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Old January 26th, 2010, 01:35 AM   #461
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Subic International airport to close
As SBMA mulls converting airport
to logistics center


January 26, 2010

Quick Facts:

* 250 million pesos annual expense for airport operations;
* 200 million pesos annual income in 2008, 150 of which comes from Fedex;
* earns 30 million pesos only in 2009, 25 million of which comes from Fedex until February;


SUBIC -- The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is thinking of giving up its international airport as it has reduced itself into a white elephant since the departure of US transportation giant Federal Express.

SBMA administrator Armand C. Arreza told reporters here that SBMA is eyeing the conversion of the Subic international airport into a logistics center because of the massive development of the much bigger Clark airport.

Arreza said Subic’s seaport facilities would complement the airport services of Clark which is just an hour away with the Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway. "We cannot have two airports in areas which are just an hour apart," Arreza said.

Arreza said SBMA shoulders up to P250 million annually to have the airport running, P150 million in debt service and another P100 million for maintenance cost.

To break even, he said, the airport should be able to mount 12 to 15 flights a day.

"Even when Fedex was here, we were breaking even, and now with Fedex gone, the airport is losing money," he said.

Another advantage of Clark airport is that its landing and parking fees are free.

"We cannot compete with Clark. It is acceptable that there is another airport, so we are looking at it on the economic point of view. We are evaluating the airport," Arreza added.

Fedex pulled out its AsiaOne hub in Subic in February last year to transfer to China.

Subic airport now caters to very few charter flights and training schools.

The airport served as a secondary airport and a main diversion airport of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This airport used to be the Naval Air Station Cubi Point of the United States Navy.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #462
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Potential potholes hinder Clark's expansion plan
Suffers connection and likability problems

January 27, 2010

Manilla's Clark International airport has embarked on a 550 million pesos ($12 million) expansion plan to attract more carriers and become the second international gateway into the Philippines.

To be completed in May, the expansion will add a second storey, arrival and departure lounges, and three aerobridges to the terminal building. "We want to attract more airlines, particularly full-service carriers, but they want amenities like lounges," says Clark's president and chief executive Victor Jose Luciano.

Most of the seven passenger airlines serving Clark are low-cost carriers. The expansion will boost Clark's capacity to five million from two million.

A second terminal for Clark is also planned. The airport is evaluating proposals from potential joint venture partners and expects to make an announcement soon. It will take two years to construct a second terminal, says Luciano.

Clark is hoping to become the country's second international gateway. Manila's Ninoy Aquino International airport handled 22 million passengers in 2008, and the industry believes it will soon reach its capacity of 32 million.

However, there are potential potholes on Clark's journey to become the alternative airport.

The airport is a 2 hour drive along congested streets from Manila's business district. While the government has plans to build a high-speed railway to link the two airports, this will take 10 years.

"The railway needs to be there to make Clark into a premier airport. There should be a serious effort from the government to ensure that another international airport is constructed within three to five years," says Philippine Airlines' president Jaime Bautista.

Others have pointed out that launching a wide-ranging expansion might not be the way to go, and they have questioned how quickly Clark will be able to expand its capabilities.

Cebu Pacific chief executive Lance Gokongwei says: "I will be cautious against expanding Clark to something that will not generate adequate returns."

Ninoy Aquino International airport's assistant general manager Tirso Serrano says: "For it to be a viable gateway, you need two major successes: better connectivity to Clark, and industry acceptance."
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Old January 29th, 2010, 04:18 AM   #463
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PAF Nomad crashed
Kills Nine
January 29, 2010

Cotabato – A Philippine Air Force Nomad N22B plane with tail number 18, crashed Thursday morning killing eight of its passengers, including a senior air force commander and seven other people aboard while one person died on the ground and two others were injured.

Police said among those killed were Maj. Gen. Butch Lacson, commanding general of the Philippine Air Force's (PAF) 3rd Wing Division based in Zamboanga City. The 7 other PAF personnel who died were:

+ Lacson's staff officer Maj. Prisco Tacoboy;
+ Aide-de-camp 2nd Lt. Alexander Ian Lipae;
+ Sgt. Maria Rose Lamera;
+ Sgt. Ian Mejia;
+ Pilot Captain Gaylord Ordonio;
+ Co-pilot 1st Lt. Angelica Valdez; and
+ Crew chief Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Gozon.

A civilian, Inday Mondrano, died after a wall reportedly fell on her when the military aircraft crashed around 11:30 a.m. at Virgo Subdivision, Rosary Heights 9, in Cotabato City.

Meanwhile, Gela Gumiton, a resident in the area, was also brought to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center for head and body injuries she sustained during the incident.

Cotabato Mayor Muslimin Sema said that one fireman also was injured while responding to the emergency.

The 35 year old twin-prop Nomad aircraft left Davao City around 9:00am for Zamboanga City when it landed Cotabato airport to dropped off Tactical Operations Group chief Col. Cris Tumanda before taking-off again for Edwin Andrew airbase at 11:35 am.

The plane was gaining altitude when cotabato tower received a message from the pilot at 11:37 am saying that they would return to the station as they were experiencing engine failure and decided to turn back to the airport. It was on approach to the runway when it lose altitude and crashed, Civil Aviation Authority deputy director Ed Kapunan said a radio interview.

Brig. Gen. Carlix Donila, wing commander of the 530th Air Base Wing said the pilot of the Nomad plane was able to contact the tower minutes before the plane crashed to the ground and burst into flames, setting fire to two houses that it had hit and killing one person on the ground.

"There are four remaining Nomad planes but only three are in service, and they will be grounded pending results of an investigation that will be headed by Brig. Gen. Jesus Fajardo, the PAF’s chief of staff" says air force spokesman Lt. Col. Gerardo Zamudio.

The Nomad plane was manufactured by Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) in Melbourne, Australia. It was ordered by the PAF in 1975 and first delivered in 1976. They were the most reliable and trusted utility plane in the air force inventory mainly based in Mindanao transporting commanders to remote areas including Jolo, Sulu and Basilan.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 04:22 AM   #464
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RP aviation demotion: who is to blame?
No photo

GOTCHA
By Jarius Bondoc

In Nov. 2007 the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded RP to Category-II in air safety and security. This barred RP airlines from setting up new or spreading old services to the US, among other sanctions. The rating came after four months of FAA review of its RP equivalent, the Air Transport Office. Applying international safety standards, FAA found the RP government wanting in basic infrastructures, logistics, and systems. Most telling, there was no skill upgrading for ATO personnel who check airline flight crew.

In response RP rushed creation in Mar. 2008 of a fiscally autonomous Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. Like a corporation it has a seven-man board, six of them Cabinet secretaries: of transportation and communications (as chairman), justice, foreign affairs, finance, interior, and labor. The seventh is vice chairman and director general, retired Air Force general Ruben Ciron, appointed in July 2008. CAAP’s job is to upgrade civil aviation facilities and personnel.

Since then, however, the Category-II grade has not improved to I. Worse, the International Civil Aviation Organization has issued its own bad review. Clustering RP with such backward or failing states like Angola, Bangladesh, Congo, Djibouti, Kazakhstan, Rwanda and Zambia, the United Nations agency said CAAP has “significant safety concerns.”

What caused this? There are two versions.

Immediately upon Ciron’s entry, court and media fighting erupted between the old ATO and new CAAP leadership. The old timers accused the newcomers of amateurism. Allegedly Ciron’s team didn’t even know that the ICAO grade of 28.17 percent meant “compliance,” and took it to mean “findings”. Consequently, they missed the global average of 40.31 percent compliance; thus the unsavory ranking. Blamed on Ciron too was a radar breakdown in Sept. 2009, the first in RP aviation history, closing the country’s airspace for hours. Of 191 navigational facilities nationwide, only 16 are reliable and eight are due for recalibration by end-Feb. 2010. The rest allegedly are in disrepair, although 90 percent of CAAP revenues come from navigational charges on airlines.

Money is also at issue. Supposedly Ciron has hired 104 consultants as of Aug. 2009, mostly military retirees like him, costing P2 million a month and duplicating regular positions. The runway extension at the Boracay Airport allegedly was contracted for P32 million without public bidding. Even Ciron’s giveaway desk calendars last Christmas, costing half-a-million pesos, have been raked up.

CAAP managers counter that the law that created the agency forced them to absorb even the incompetents from the defunct ATO. Of the 104 consultants, 71 were hires of their accuser Daniel Dimagiba, the last ATO chief. These were the same ATO check pilots, cabin crew examiners, airworthiness inspectors, librarians, and medical workers whom the FAA had found inefficient. Ciron did hire 30 or so new consultants, they admit. But these are aviation professionals whose legal, technical and managerial expertise enabled CAAP to take over without hitches.

CAAP’s worst irony is with check pilots for Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s, managers say. It allegedly inherited from ATO men whose flight know-how is only with single engine planes, derided as tutubi (damselflies). A favorite joke among wide-body jet pilots is that their CAAP checker was late for the test because he got lost in the cockpit. The remedy is to lure back Filipino pilots working overseas for monthly pays equivalent to P300,000-P500,000. But the CAAP has yet to raise such money. So in the meantime it relies on Air Force retirees.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #465
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ICAO lists RP aviation unsafe
Affirms FAA finding on Cat II rating

January 28, 2010

By Rainier Allan Ronda

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is in a list of countries with unsafe civil aviation systems drawn up by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

ICAO has listed the Philippines among countries whose civil aviation was found with “significant safety concern” (SSC), according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines-Employees Union (CAAP-EU).

Cesar Lucero, CAAP-EU vice president, said that this was not surprising in view of the CAAP’s failure to address deficiencies of the country’s airport network.

“As we have said time and again, the Philippines will continue to fail to regain Category I status with the US FAA (United States Federal Aviation Authority) and get a satisfactory rating with the ICAO until the leadership of the CAAP, especially the director-general, Ruben Ciron, is replaced,” he said.

In an electronic bulletin last Dec. 18, the ICAO listed the countries with SSC findings as Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Congo, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Philippines, Rwanda, and Zambia.

“The safety oversight audit of the Philippines under the comprehensive systems approach revealed a Significant Safety Concern which remains unresolved by the State,” the ICAO said.

The SSC finding for the Philippines is a double whammy for the country’s local civil aviation industry after the US FAA downgrade of the country from a Category I to a Category II rating due to deficiencies in its civil aviation systems in December 2007.

The US FAA downgrade had caused the Arroyo government to rush passage of Republic Act 9497 which created the CAAP.

Lucero said Ciron, as CAAP director-general, had mainly attended to the hiring of his fellow retired military officers to vital and highly technical positions at the CAAP even without having civil aviation experience and expertise.

“We blame Mr. Ciron and his hiring binge of his fellow retired military generals and colonels and his fellow comrades in the Reform the Armed Forces of the Philippines Movement at the expense of organic ATO personnel who have civil aviation experience and expertise,” he said.

It will be recalled that the CAAP-EU has questioned Ciron’s appointment of retired military officers with no civil aviation management expertise in the CAAP since its creation in late 2008.

The group stressed under RA 9497, the CAAP was supposed to absorb the regular employees of the Air Transportation Office to retain the experienced air traffic controllers and other crucial technical employees of the agency.

Another reason for the creation of the CAAP was to enable it to retain its more than P2 billion income raised from the collection of landing and navigation fees to raise salaries of employees such as air traffic controllers, he added.

Sought for comment, Ciron downplayed the ICAO issuance of the SSC on the Philippines.

“We are addressing that already,” he said.

Ciron said that the reason for the SSC rating by the ICAO was the finding of ICAO inspectors that CAAP lacked technical personnel.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #466
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CEB highlights North Luzon flights in
seat sale as low as P699
Extends P699 seats to select Visayas destinations



Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ number one domestic carrier, highlights North Luzon flights in a ‘Go Lite’ seat sale as low as P699 to nine destinations this January 30-31, 2010, for travel this February 15 to March 31, 2010.

Passengers traveling from Manila to Cauayan (Isabela), Tuguegarao (Cagayan Valley) and Laoag (Ilocos Norte) can now avail of the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of only P699.

Similarly, P699 seats are also available for flights from Manila to Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Roxas, and Tacloban. Meanwhile, those traveling from Manila to Ozamiz can avail of the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of P999.

Those with check-in luggage will just add P100 upon booking.

“We hope to emphasize our flights to North Luzon as the most convenient form of travel, especially with our trademark low fares and well-timed frequencies. Passengers can now reach their destination sooner, and have more time to explore the various attractions in the area,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

She added, “Those who wish to avail of this seat sale can check out www.cebupacificair.com, call the CEB reservation hotlines (02) 7020-888 or (032) 230-8888 or visit the travel agent nearest them.”

Travelers who don’t have credit cards can still book online and pay via CEB partner banks (Metrobank, Robinsons Savings Bank, Banco de Oro, Bancnet and Megalink).

Gokongwei-owned low-cost carrier, CEB flies 1,700 domestic and international flights weekly from its four hubs spread strategically throughout the Philippines: Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao. It uses the youngest aircraft fleet in the country, composed of 21 Airbus and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 07:26 AM   #467
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Strike notice filed
PALEA on collision course with PAL

By E. N. J. David
Businessworld

A STRIKE NOTICE has been filed by employees of Philippine Airlines (PAL) over a cost-cutting plan aimed at stabilizing the flag carrier’s finances.

But going to the picket lines remains a last option, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) said, noting that the strike notice is primarily aimed at getting the government involved in settling a dispute over the airline’s plans.

"The decision to file a notice of strike is to attain the highest degree of participation and involvement of the government in resolving the current situation in PAL. We feel that negotiations in the NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board) would not go anywhere without the government’s intervention and help in negotiations," PALEA President Edgardo C. Oredina told BusinessWorld.

"[A] strike, however, is only a worst case scenario," he added.

In its strike notice, PALEA cited "intended mass lay-off of union members and officers by April 2010, illegal outsourcing of regular positions, direct negotiations with union members, unresolved issues during preventive mediation, and non-compliance of pay scale review during settlement of the wage distortion."

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista last August announced that the airline needed to adopt cost-cutting measures amid a global industry downturn. Among the options being considered, he then said, were aircraft sales, cutting routes, layoffs and a search for a white knight.

Both management and the union began negotiations regarding the outsourcing of non-critical jobs in September. PALEA requested for preventive mediation from the NCMB that month and then asked for the suspension of talks in October, citing the lack of progress.

The DoLE stepped in but was unable to present an early retirement plan acceptable to PALEA, which also asked Malacañang to intervene.

Mr. Oredina said the government must either "help the flag carrier financially to either survive and keep all of its current employees or to provide acceptable separation pay to those willing to be retrenched..."

"Policies that do not protect the flag carrier are one cause of the falling revenues. The government must be willing to put PAL under rehabilitation and infuse fresh capital to it to save it and our jobs because if something happens to the flag carrier it is a black mark on the government," he said

The Labor department, said Mr. Oredina, will be calling a meeting between PAL and PALEA this week.

PAL management, for its part, urged the union to look at the "bigger picture and rise to the occasion.’

"The management of Philippine Airlines is deeply saddened by the decision of the PALEA to file a notice of strike at this critical juncture when the airline is struggling to stabilize its finances as a result of the worst-ever downturn in the global aviation history," it said in a statement.

"We urge PALEA to look at the bigger picture and rise to the occasion. It is particularly instructive to consider the example of other legacy flag carriers, where management and employees have shown the will to make sacrifices to save the company."

It added that it was continuing to communicate with PALEA and hoped that negotiations would be civil and open.

The Labor department normally assumes jurisdiction over labor disputes that are in the national interest. Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque declined to comment, telling BusinessWorld "can’t pass judgment [now] as it would prejudice the case."
Mr. Oredina said: "There are long and complex talks ahead but the main point is to save the flag carrier. We are not for outsourcing but we are open to options for the sake of our members." --
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 07:28 AM   #468
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5J flies back to Caticlan
Starts flight on March 1

February 2, 2010

Cebu Pacific (CEB) announces the resumption of its Caticlan operations starting March 1, 2010, after an almost 7-month hiatus from flying to the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, the gateway to Boracay. Four flights from Manila-Kalibo will return back to Caticlan as well as the Cebu-Kalibo flights.

“CEB is pursuing this gradual transition to Caticlan to make sure our ATR pilots are properly re-certified to operate the route. In as much as we would like to resume our full Caticlan schedule immediately, our main priority will always be the safety of our passengers,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

The airline expects to resume full Caticlan operations by March 28, 2010, with 11 Manila-Caticlan-Manila flights and 1 Cebu-Caticlan-Cebu flight daily. This gives CEB the most number of airline seats to and from Caticlan.

“We hope passengers on our March 1-27 flights can support us in this transition period. We are very happy we can once again open our Caticlan route to our Boracay-bound passengers, and offer the same great value fares we offer to our 31 other domestic destinations,” she added.

The airline suspended its flights to Caticlan last July 10, 2009, following the directive of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) concerning the airport’s safety concerns and its implementation of unidirectional landing and take-off procedures.

Following the completion of the runways extension project, CAAP in a memo dated January 25, 2010 re-certified both ATR 72-500 of Cebu Pacific and MA-60 of Zest Air to take off and land in both directions of Caticlan runway subject to applicable restrictions. The Memo however bars the covered airlines from using the airport particularly during bad weather conditions, as they are advised to divert flights to Kalibo airport. Meanwhile, Zest Air is scheduled to announce its resumption of service next week.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 02:35 PM   #469
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Quote:
Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines are also seeking government assistance A.K.A "bailout" of its huge financial losses to help them support fleet expansion and operations.
Correction, GA used to ask for a bailout, but now they are not seeking any bailout but IPO on this mid year. They were making profit of 1 trillion Rupiah (US$110 million ) last year.

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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:54 AM   #470
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Rockwell Collins secures 5J avionics
Wins first order in RP

February 4, 2010

Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) has chosen Rockwell Collins to provide a full suite of communication, navigation and surveillance systems as baseline equipment for the airline's 15 new Airbus A320 aircraft and its five options. This award marks Rockwell Collins' debut on the Philippine-based CEB fleet.

A signing ceremony to commemorate the agreement will take place at the Singapore Airshow on Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. in the Rockwell Collins Stand U77, USA Pavilion.

"As an airline that takes great pride in providing world-class service at the right price, Cebu Pacific Air understands the critical importance of equipping their aircraft with the most advanced and reliable avionics systems available," said Thud Chee (TC) Chan, vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific for Rockwell Collins. "We look forward to working closely with Cebu Pacific Air to demonstrate the innovation and support provided by Rockwell Collins' avionics, which will help the airline deliver reliability and value to its customers."

The Rockwell Collins MultiScanTM Hazard Detection System is among the avionics CEB selected. The MultiScan system is the first and only radar that analyzes and determines actual weather hazards, not simply atmospheric moisture content, to provide flight crews more accurate weather returns. The MultiScan system is derived from extensive operational experience to create a fully automatic, hands-free airborne radar system that reduces pilot workload and enhances safety and passenger comfort by minimizing unexpected turbulence encounters, and provides optimal clutter-free weather displays.

"This is in line with CEB's continuing commitment to provide the safest and most convenient flights to our passengers. We recognize the quality of Rockwell Collins' avionics technology, and look forward to a fruitful partnership with them," said CEB President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.

CEB also selected the following sensors from Rockwell Collins: ADF-900 Automatic Direction Finder, DME-900 Distance Measuring Equipment, HFS-900D High Frequency Data Radio, GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver, VHF-2100 High Speed Multi-Mode Data Radio, and VOR-900 VHF Omnidirectional Range Receiver. -Peanuts
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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:57 AM   #471
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Competition forced Palex to quit Virac
Blames lack of passengers to suspend flights


The budget airline PAL Express unexpectedly suspended its flights along the Manila-Virac-Manila route last week reportedly due to declining passengers.

PAL Express’ Q400 aircraft took off on its last outbound flight on Jan. 24, leaving air commuters who have already bought promo tickets for their summer vacation here perplexed and exasperated. A source told the Tribune that the management has yet to decide when the flights would resume. The airline’s pullout leaves Cebu Pacific Airlines and Zest Airlines to fight over PAL Express’ market share in terms of passengers.

Records show that for the 10-month period from March 2009 to December 2009, Cebu Pacific got the lion’s share of 62,521 passengers at 45.5%, with PAL Express at 35.4% and Zest Airlines at 19.2%.

While PAL Express had the second biggest share of passenger traffic, its share actually declined from a high of 50% in May 2009, falling to a low of 18% in September before recovering to 24% in December last year.

Its Load Factor, or the ratio of actual passengers over available seats, also fell from 80% in May 2009 to just 46.2% in December.

PAL Express had an average load Factor of 51.48% for the same 10-month period, compared to Cebu Pacific’s 75.48% and Zest’s 61.38%. It’s Dispatch Reliability, which reflected the actual and projected number of flights, was at an average of 92.64%, lower than Cebu Pacific’s 97.02% and Zest’s 94.84%.

Passengers have also complained about PAL Express’ tendency to cancel flights after several hours of delay even during fine weather, earning its management an official complaint signed by frustrated and angry passengers at one time.

Prior to its flight suspension, PAL Express’ Q400 aircraft offered the most number of seats at 76, with Cebu Pacific’s ATR 72 at 72 seats and Zest’s MA-60 at 56 seats.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:58 AM   #472
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Kalibo international flight arrivals grows 300%
Domestic flight arrivals balloons 200%


Kalibo - Caticlan gateway, Kalibo International Airport is the country's fastest growing airport with 5,203 domestic flights and 360 international flights in 2009, data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) showed.

In 2008, the airport registered 2,171 domestic flights and 132 regional flights respectively, barely two years after it was opened for international traffic.

"Kalibo airport accommodated at least one international flight daily last year, either going to Korea, Taiwan, or China and we are expecting more to come this year" says Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez.

Speaking in his State of the Province Address (SOPA), Gov Marquez said that in 2009, Kalibo inbound passengers for domestic flights numbered 360,265 while inbound passengers for regional international flights reached 20,608 compared to 2008's 183,110 inbound domestic passengers and 12,411 inbound regional passengers.

"Outbound domestic passengers registered 377,177 and outbound regional passengers were 20,809 in 2009, a much higher number compared to only 191,685 outbound domestic passengers and 12,839 outbound regional passengers of 2008," Marquez said.

Kalibo International Airports presently handles once a week regular charter flight of Philippine Airlines and the twice a week regular flights of China Airlines to Taipei, Taiwan. Zestair also has regular flights to Incheon, South Korea four times a week. Other non-scheduled charter operators are Korean Air, Pacific Pearl Airways, TransAsia Airways and Shanghai Airlines.

Meanwhile, PAL announced that aside from the regular Taipie flights, the airline will also arrange special charter flight from Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, to Kalibo on Feb 14 with return service on Feb 18.

"The new International passenger terminal is almost 100% complete. But there are still some finishing touches that needs to be done like installation of offices and security equipments and the like" says Marquez. DOTC hopes to inspect and accepts the project this month as it intend to open the terminal before March this year with President Arroyo gracing its inaugural.

On the other hand, Aklan's other airport, Caticlan registered 17,988 flights and 550,084 passengers in 2009, 256,458 of which are incoming ones; 96,585 foreign; 145,505 domestic, and 14,388 OFW passengers.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:59 AM   #473
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Thales and Eaton to power 5J's new buses
February 6, 2010

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific has selected Thales avionics equipment and signed an agreement with Eaton Aerospace for the supply of motor pumps for 15 of its Airbus A320 on orders with delivery starting this year up to 2014. The announcement was made at this week's Singapore Air Show.

The equipment that was selected by the airline includes T3CAS, a product produced and marketed by Thales JV ACSS. T3CAS combines a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), Mode-S transponder and Topflight Flight Management System, Low Range Radio Altimeter.

Nearly 80 percent of the forward fit market is controlled by three avionics giants: Rockwell Collins, Honeywell and Thales. Cebu Pacific earlier awarded contract to Rockwell Collins for the A320's other navigational equipment needs.

Thales’ market share continues to rise buoyed by record sales at Airbus. Rockwell Collins is expected to benefit from the 787 entry into service while GE Aviation continues to augment its market footprint with the recent acquisition of PBN provider NAVERUS. Honeywell remains exposed to a decline of the current 737 line while an updated 777 could emerge around 2015-2017 to power its sales.

"We will support Cebu Pacific Air's goals to modernize its fleet, and we are eager to explore further opportunities to promote CEB's continued growth and success," says Bradley J. Morton, president of Eaton's Aerospace Group.

Cebu Pacific has 15 A320 orders with 5 options.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #474
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Asia's budget airlines fly high
despite global turbulence

February 6, 2010
Singapore - The timing said it all. In the same week that Japan Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection, shares in Singapore's low-cost carrier Tiger Airways climbed on their first day of trading on the stock exchange. Last month's insolvency of Asia's oldest full-service airline on one hand and the successful initial public offering of the 2003-founded budget carrier on the other provided for "quite an interesting contrast," said Peter Harbison, executive chairman of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

It was "probably in many ways a very nice little symphony of the way the world is changing at the moment," he said at a conference ahead of this week's Singapore Airshow, which ends Sunday.

While Asia's full-service carriers have struggled to stay afloat over the past two years of global recession, the outbreak of swine flu and record oil prices, no-frill airlines like Tiger Airways, Jetstar, Air Asia and Cebu Pacific have posted enormous growth rates.

"The low-cost carrier model, if well executed, will grow market share even in times of economic uncertainty," said Garry Kingshott, chief executive adviser of Philippines-based Cebu Pacific.

For the first half of 2009, which was described as an "annus horribilis" by the industry group International Air Transportation Association, Cebu Pacific posted profits of 1.82 billion pesos (39 million dollars).

"Against an industry backdrop of despair," said Kingshott, Cebu Pacific added aircraft, routes and destinations while lowering costs, and its aggressive approach made it the domestic market leader with a share of more than 50 per cent.


Other budget carriers posted similar good news. Malaysia's Air Asia posted a net profit of 130 million ringgit (38 million US dollars) for the quarter through September while Tiger Airways just announced its 21st-straight quarter of year-on-year passenger growth for the period from October to December.

Low-cost carriers in the Asia-Pacific accounted for 15.7 per cent of the total airline seats in the region last year, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a sharp contrast to 1.1 per cent in 2001.

The rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in the region is a key driver of the boom for budget airlines.

Asia's GDP was expected to grow by 5.75 per cent in 2010, the International Monetary Fund said, compared with 1.7-per-cent growth on average in Europe.

"Asia is the place to be," Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis said, noting that the region has a population base six times that of the European Union.

With rising GDP, more people in Asia are able to travel by air, he said, "provided you push your airfare to a level they can actually afford."

For Davis, only the price counts in the highly competitive budget-airline business.

Low-cost carriers in their purest form are retailers like Sam Walton, founder of the US company Wal-Mart, he argued.

"Don't add complexity - don't try to be Tiffany as well as Wal-Mart," he said. "Death, taxes and lower airfares are the only three certain things in life."

Heads of other low-cost carriers, however, are seeking different ways to push their business.

"Our focus is very much to establish a brand," said Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan, adding that the airline upgraded its marketing investment to bridge the business and leisure market segments.

Moreover, Jetstar, owned by Australia's flag carrier Qantas Airways, just signed a deal with Air Asia aimed at cutting costs by cooperating on aircraft maintenance and passenger handling and designing the next generation of aircraft for low-cost operations.

"The only way to survive in this business is to run faster than the environment you are in," Buchanan said. "It is hard to sustainably grow."

Other aviation experts shared Buchanan's concern, pointing to the danger of profitless growth for the fast-rising number of low-cost carriers.

Harbison said he hoped "most of the low-cost carriers" had a sustainable business model in one form or another.

Brett Godfrey, founder of Australia's Virgin Blue, said he was sure that the business would change.

"We will see more real consolidation, real merging and real exits," he said. -Earthtimes
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:06 AM   #475
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LTP seals deal with AirAsiaX
Inks A330/A340 MRO

by Aaron Karp
February 7, 2010

Singapore - Lufthansa Technik Philippines, a joint venture between MacroAsia and LHT, signed a contract last week with Malaysia's AirAsia X to provide MRO services on the carrier's long haul fleet of eight A330s/A340s for three years beginning in March.

LHT Chairman August Wilhelm Henningsen told reporters at a Press Conference that its investments at LTP in Manila and Ameco in Beijing signifies its strong commitment in Asia.

Asia represents "our highest commitment in terms of investments and we are going to expand if needed," he said. LTP for instance, now has 3,000 employees in Manila.

The deal was signed at the Singapore Airshow. The work will take place at LTP's Manila facility. LTP will provide four C-checks and a heavy maintenance check in the first year and also has committed to performing cabin retrofit services. The deal's value was not disclosed.

Henningsen said the recession did not have as severe an impact on MRO providers as airlines. MRO "is not so heavily affected up to now" by the financial downturn, he explained, noting that the "we have not seen the reduction in flight frequencies that we've seen in past crises," particularly in 2001 and 1991. He did concede that MRO work on freighter aircraft has taken a serious hit owing to "a lot of cargo airplanes that have been grounded."

Separately, Ameco Beijing, the joint venture between Air China (60%) and LHT (40%), was awarded a five-year contract for heavy maintenance on United Airlines' 747-400 fleet. Value was not supplied. In 2005, UA chose Ameco to maintain its 777s under a five-year contract, which has been extended for an additional five years. Additionally, LHT and Aeroflot Russian Airlines signed a contract in January under which LHT will provide C checks on Aeroflot's four 767-300ERs with the work to be performed by Ameco.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:26 AM   #476
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5J Rules domestic traffic in 2009
by Lenie Lectura
Business Mirror

Monday, 08 February 2010

DOMESTIC passenger air traffic last year increased by 25 percent to 14.74 million compared with 11.76 million in 2008, aided by the airlines’ aggressive pricing strategies, data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, Zest Airways and Seair transported a total of 14,746,438 passengers out of the possible 18,965,130 seats for domestic travel during the period.

Of the total number, Cebu Pacific, the airline unit of conglomerate JG Summit, recorded 7,234,162 passengers compared with PAL’s 6,047,045.

Cebu Pacific recorded a load factor of 81 percent against PAL’s 77 percent during the period out of a possible 8,941,840 seats for Cebu Pacific and 7,871,586 seats allocated by PAL. Air Philippines, the low-cost partner of PAL, recorded 408,863 passengers out of the possible 588,948 seats; Zest Airways, formerly Asian Spirit, reported 872,223 passengers and 1,309,002 allotted seats and Seair transported 184,145 passengers out of the possible 253,754 allocated seats.

Air Philippines reported a load factor of 69 percent; Zest Air, 67 percent and Seair, 73 percent.

Air Philippines is 99-percent owned by the Lucio Tan Group. PAL, however, is 95-percent owned by Tan.

For cargo, a total of 148,065,939 kilograms were recorded in 2009, as against 136,369,643 kg reported in 2008. Of the number, Cebu Pacific transported 76,412,595 kg; PAL 66,893,326; Pacific East Asia Cargo Airlines 3,626,185; Air Phil 771,366; and Seair 362,467 kg.

In 2008, PAL carried a total of 4,908,876 passengers; Air Phil 913,570; Cebu Pacific 5,350,795; Asian Spirit 374,145; and Seair 217,879.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #477
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Domestic passenger air traffic grew 25.3% in ’09, CAB says

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:28:00 02/07/2010

Filed Under: Air Transport

MANILA, Philippines—The number of people who traveled by air within the country last year grew by a quarter, as those who were on tighter budgets took advantage of cheaper fares offered by local carriers.


Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) released late Friday showed a 25.34-percent jump in the number of people who traveled by air within the country in 2009 to 14.75 million compared to 11.77 million in 2008.

“In international travel, there might have been a slight decline but domestic travel did well because of the tight competition among airlines, which led to lower fares,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said.

Other than the usual tourists, Arcilla said people who used to travel by sea to go home from Manila to their home provinces were now taking planes more often because of the convenience and the decline in prices. “In the past few years, domestic travel has been getting stronger, but international travel is really on a decline,” Arcilla said.

Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific Air ferried the most passengers in the 12-month period at 7.23 million. This is 35 percent more than the 5.35 million the airline carried in 2008.

The company’s load factor or the number of seats filled relative to the number of seats available on each flight, also improved to 81 percent from 79 percent in 2008.

“[The increase was due to] higher loads and successive seat sales and lowest year-round fares,” Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing Candice Iyog said in a text message Friday.

The increase widened Cebu Pacific’s lead as the country’s top domestic airline over rival Lucio Tan-led Philippine Airlines (PAL), which had 6.05 million passengers in the period.

The flag-carrier’s yearend result was 23.2 percent higher than the 4.91 million domestic passengers it carried the year earlier. PAL’s load factor dipped slightly to 77 percent from 78 percent in 2008.

PAL’s sister firm, PAL express, carried 408,863 passengers for the year, or less than half of the 913,570 passengers it had the year before.

Southeast Asian Airlines or SEAir, meanwhile, also posted a decline to 184,145 from 217,879 in the same comparative periods.

However, Zest Airways, which re-branded itself from Asian Spirit to reflect the interest of its new owner juice—magnate Alfred Yao, posted the most dramatic year-on-year growth of 133.12 percent to 872,223 passengers in 2009.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 01:45 AM   #478
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SBMA at odds on airport's future
Decoding Subic's financial woes

February 10, 2010

Subic — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is at a loss on what to do with Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), once the Asia Pacific home of US cargo giant Federal Express (Fedex) since 1996.

The airport, after Fedex left and transferred its Asia One logistics hub to China in February last year, has been losing 20 million not in pesos but in US dollars that should have gone to its loan amortization payments adding to its financial woes that ran in a billion pesos per year. Fedex paid $40 million (1.8 billion pesos) per year to SBMA.

With almost one billion pesos operational price tag deficit, Subic authorities are still reluctant to close it down. SBMA has been paying 500 million pesos annually to keep it open spending up to P250 million for airport operations, P150 million in debt servicing and another P100 million for maintenance cost. Now they have to pay 500 million pesos more coming from the taxpayers money.

Armand Arreza, administrator and chief executive officer of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said that it doesn’t make sense anymore to continue its operations economically. He said that “It doesn’t even break even anymore, as it did when FedEx was still here.”

Arriza however said that they are still evaluating the airports viability and exploring alternatives for its use, which was then part of the U.S military base and formerly a Naval Station of the United States Navy before it was turned over to the Philippine government in 1994.

Subic airport serves as a secondary diversion terminal for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila with a 2,728-meter runway, modern navigational systems, and a 10,000-square meter passenger terminal that could handle 700 passengers at any given time. It has far better facilities than nearby Clark airport which is the main diversion route.

The airport can also handle 41 commercial civil aircraft from stand and remote parking locations, a capacity proven in the past few years when a fleet of Taiwanese airlines were diverted to Subic after the island-nation was buffeted by typhoons.

“There is no rush to close the airport,” Arreza said even if its losing money. “Actually, we are still marketing the airport and looking for other alternatives to make it useful.” Among the options being considered by SBMA is to turn part of the 200-hectare airport into a logistics area.

“If we convert 40 hectares of the airport’s 200-hectare area, then we can raise about $80 million for commercial development,” Arreza said.

The planned conversion of part of the Subic airport is consistent with the SBMA expansion program, which was meant to address the limited commercial and industrial space in Subic’s controlled area.

“The trend now in Subic is to move out of the central business district, and even outside the traditional boundaries, the fenced-in portion,” says Arreza.

“This 40-hectare portion could serve as an additional logistics area, while the rest could be used for commercial development,” he added.

The airport only now hosts a number of flight training schools, while its dream of attracting airlines for its hubs was largely a failure due to likability and connectivity issues to Manila, the same problems plaguing Clark's aviation growth potential. Some attempts by several airline firms failed and the airport is just servicing foreign charter flights for Subic bound tourists, particularly to its gaming and leisure industry.

SBIA records showed an aircraft movement in the airport significantly dropped from 108,686 in 2008 when FedEx still operated out of Subic, to just 57,246 in 2009. Passenger movement plummeted from 10,682 in 2008 to only 7,059 in 2009.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 01:46 AM   #479
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ATC woes threaten MNL aispace
by Recto Mercene
Business Mirror

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Manila - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Monday assured that air operations in the country remain normal and dismissed talks that air-control tower personnel are mulling a walkout.

CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron made the statement to disabuse the mind of the flying public, which might be affected by the allegations that appeared in a daily newspaper, saying that the allegation is being floated by a disgruntled employee facing libel and administrative charges.

Ciron said the source of the erroneous information is not even an air-traffic controller but a low-level security personnel under the abolished Air Transportation Office (ATO).

“The source of the story is Cesar Lucero, who claims to be the CAAP Employees Union vice president, the same employee who had been consistently coming out with statements in the same newspaper that tend to undermine the credibility and integrity of the authority.”

“It is because of these acts inimical to the service that Lucero had been criminally charged with libel by CAAP…for spreading false information, and was consequently suspended for 90 days while his case remains under review,” Ciron said. He is also facing administrative charges before the CAAP’s hearing and adjudication board.

“Preventive suspension is not considered punishment but only as a deterrent measure to prevent him from tampering with CAAP documents, or influencing the outcome of the administrative investigation.”

Ciron said one of his first acts upon assuming office was to look into the welfare of the agency’s 3,500 employees, which is one of the first steps in the upgrading of the CAAP’s quality of service.

“For the first time, CAAP employees enjoyed receiving their 14th-month pay twice, on December 2008 and December 2009,” he said.

This is aside from their overtime, night-differential pay, medical and other benefits that had been immediately paid for. These are now part of the regular budget and no longer subject to availability of funds, unlike in the previous Air Transportation Office.

Ciron had since directed the CAAP finance department to process all 2009 financial claims of all its employees, including air-traffic controllers.

The CAAP has been trying to fast-track the appointment process within the allowable limits as evidenced by the creation of two-level selection boards.

As to the allegations that the country has scores of defective navigational aids (Navaids), this has long been categorically denied by the service chiefs who continuously monitor the performance of the equipment.

CAAP had even hired the services of Air New Zealand last year to augment the local capability for flight calibration of Navaids and related facilities.

“So far, there have been no adverse findings on the reliabilities of the Navaids, which otherwise would have been reported by pilots,” according to the chief of Air Navigation Service.

Ciron has been working to return the CAAP into Category 1 status. The remaining obstacle is the hiring of qualified technical personnel, now being fast-tracked by the CAAP, the Department of Budget and Management and the Civil Service Commission.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 05:40 AM   #480
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PAL offers 'early bird' fare for Brisbane route
abs-cbnNEWS.com | 02/10/2010 4:53 PM



MANILA, Philippines - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will resume its flights to Brisbane, Australia starting next month and is offering a special round trip fare for early bookers.

The Lucio Tan-led airline is set to relaunch its Brisbane route on March 17 with thrice-weekly flights from Manila (Manila-Melbourne-Brisbane-Manila).

PAL first flew to Brisbane in 1985 but was forced to shut down its Australian services in 1998 as the Asian financial crisis took toll on the airline's operations.

"The restoration of Brisbane to the network completes our comeback in Australia, following the return of Sydney and Melbourne in recent years," PAL said in a statement released Wednesday.

"It presents an excellent opportunity to build business, trade and tourism links between the Philippines and Queensland. In particular, the new service opens access to visitors from the Philippines to the popular Gold Coast Tourist destination near Brisbane," it added.

PAL said a round trip fare to Brisbane will cost $552 for those who will book flights from February 10 to 15, 2010. This is good for travel between April 5 and August 31, 2010.

The introductory rate includes applicable surcharges but not government taxes and service fees. Tickets may be purchased via PAL's website or ticket offices, or through accredited travel agents.
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