passengers not only from Manila or Zamboanga, but also from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that make up the East Asia Growth Area as it hasten trade and commerce in the province.” He also thanked the United States government through Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney for funding infrastructure projects in his province.

The project funded by the US government USAid program through Growth for Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Regional Impact Project component, has a budget of $3 million dollars supplemented by 90 million pesos counterpart fund from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with a combined total project cost totalling 232 million pesos says Carlos Tan, program director of GEM Infrastructure Identification and Counterpart Management.

“The runway upgrade covers the rehabilitation of the runway, making it durable for heavy aircraft. The design of the upgrading and improvement is intended to accommodate bigger aircraft such as Boeing737s and Airbus 320's,” Carlos Tan said.

The airport expansion and development project hopes to spur economic and trade investment in the island province long torn by armed conflict says Nonoy Go, President of Jolo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Go said that the expanded runway is expected to be a selling point to major airlines in the country which shunned operating in the airport, and with them future investors, particularly those involved in the Sulu archipelago’s expanding mariculture industry.

Usman Asgari, OIC airport manager, said the airfield was constructed by the US military in 1944. “It used to be a US airfield covering about 1,000 meters of runway. The Americans used this place at the height of the war against the Japanese,” he said. The macadam airfield was turned over to the Philippine government after the war and accommodated the workhorse of that time C-47 or DC-3, Fokker Friendship and Hawker-Siddily 480 aircraft.

In 1965, then President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the paving and asphalting of the entire runway when he visited the province. The runway was again extended by another 200 meters by Marcos then another 500 meters, Asgari said.

The 1,700 runway was 18 meters wide although only 1,200 meters is paved. It has now been expanded to 30 meters and length stretched from 1,700 meters to 1,830 meters. The airport's total all-concrete runway length is now 1,845 meters by 30 meters.

Engr. Manuel Jamonir, Project Specialist of GEM, said that, “the airport is design to be a 1,800 meters concrete runway. We added an eastward extension of 630 meters and widening to 30 meters.”

“The works covered the removal and reconstruction of elevated concrete platform, runway strip clearing, grading and landscaping along the runway up to 75 meters from runway center line at both sides and 60 meters in length from the thresholds”, Eng. Jamonir added.

Jamonir also said that, “the provision of a runway and safety area of 60 meters long at both ends of the runway strip was also included in the runway design. However, the relocation of military and Air force facilities as well as resettlement of residential dwellings affected by the expansion is still to be done as they are also covered in the design of the project”.

On top of that, another 90 million pesos is earmarked for the construction of the new airport terminal next year which in 2008 registered a traffic volume of 18,749 passengers.

Currently, Seair's 18-seater Let 410 commuter plane flies the Zamboanga-Jolo route daily. The airport used to handle as big as PAL Fokker 50 planes and YS-11 of Asian Spirit now Zest Air which service the route years ago until it suspended operations due to corporate takeover.

The airports traffic operation is presently restricted similar to Caticlan airport where it uses only one runway for take-off and landings due to the construction project. Except military use of C-130 for transport of troops, it can only accommodate light commercial aircraft.

“Philippine Airlines [PAL] and Cebu Pacific [CEB] are already studying the viability of opening flights from Zamboanga to Jolo, and possibly direct flights from Manila to Jolo to determine the frequency of their future flights,”Asgari said. Zest Airways [RIT] is also mulling its return to the airport he said.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #410
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Philippine Airlines join APG Interline E-Ticketing
IATA IET Compliant

December 10, 2009

Paris - APG Global Associates Chief Operating Officer (COO) James W. Foster announced that the Philippine national carrier Philippine Airlines (PR-079) have now joined APG IET network in November together with eight other notable airlines including the Turkish national carrier Turkish Airlines (TK-235), and the North American Carrier Pacific Wings (LW-568).

France based company APG launched its Interline Electronic Ticketing (IET) solution in January of 2008 with the aim of consolidating interline e-ticketing agreement connecting 84,000 IATA and ARC travel agencies worldwide (initially in 65 BSPs and ARC) that will be able to issue Interline E-Tickets through GDS.

APG Global Associates is the world's leading network for Airline Distribution and Financial Services. With 82 APG Global Associates and Service Partners, The company is present in 115 countries and have relationships with over 240 airlines. Services include Sales Representation Services, variable cost access to BSPs and ARC systems, Interline E-Ticketing, Airline Passenger Insurance, and ATPCO Fare Filing Services.

APG IET counts today 54 airline partners. New partners are added on a weekly basis and APG Global Associates (APG GA) President, Jean-Louis Baroux announces that “we are targeting 100 carriers by 1st quarter of 2010 and are negotiating with airlines all over the world thanks to the expertise of our global network, APG GA”.

APG IET Product Manager, Majbritt Leenaert explained that APG GA has introduced the APG IET program to airlines worldwide in cooperation with its partner Heli Air Monaco (YO/747) who functions as the validating and issuing carrier of APG IET. It is also great opportunity for any airline to gain new interline volume. In addition, APG IET permits Philippine Airlines seat to be sold and ticketed worldwide in 86 BSPs (IATA Billing and Settlement Plans) and ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) in the United States.

APG IET benefits are twofold, 1.) It helps small, medium and large airlines to create new interline business opportunities, and 2.) Widens their BSP/ARC market reach on a worldwide basis.

APG IET is open to all IATA and non IATA scheduled airlines, with the sole condition that they are “E-Ticketing eligible” on GDS.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #411
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Arroyo, Kenny to inaugurate Jolo airport

JOLO, Sulu -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney will inaugurate Monday the upgraded airport in this island province.

The upgrading of the Jolo Airport was realized through the joint efforts of the US Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid)-funded Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, and Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

The total cost of the Jolo Airport upgrading project is P251 million, with GEM chipping in P156 million and the remaining P95 million by the DOTC.

The upgrading project for Jolo Airport includes the extension of the runway from 1,200 meters to 1,845 meters and widening from 18 meters to 30 meters. It is now an all-concrete runway.

Provincial Government officials and business groups foresee that the upgrading of the Jolo Airport will allow the facility to accommodate larger-bodied aircraft, such as Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s.

The largest aircraft that Jolo Airport could accommodate at present is the C-130 "hercules" plane of the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP).

Sulu, which comprises of 19 towns and with a population of more than 800,000, is being served at present by an 18-seater commercial plane that now plies the Zamboanga-Jolo route from Monday to Saturday.

Most of the residents, especially businessmen, rely on the ferries that ply from Jolo to Zamboanga City and vice-versa in traveling from and to this province.

Jolo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) President Nonoy Go said the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) are studying the viability of opening flights from Zamboanga City to Jolo and possibly direct flights from Jolo to Manila and vice-versa.


Jolo Airport Officer-in-Charge Usman Asgari said PAL and CEB personnel have already visited and assessed the airport.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 01:56 AM   #412
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MASwings to launch international services
Heads to Zamboanga and Davao

December 14, 2009

Kota Kinabalu - Malaysia Airlines wholly-owned subsidiary MASwings, plans to launch international services next year to neighboring countries Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, Makassar via Balikpapan in Indonesia and Davao via Zamboanga in the Philippines.

The airline plans to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Davao via Zamboanga in the Philippines and Makassar via Balikpapan in Indonesia by the middle of next year, MASwings Managing Director Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani said.

MASwings intend to launch three times a week schedule to the Philippines and four times a week for Indonesia sometime in April next year using ATR 72-500 aircraft. A short hop to Bendar Seri Begawan will also be made during the day.

"This is in line with the government-backed BIMP-EAGA, Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia Philippines East Asean Growth Area initiative", says Tabrani. "There is unlikely to be any government subsidies for launching the new services and that the airline will have to ensure these services are economically viable. That is why we are considering a stop in Zamboanga and Balikpapan to increase our chances of success"Tabrani adds.

The airline expects to receive its 10th ATR 72-500 aircraft in April 2010 as part of its re-fleeting program which was started in 2007. It received its first ATR in 2008 and six others followed in 2009.
“Our eight, ninth and 10th ATR 72-500 aircraft will arrive in February, March and April respectively,” Tabrani said after signing an agreement converting its options to firmed orders with ATR sales general manager for South-East Asia and Pacific Christophe Potocki.

Presently MASwings has no further options for more ATR aircraft "but it is something we will look at in the future" particularly "if our expansion into the BIMP-EAGA is working for us".

MASwings started its operations on Oct 1, 2007 and offers more than 950 weekly flights serving 22 destinations in Sarawak and Sabah as well as Labuan. It currently has a fleet of three Fokker 50s, four Twin Otters and seven ATR72s. The ATR 72-500 aircraft has a sitting capacity of 68 people.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 01:57 AM   #413
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P2.5-B Caticlan expansion set to break ground

By Daxim Lucas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:15:00 12/14/2009

Filed Under: Economy and Business and Finance, Air Transport, Global Expansion, Investments, Tourism

THE expansion of the Caticlan Airport may get underway as early as next month, paving the way for the resumption of full-scale flight operations to the gateway of Boracay Island in time for the peak summer travel season.

In an interview, Caticlan International Airport Development Corp. (CIADC) president Lino Barte said his firm, which won the right to undertake the P2.5-billion project, would start clearing the hill blocking one end of the runway by January 2010.

“We will need about three months to partially reduce its height,” he said, explaining that the first stage calls for CIADC to shave off approximately one-third from the existing 45-meter high hill.

Reducing the hill by this much will allow larger aircraft used by Cebu Pacific and Zest Air—currently servicing only the Kalibo airport, one and a half hours away by land—to ferry tourists directly to Caticlan.

“We expect to receive our ‘notice to proceed’ from the Neda-ICC within the next few weeks,” Barte said, referring to the Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority.

The Caticlan airport expansion will be made over a seven-year construction period, after which CIADC will operate it under a 25-year, build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract.

CIADC is owned by businessman George Yang—the former owner of the local McDonald’s franchise—who also chairs the firm.

Barte said it will take another six months to completely level the hill and move an estimated 1 million cubic feet of earth to an adjoining property to make way for the eventual extension of the runway, from its present length of 890 meters to the 1,900 meters needed to accommodate Airbus A320 passenger jets.

“We will also build a new airport terminal that can accommodate 1.5 million passengers a year,” he said.

At present, an estimated 800,000 passengers pass through the cramped Caticlan airport terminal. Other tourists are forced to take the long and inconvenient land route via Kalibo.

This inefficient system erodes the attractiveness of Boracay as a tourist destination as many international tourists are put off by the inconvenience.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines (CAAP) director general Ruben Ciron said the CIADC project will serve as a test case since it will be the first time a Philippine airport will be run by a private corporation—a trend that has long been established in other countries.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #414
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Paradise Found – Micronesia – A launch of a new airline


PacificFlier a new Palau based airline will begin flights on the 7th of January. PacificFlier offers services from The Republic of Palau to Manila (Clark Field) The Philippines, Guam, Tokyo (Narita) Japan and Brisbane Australia.*

A long time in the planning and making, PacificFlier has been able to inaugurate a schedule of services with the full backing of the government of the Republic of Palau.

PacificFlier is opening up the very popular tourism destination of Micronesia, namely Palau and Guam by offering direct flights with greater and faster direct access particularly from Australia and Japan.

A team comprising of aircraft and airline operations professionals, freight and passenger marketing experts, government and regulatory advisors in Japan, Philippines, Palau, Guam and Australia have worked on this project to make it possible to experience PacificFlier throughout the extended route network.

Micronesia itself means ’small islands’ and this is a perfect way to describe the hundreds of tropical islands scattered across the heart of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines. Spread over a great distance, each has its own culture and personality. All, however, have one thing in common – they have been blessed with some of nature’s most captivating gifts.

Crystal clear waters beyond your imagination, the most immaculate beaches in the world, stunningly colourful coral reefs, lush rainforests, countless varieties of sea life and proud, welcoming and culturally diverse local inhabitants – that is Micronesia.

In Palau and Guam, PacificFlier have destinations for travellers looking for something new, but close and simply irresistible, just as holidays in paradise are intended.

The flying time is just six hours and is in the same time zone as Australia’s east coast. Passenger fares, freight rates and holiday packages have been very competitively priced with special introductory offers to both Palau and Guam available for all bookings made until 7th of January. So, now a holiday in an untouched paradise is a whole lot easier thanks to PacificFlier.

For all enquiries visit www.pacificflier.com or call 1300 220 757
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Old December 14th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #415
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CEBU PACIFIC AIR announces extra flights for December
December 11, 2009

The Philippines’ leading domestic carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB) increases its December flights to chosen destinations, in anticipation of the peak travel season.

CEB adds an additional daily frequency to its Manila-Hong Kong route, giving passengers an option between five daily flights. CEB’s Manila-Singapore route also gets a boost with an additional daily flight, making it a four times daily service.

Manila-Ho Chi Minh and Clark-Bangkok also get a new six times weekly frequency, while Clark-Hong Kong and Clark-Singapore flights are now daily.

For domestic routes, the airline also added flights for the following routes: flights from Manila to Roxas, Iloilo, Kalibo, Ozamiz and Virac, and from Cebu to Iloilo, Surigao and Zamboanga. Those who wish to go to Manila or Cebu can also take Cebu-Clark flights for more available seats.

“We wanted to widen the availability of seats for our passengers because there are a lot of people who travel during Christmas break. Our Kalibo (Boracay) flights, for example, still have available seats from December 26-30, 2009, especially after we increased our Manila-Kalibo frequency to 8-10 flights per day,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

“We encourage our CEB passengers to arrive at the airport early during peak travel period. It is also advised to book in advance to take advantage of our trademark low fares,” she added.

Passengers can call (02)7020-888 or (032)230-8888, visit CEB ticketing offices and accredited travel agencies or check out the website www.cebupacificair.com for their booking needs. Those without credit cards can now book online and pay via CEB partner banks (Megalink, Bancnet, Banco de Oro, Metrobank and Robinsons Savings Bank).

CEB, Asia’s third-largest low-cost carrier, flies to 32 domestic and 14 international destinations using one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the country. It has the most extensive domestic network in the Philippines and offers the lowest year-round fares.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #416
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Zest Air opens Singapore
But suspends Clark-Hong Kong flights starting Jan. 3

15 December 2009

MANILA - Low cost carrier ZEST Air (Z2) is set to launch flight to Singapore scheduled to start on Jan. 30, 2010 while manifesting its intention to suspend temporarily the Clark flight to Hong Kong starting Jan. 3, 2010 due to fleet shortage.

The airline said the aircraft withdrawn from Clark is needed to augment the traffic demand for Kalibo and for it to service additional charter flights to Korea in January.

Zest Air also attributes lower than average sales out of Clark airport barely two months after it started flying out to Hong Kong after Cebu Pacific intensified its Clark hub by flooding more seats in December 8, 2009. Cebu Pacific now goes to Hong-Kong daily while Zest airways fly three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, leaving Clark at 3:50 p.m.

One senior official from Zest who does not want to be quoted, admits logistical issues as one of the problems plaguing their Clark operation as they cannot efficiently service the route due to limited number of planes on its fleet compounded by the strong demand for seats on other routes.

The airline also suspended its Cebu hub to augment flight demands to Kalibo. They were supposed to receive one MA-60 and one Airbus 320 this month but aircraft delivery was postponed by management until next year.

The carrier currently has a fleet of three Airbus A320, one of them being used for international operations, while the three MA60, a 56-seater turbo-prop plane is used for local destinations.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #417
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PAL adds Taipie from Kalibo
More foreign flights seen out of Kalibo

by Venus G. Villanueva
December 15, 2009

Kalibo - After having direct regular flights from Incheon, South Korea that started December 4, the Kalibo International Airport (KIA) will be receiving starting December 16 direct regular [charter] flights from Taipei, Taiwan.

This will be through Philippine Airlines (PAL), which will have its inaugural flight for this route with its first flight bringing in to Aklan a total of 156 passengers.

Team Asia-Pacific Director Ma. Rica Bueno said this current development is PAL's way of supporting the increasing number of tourists from Taiwan who want to visit Boracay Island, Aklan's tourism jewel.

According to Bueno, Boracay Island is the most popular and most -in-demand beach holiday destination for Taiwanese travelers, getting more popular each day with the increase in direct flights from Taiwan of other airlines.

Currently, Mandarin/China Airlines has two direct regular flights weekly from Taipei to Kalibo and vice versa.

As early as September this year, Boracay visitors, composed of foreign and domestic tourists as well as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families, have breached the half-million marked, bringing in P9,318,471,926.00 in tourism receipts for the period. (PIA)
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:06 AM   #418
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Mactan airport to grace two more bridge
Terminal upgrade in the works

Cebu – The Mactan Cebu International Airport will be undergoing a major terminal upgrade and expansion works next year as it embarks on a system-wide 10 million capacity upgrade of its terminal services said its airport manager yesterday.

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Danilo Augusto Francia said at Marco Polo Plaza Hotel that the project covers a terminal expansion that would add another 6 million passenger capacity to the existing terminal which now handles 4.5 million passengers as of September 2009.

"To rise next to the existing terminal, the new facility will be built to accommodate services offered by five-star airlines and will have a wide range and spectrum of amenities needed by the airlines for their five-star aircraft," Francia said.

The expansion plan covers the installation of two more aerobridges to be installed at the new terminal north of the existing terminal complex to service amenities offered by international carriers Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and soon to fly Emirates Airlines out of the new terminal which will be used exclusively for international operations. At present, there are 12 airlines using the international gateway facility.

According to Francia, they would also build two more airport lounges for business class passengers at the terminal complex according to the wishes of international airlines operating at the airport. Currently, the existing terminal houses both domestic and international flights.

With the bigger terminal, domestic bound passengers would soon enjoy a larger pre-departure area with capacity of 8 million passengers per annum.

“That will build us with 10.5 M for about 10 more years or so.” Francia adds.

Three bidders who would undertake the project are already shortlisted for post qualification and construction work is scheduled to be performed as early as March next year.

Francia also notes that while international passengers is in decline this year due to the global recession, domestic passengers continue to soar growing thirty percent (30%) from last year's figure. He said that from January to June, the airport had a negative nine percent (-9%) growth in terms of international arrivals but had recovered to register some positive gains in succeeding months but is not enough to arrest the annual decline.

Domestic arrivals on the other hand was mainly fueled by price war between local airlines resulting to bringing down of prices in air fare by Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, Zest Air and Philippine Airlines, prompting passengers to fly more often thus the substantial increase.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #419
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RP-Oman air talks result in 17 more flights
Up from a single flight entitlement to Manila


December 17, 2009

Oman Air Airbus 330. The airline is scheduled to commence flight operation to the Philippines sometime next year after the new ASA granted 15 more flights entitlement to four airports in the Philippines from the original two .

Air Services Agreement (ASA) between Oman and the Philippines approved entitlements for 17 direct flights between the two countries, CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said yesterday.


Arcilla said that the new entitlements will add 16 more flight to Muscat from the previous unused one flight each to and from Manila and Cebu. Philippine Airlines used to service the route before they suffered financial problems in 1998.He further said that these existing flight entitlements have not been used by any airline carriers from both countries after the financial troubles of PAL, but state airline Oman Air has already signified its interest in servicing Manila route.

"We now have four new flights going to Manila, seven to the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark, four to Cebu and four to Davao every week," Mr. Arcilla said.

The ASA was formally signed last December 14 in Muscat by the Oman government together with the Philippine air panel composed of officials from the Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, CAB, and representatives from the airline companies.

There are more than 50,000 documented Filipino workers in Oman that currently used the airport facilities of Dubai in going back to the Philippines. With the ASA, Oman Air can now introduce at least three flights a week to the country, a reasonable frequency to sustained regular scheduled flight said an airline representative based in Oman.

Oman air has pending orders for 2 Airbus 330's, one of them scheduled for Muscat-Manila run sometime next year. Official announcement of service is yet to be announced by the airline.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #420
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Zest Air to expand fleet
before resuming Clark-HK flights

BY GENIVI FACTAO
Malaya Business Insights
Dec.17, 2009

Philippine carrier Zest Air has committed to expand its fleet before resuming its Clark-Hong Kong flights, said Victor Jose Luciano, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO.

Luciano confirmed that Zest Air need to cease operations since it has to undergo capacity building to properly serve its passengers.

"Its two aircrafts are fully utilized for Manila, so they need to stop operating Clark. They really need more aircrafts," Luciano said at the sidelines of yesterday’s Tourism Congress.

He added that Zest Air has committed to acquire six to seven aircrafts, targeting to deliver at least 2 to 3 planes beginning next year.

The low cost carrier started servicing Clark-Hong Kong on October 24, flying three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, using its Airbus 320, with a seat capacity of 168.

Zest Air attributes lower than average sales out of Clark airport barely two months after it started flying out to Hong Kong

The firm’s marketing department official said they launched the Hong Kong destination to service the Overseas Filipino Workers from Hong Kong who usually go home during Christmas and New Year.

The firm’s marketing manager claimed it has offered $60 holiday round trip promo to its faithful clients. But its load capacity only reached 30 percent, lower than the projected load factor of 80 percent.

Besides Hong Kong, it flies to Malaysia and Singapore. The airline will extend its network to international destinations in Southeast Asia and plans to fly to Shanghai, Japan and Singapore.

Zest Air’s first brand new single aisle Airbus 320 arrived only last July, joining an existing fleet of two A320s that the airline purchased in the open market in 2008.

"With our plans to expand our operation to the Southeast Asian region, it becomes necessary to grow our fleet size," said Alfredo M. Yao, president and CEO of Zest Air in previous interview.

A320 provides added space and comfort to its passengers, aside from being a reliable and cost efficient aircraft.

John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer – customers, said " With the lowest operating costs in its class and the highest levels of passenger comfort, the A320 will position Zest Air well to offer competitive and profitable service on its growing route network."

Zest Air flies to 21 destinations from both its Manila and Cebu hubs.

Its domestic destinations include Bacolod , Boracay, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Cebu, Clark, Davao , Iloilo , Kalibo, Legazpi, Manila , Marinduque, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Mindoro Tablas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, Virac and Zamboanga.
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