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Old February 11th, 2010, 12:29 PM   #481
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Can you please tell me PR's MEL routings & frequencies?

I think it's going to be;

x2 Weekly MNL>MEL>BNE>MNL (A333)
X2 Weekly MNL>MEL>SYD>MNL (A333/777)
X1 Weekly MNL>MEL>MNL (midnight flight) (A333)

I think the current lone midnight flight will be axed when the Brisbane connections start.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #482
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Clark airport raises capacity to 2.5m

Manila Standard
Feb.11, 2010

Clark-based Diosdado Macapagal International Airport will raise its passenger capacity by 500,000 to 2.5 million annually starting this April, officials said.

The P300-million second phase expansion of the airport is on schedule with its March completion target, officials said.

President Arroyo will inspect today the airport, one of several infrastructure projects she has vowed to complete before her term ends in June.


The airport, which is named after her late father, will feature two aero bridges, flight information display, close-circuit television, background music, public address system, X-ray machines, escalators and elevators, among other modern amenities.

The airport is host to foreign and local carriers flying out of Clark to such routes as Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Hongkong, Macau, Bangkok and South Korea with connecting flights to the US, China and Japan.

The Macapagal airport and other major ports throughout the country have been developed or upgraded through an 800 percent increase in fund support given by the Arroyo administration, Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza said.

From 2001-2009, around P831 million was allocated for airport projects compared to the P99.84 million allocation from 1994 to 2000, he said. Albert Lacanlale
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Old February 18th, 2010, 01:47 AM   #483
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PAL denied Korean and Saudi Arabian flights
As RP Airlines struggles for operating permits abroad

GOTCHA
By Jarius Bondoc

February 17, 2010

RP aviation’s poor international rating has begun to trouble Filipino airlines. This is the gist of Foreign Undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin’s recent letter to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines chief Ruben Ciron.

On Feb. 8 Ebdalin wrote Ciron that Korean civil aviation officials had nixed Philippine Airlines’ bid for a Cebu-Seoul route. Saudi Arabia too may delay resumption of the flag carrier’s Manila-Riyadh flights. Authorities in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia have begun inquiring about RP’s aviation record and policies. Meaning, international operations Cebu Pacific and Zest Air too could be impaired. Revenues would be lost from the traditional high-profit routes.


The cause of all this is twofold. First, in Nov. 2007 the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded RP to Category-II in security and safety. Facilities and personnel of the Air Transport Office were found wanting. Sadly it was the private sector that suffered from government’s poor grade. Filipino carriers to the US were barred from setting up new or expanding old services.

The CAAP hastily was formed to stop the decline. Hardly any improvements happened, though. So hit, second, the recent posting by the International Civil Aviation Organization of “significant safety concerns.” RP was lumped with backward or failing states like Angola, Bangladesh, Congo, Djibouti, Kazakhstan, Rwanda and Zambia.

The UN agency found that of 191 navigational facilities RP-wide, only 16 are reliable, eight are due for recalibration by end-Feb. 2010, and the rest are in disrepair. Again private carriers are the ones punished for the CAAP score, in terms of restrictions like the Korean action against PAL. Yet 90 percent of CAAP revenues come from navigational charges on airlines.

Ebdalin in his letter asked Ciron what CAAP is doing to address the US-FAA and ICAO concerns. The answer is yet unknown, as Ciron’s performance is being reviewed by Malacañang.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza is claiming in press releases that airports RP-wide improved under President Arroyo. This was supposedly because of an 800-percent funding increase in 2001-2009.

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Old February 20th, 2010, 09:10 AM   #484
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PAL 777 start flying downunder
Launch service today

February 20, 2010

Manila- The oldest airline in Asia is set to upgrade its Australian service one month ahead of its planned launch as Philippine Airlines is set deploy its latest brand new Boeing 777-300ER on its Sydney and Melbourne services today, February 20.

The company said that the response from the Australian market has been phenomenal with the introduction of its latest aircraft that they have recorded impressive growth in its reservation surpassing the capacity of the current A330-300 which can accommodate only 302 passengers.

This prompted the airline to advance services arrival one month ahead of schedule. The service will set new standards on the Australian routes, offering a larger and more spacious aircraft with wider seats, wider aisles, more headroom and seat-back video on demand in all cabins.

The 370-seat aircraft upgrade in the Australian market by Philippine Airlines will be followed by the March 18 launch of the carrier’s new twice-weekly A330-300 services from Brisbane.

Qantas Airlines also fly the route four times weekly utilizing Boeing 767-300's to Sydney and Brisbane. With the service upgrade, Philippine Airlines could potentially strengthen their hold of the Philippine-Australian market from the current 56% to as far as 70%.

The airline's new business class will offer the most modern features available on direct flights between Australia and Manila, including the only fully flat beds amenity.

A new triangular schedule in March will see the 777 fly five times a week from Sydney to Manila and three times a week from Melbourne, in addition to another two Melbourne services each week aboard an Airbus A330 which also connects from its Brisbane service.


Meanwhile, PAL narrowed its losses in the first three quarters of its current fiscal year as it reported a “total comprehensive loss” of $40.2 million for the April to December 2009 period of its 2009-2010 fiscal year down from the $330.2 million loss recorded in the same period a year earlier.

The airlines total revenues for the period decreased by 15 percent to $1.08 billion, with both passenger and cargo revenues showing declines of 26 percent to $805 million and 14 percent to $73.5 million, respectively.

Its total expenses as of December decreased 30 percent to $1.1 billion as compared to the previous year’s $1.56 billion which is mainly attributed to the sharp decline in fuel prices last year.

However, its revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) numbers are down 3.2 percent despite a 7.3% increase in passenger numbers as it transported 7.02 million passengers compared to 6.54 million passengers carried a year earlier. Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) is an airline yardstick for profitability as it reflects the revenue generated based on passenger sales volume indicating sluggish sales and stiff competition from low cost carriers. The airlines Passenger load factor (PLF) was 73.91 percent, further sliding from the 76.12 percent recorded in the same span in 2008.

PAL in a statement said the result “fell below expectations, but was still noteworthy, being a significant reduction” from the $330.2 million loss it posted for the same period in 2008.

PAL has currently two Boeing triple seven in service with four others on order for 2012 delivery.
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 03:24 PM   #485
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PAL eyes new international routes, expects to perform better
By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) Updated February 22, 2010 12:00 AM



MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines
(PAL) is continuously looking at new international routes, even as the company expects to perform better this fiscal year ending March 2010 compared to the previous year.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said that one of the new destinations being eyed is in India. The last time the company flew there was decades ago.

Meanwhile, as early as 2005 and 2006 when PAL purchased its 777 jets, it has been looking at new destinations in the United States, like San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.

“The problem now is the yields because of economic crisis. Appetite for travelling has gone down. The low fares has also contributed to low yields,” he noted at the sidelines of the induction ceremonies of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP).

PAL’s chief executive however pointed out that they are just waiting for the economy to recover, maybe in one or two years’ time.

Another factor that prevents PAL from adding new routes or increasing the number of flights to the US is the downgrading of the Philippines’ aviation safety oversight category from Category 1 to 2.

On Dec. 26, 2007, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed the Philippine government about the downgrading due to serious concerns about the local Air Transportation Office’s oversight of air carrier operations. Category 2 indicates that the FAA has assessed the Philippines’ civil aviation authority as not being compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards for the oversight of Philippine air carrier operations.

While under Category 2, Philippine air carriers flying to the US or PAL in particular can continue current operations to the US but will be under heightened FAA surveillance. PAL likewise cannot add to its existing US operations.

A review of the Philippines’ categorization is scheduled next month. PAL expressed hope that the Philippines will be returned to its Category 1 status.

Bautista also said that there will always be growth in the domestic travel sector. “Our budget carrier (PAL Express) will continue to grow. Their growth is still higher than our growth because people always look for cost. In terms of number of passengers, there is still growth,” he added.

On plans to outsource some of its services as part of the company’s bid to cut cost, Bautista revealed that they are still in talks with the PAL Employees Association. “We are trying to explain to them the benefits especially now that all airlines are losing money. All the airlines are resorting to cost cutting programs. What is important is that we continue to communicate and understand each other’s situation,” he said.

PAL earlier announced that it has trimmed its net loss to $40.2 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year ending March 2010 from the $330.2 million recorded the same period a year earlier.

It attributed the current loss to sagging revenues brought about by the global economic slowdown that continues to depress air traffic – an outcome consistent with the assessment of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani described 2009 as “the worst year the industry has ever seen, losing 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business.

PAL registered total revenues of $1.08 billion in the period April to December 2009, down 15 percent owing to the decline in both passenger and cargo revenues of 26 percent to $805 million and 14 percent to $73.5 million, respectively.

While PAL transported 7.02 million passengers during the first nine months of the current fiscal year or 7.3 percent more than the 6.54 million passengers carried a year earlier, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), the industry yardstick for passenger sales volume, decreased by 3.2 percent to 12.96 billion RPKs, indicating sluggish sales.

Passenger load factor was 73.91 percent, further sliding from the 76.12 percent recorded in the same span in 2008.

Despite the improvement in prices, fuel still accounts for the bulk of PAL’s operating expenses, making the flag carrier vulnerable to the volatile price swings of the commodity in the world market.

Fuel however is only one of many serious challenges PAL faces going forward as airlines worldwide head into an uncertain economic environment. According to the IATA, while the worst maybe over, it is not yet time to celebrate as the industry continues to adjust to 2.5 to 3.5 years of lost growth.
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 03:27 PM   #486
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Philippine Airlines plans Mumbai flights

PHILIPPINE Airlines wants to resume its flights to Mumbai, India, but the country’s flag carrier needs to first secure the landing rights for a commercial stopover in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We want to fly back to Mumbai in India, but the problem is the landing rights,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said in an interview on Friday during the induction of officers of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines at the Filipinas Heritage in Makati.

Asia’s first airliner, which launched its inaugural flight on March 15, 1941, PAL is now in talks with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to negotiate with Bangkok for the landing rights.

According to Bautista, however, the issue goes beyond the landing rights, as PAL also needs to make the route profitable by being able to pick up passengers from Bangkok to Mumbai and on the return flight from Bangkok to Manila.

“There is demand there,” he said. “Hopefully, we can fly there within the year.”

The airliner now sees the Manila-Bangkok-Mumbai route a lucrative business with the influx of Indian tourists flying to Manila and Cebu. The carrier stopped flying to India in the 1950s.

But the route would be costly if PAL would not be able to book passengers from Bangkok, which would then be rendered a non-commercial stopover. PAL could not fly directly to Mumbai, as it would have to offset the cost of the long-haul service, Bautista said.

PAL earlier regained its four weekly flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and would start servicing the route by March 28 with Filipinos working in the region as its main passengers. The Riyadh service was cut by high fuel cost in March 2006, oversupply of seats and intense competition from Middle East-based carriers.

PAL reported net loss of $40.2 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year ending in December 2009, which was a significant improvement from the $330.2 million it lost a year earlier.

While the company registered a 15-percent revenue hike of $1.08 billion, its expenses amounted to $1.1 billion.

Led by business tycoon Lucio Tan, the airliner carried 7.02 million passengers in the nine-month period, up 7.3 percent from 6.54 million.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #487
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PAL puts extra focus on Australian market

SYDNEY - Philippine Airlines has introduced its new roomier Boeing 777-300ER aircraft serving Sydney and Melbourne.

The 777 offers full-flat beds in business class, the first available on direct flights between Manila and Australia. Its introduction comes as Philippine Airlines prepares to launch new services to Queensland, with twice-weekly A330 flights from Manila to Brisbane from March 18.



The new aircraft and services are part of a strategic expansion in the Australian markets, backed by low fares and new partnerships with key Australian wholesalers Viva! Holidays, Infinity Holidays and Specialist Holidays designed to further develop tourism to the Philippines.

The new 777 is configured with 370 seats in two classes, with 42 seats in Mabuhay Class (business) and 328 in Fiesta Class (economy).

Mabuhay Class offers fully adjustable seating with a 20-inch seat width, a 78-inch seat pitch and a full-flat reclining position at 15 degrees. Fiesta seating is an industry–leading 18.5 inches wide, with 33-34 inch pitch.

The Panasonic in-flight entertainment system offers audio and video on demand, with up to 19 full-length movies, six short films, 50 CD selections, 12 audio program channels and eight games.

Business class passengers can plug in USB devices to listen to MP3 players or view photographs and PDF files.

A new schedule coinciding with the introduction of Brisbane services will see the 777 fly five times a week from Sydney to Manila and three times a week from Melbourne, in addition to another two Melbourne services each week aboard an Airbus A330.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:22 AM   #488
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PAL's Mumbai dilemma
No more slots from Bangkok

February 28, 2010

Manila - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines wants to resume its flights to Mumbai, India's largest City. But the airline intends to use Southeast Asia's biggest airport, Bangkok, to make its Indian extension a profitable endeavor. It was a strategy it employed in 1946 on its way to Middle East and Europe.

The carrier stopped flying Bangkok-Mumbai in 1956. As the Manila-Bangkok-Mumbai route becomes a lucrative business again for the airline with the influx of Indian tourists flying to Manila, Cebu and Bohol, PAL wants to have Suvarnabhumi airport as their gateway too.

“We want to fly back to Mumbai in India, but the problem is the landing rights,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said at Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) meeting held recently at the Filipinas Heritage in Makati.

Apparently, the problem is not the fifth freedom rights to which PAL already had limited entitlements as what Mr. Bautista wants to point out but the right to carry more is already closed.

"Transporting more passengers out of Suvarnabhumi airport to the Indian subcontinent is the problem" says a CAB official.

CAB Executive Director Carmilo Arcilla said that all the flight entitlements from Bangkok to Mumbai are already taken by other operators because PAL never bothered to exercise it since 2006.

"Thai authorities are not preventing PAL from flying out of Bangkok to India or Pakistan. They have fifth freedom rights along the routes applied. The problem is the slots are all taken up " says the official, referring to Bangkok-Mumbai route.

"You just can't say we have the rights to fly there. Because in reality you need to have a share of the seat entitlements awarded by the Indian government and service it. Since PAL isn't using its share it was given to others" he adds.

He further said that it would have been a different story if PAL would fly direct as they are entitled to fly the biggest 747 everyday if they wanted to, unlike Bangkok where they have to share it with others.

"There are currently four airlines servicing Mumbai and Bangkok route. One of them is Cathay Pacific. If all the seat entitlements are already taken by these airlines, there is no way PAL can use any, except the renegotiation of the ASA between Thailand and India. The good thing is they expired last January so we can negotiate with the Thai's for additional seats in our favor. Perhaps the only thorny issue there is the consent of other airlines if they are willing to agree together with the reciprocal right of Indian carriers, particularly Jet Airways which is very interested to fly here" says Arcilla.

Bautista on his part has said that currently, the ideal aircraft for the Indian market is the Airbus A320 but can't fly the range straight without weight penalty. The A330-300 on the other hand is capable of flying to Mumbai but is too big at this stage. They are also in short supply of medium ranged airliner to service the route except the possible tags from Bangkok. The only other viable option for the A330/340 is for it to stop in Thailand and carry passengers from Mumbai to Bangkok other than those going to Manila.

“The problem we have is the yields because of economic crisis.The route would be costly if PAL would not be able to book passengers from Bangkok. We need to carry more passengers there to make it work" said Bautista.

“There is definitely demand there,” he said. “Hopefully, we can fly there within the year.”

Meanwhile, Bautista is very optimistic in the growth of domestic travel market. “We will be relaunching our low cost subsidiary in March to better compete with budget carriers. Their growth would be higher than our growth because there are people who would always look for a budget flight. In terms of number of passengers, there is still room for growth,” he added. PAL Express is already operating on code share with Air Philippines.

With respect to the company's retrenchment plans, Bautista said that they are still in talks with the PAL Employees Association regarding its decision to outsource workers. “What is important is that we continue to communicate and understand each other’s situation,” he said.

PALEA recently filed a notice of strike against PAL. The government is currently hearing both positions in the NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board) in the hope of bringing them to a mutually acceptable compromise./JE
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:25 AM   #489
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Feeding station for babies opens at NAIA-1


By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 17:25:00 03/01/2010

Filed Under: Air Transport, Children


MANILA, Philippines -- Air travelers may now tend to their hungry babies right at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Officials of the Manila International Airport Authority opened the country’s first airport-based infant feeding station at NAIA Terminal 1 for departing and arriving passengers and their very young children.

“This is part of our fine-tuning of services to our valued passengers,” Tirso Serrano, the MIAA assistant general manager for corporate affairs and airport development, told the INQUIRER in an interview, when he led the simple inaugural rites at around 11 a.m.

Three children on baby-strollers whose parents were in the airport at the time were invited as “guests” to the opening in sampling the station.

The air-conditioned feeding station, located at the terminal’s Gate 16 and just right across the Duty Free Philippines area, has four cubicles, complete with cots and comfort chairs, where parents can breast- or bottle-feed their infants in private.

The cubicles overlook the tarmac west of the airport. There are hand sanitizers, a water dispenser, bottle warmer and first-aid supplies. There is also a waiting area with cable television.

Any passenger who desires to feed an infant may use the cubicle for up to one hour. The passenger must show his or her passport and boarding ticket and is required to fill up a registration logbook.

The parents are also encouraged to fill up a feed back form to gauge the station’s quality of service and to elicit suggestions.

The 24-hour feeding station for passengers was established by a memorandum circular issued February 10 by MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi. The inauguration is part of the month-long activities marking the 28th anniversary of the agency.

Serrano said the feeding station would be replicated in the next few weeks at the other NAIA terminals operated by the MIAA.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:27 AM   #490
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MIAA sets 10-year development budget of P40B

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:41:00 02/28/2010


MANILA, Philippines—The government plans to spend P40 billion in the next 10 years to expand Manila’s airport capacity and keep up with the rising air traffic through the country’s capital.

Together with plans to build a 10-million-passenger-a-year terminal solely for international budget carriers, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) also plans to increase the capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) terminals 1 and 2.

These will be done to make way for the 30 million passengers expected to use Manila’s airports by 2015, said MIAA Assistant General Manager for Airport Development Tirso G. Serrano.

“We’re preparing for at least 30 million passengers by 2015. With that, we might really run out of space with the current facilities we have,” Serrano said in a recent interview.

“What we will do is make sure that we are above the projection at any point in time. We want to have about 20 to 25 percent excess capacity,” Serrano added.

Manila’s current airport system, made up of the three Naia terminals and the Manila Domestic Passenger terminal, have a total capacity of 33 million passengers a year.

Last year, about 24.5 million passengers passed through the four airports—an 11-percent increase over the previous 12-month period.

Serrano said the government planned to add extra capacity by pushing through with the new terminal for budget carriers and expanding existing airport space. The government also plans to build extra runway space to accommodate increasing aircraft traffic.

“Based on our planning, we’re looking at a (capital expenditure) of P40 billion over the next 10 years, but that’s a conservative estimate,” he said. “That’s not a big amount because if you look at Naia 3, that was built at a cost of almost P20 billion,” he said.

He said while the administration was trying to replace Manila with Clark Freeport as the country’s premiere international gateway, it would take more than a decade for any airport system to replicate Manila’s capacity.

About 90 percent of all air travel
traffic in the country is in Manila’s four airports.

Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, meanwhile, served less than a million passengers last year.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:29 AM   #491
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RP to sign air accord with Turkey this year
Turkish Airlines ready to fly from Bangkok,
but will Manila open it up?


February 26, 2010

Bangkok – The Philippine skies will soon greet the arrival of Turkish Airlines from Istanbul as the government finally confirmed its readiness to sit down with the Turkish government to discuss the forging of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two countries which has been deferred for two years. The ASA seeks to boost the economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Philippines begged off to conclude ASA with Turkey last year because it wanted 5th freedom right traffic between Bangkok and Manila as part of the proposal which Thailand and the Philippines aren't ready to provide because all seat entitlements between intermediary points were already taken.

Thailand and the Philippines will talk later this year to decide on opening more slot as well as discussed PAL's seat entitlement to India before forging agreements with Turkey. Istanbul already expressed their intent to sign the air deal before the end of 2009 but Manila has nothing to give on its request.

Turkish Airlines is aggressively consolidating Bangkok as its regional hub in Asia as it pursues expansion in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Adnan Aykac, Turkish Airlines General Manager for Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia said the "airline's business strategy is to make Bangkok its hub in Asia. Australia already allowed us connection from Bangkok."

The Australian government recently signed its first Air Services Agreement with Turkey. The agreement will allow Turkish Airlines to immediately begin up to five direct flights a week between Australia and Turkey. The agreement also allows the carriers of both countries to enter into code-share arrangements with the airlines of a third country to provide services between Australia and Turkey via intermediate destinations.

Turkish Airlines wants at least three flights a week between Istanbul and Sydney. Qantas too will have the same right but said last week that it had ''no current plans'' to fly to Istanbul via Bangkok.

"The missing link is only the Philippines as the government there is still not ready to talk. Our proposal to the Philippines is the same as those approved by Australia" Aykac added.

While the prospect of Turkish Airlines flying to Australia becomes another irritant for Qantas, Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways International has been campaigning against the grant of fifth freedom access between the two intermediate points because of overcapacity.

The airline is currently courting Thai Airways International as its strategic partner to begin its foray not only in the Australia-New Zealand market but also for the Philippine market.

The airline plans to extend its non-stop flight from Istanbul to Bangkok through to Ho Chi Minh City in October, and possibly Kuala Lumpur and Manila extension before the end of the year at the earliest.

It hopes to increase its Istanbul-Bangkok flights from daily to twice daily later this year if its plan service extension to Australia-New Zealand with Thai pushes through. It also hopes to enter into code share agreements with Philippine Airlines with its Manila flights should its talk with Thai bogged down.

Aykac said negotiations with Thai Airways to form a code-share partnership began about a year ago and had been moving slow as TG does not see any urgency to co-operate.

For Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano, Turkish Airlines arrival to the country would be good for the tourism industry as it will not only attract Turkish tourists, but also brings other foreigners to the country, including Russians and Europeans.
“I’m confident we are getting Russian tourists out of Turkey,” Durano has said stressing that “travel habits in the West are looking towards Asia to travel. Its a good addition to Transaero Airlines which will begin service later this year."

It seems to appear however that the Department of Tourism (DoT) is always singing a different tune with that of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), part of the negotiating group, which also has Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and representatives from airline companies as its members.

The open skies policy is apparently part of the President's Medium-Term Development Plan for 2004 to 2010 which seeks to promote the country’s tourism industry but local opposition seems to make the policy in reality a close sky.

"While we are hopeful we can strike a deal with them later this year, we do have alternatives to support our growth in Asia. And that includes flying direct." concludes Aykac.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #492
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Old March 9th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #493
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A flight that took two days
PR103 marooned in Guam

March 4, 2010

Agana - Philippine Airlines PR103 usually arrives in Manila at 6:00 AM from Los Angeles everyday. But Tuesday is a different day for the well wishers of the 415 passengers as no Boeing 747-400 from LAX arrived at Manila International Airport. The airplane instead arrived 56 hours late at 3PM yesterday.

The reason, one of the plane's engine had problems that it cant fly its way back home says Guam's airport manager Carlos Salas.

"The flight's 415 passengers had to choice but to disembark the aircraft. Philippines Airlines accommodated them at a local hotel while the engine was being repaired," says Salas.

Its passengers was marooned in Guam when one of the plane's engine suffered some trouble making its technical stop-over truly a technical one preventing its take-off one hour after refueling to Manila, the nation's capital.

Philippine Airlines flight arrives from Los Angeles at 4:55 AM in Guam Tuesday and should have left for the Philippines by 6 in the morning. However, due to technical problems with the engine, the passengers of the flight didn't leave Guam until about 1:56 PM yesterday as PR 1037

Salas couldn't confirm whether the engine problems were discovered while the plane was up in the air or whether it was after it had already landed on Guam. The airline remains mum over the incident.

The special flight arrived safely in Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 3:03 PM yesterday with no further incident.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #494
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Old March 10th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #495
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Old March 14th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #496
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Cebu Pacific eyes solo slot at T3

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:23:00 03/12/2010

BUDGET AIRLINE CEBU PACIFIC WANTS TO be the only carrier in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) terminal 3 by 2013.

The Gokongwei-led carrier said it plans to grow its passenger base to over 13 million, 12 million in Manila, in the next three years, indicating that airport facilities need to be expanded to prevent any potential squeeze on tourism and trade.

Fueling this growth is the company’s planned acquisition of 10 new Airbus A320 aircraft in the next three years.

“Cebu Pacific’s rapid expansion was substantially helped by its transfer to terminal 3 in August 2008, when nobody else wanted to use it. We could not have grown this much had we stayed at the old domestic terminal, which has a capacity of only two million per year,” Cebu Pacific vice president for brand and marketing Candice Iyog said in a statement.

Terminal 3, she said, provided the space, convenience, and opportunity for the airline to really grow and serve its passengers. “Transiting passengers, for instance, could catch their connecting flights with ease since our domestic and international operations are under one roof, as are other airlines, which put everyone on equal footing,” she said.

“Our population is growing and Asia, including the Philippines, has been tagged as a growth area. We believe that our airports, being the welcoming gateway into our country, should be adequate now and in the future,” she added.

The Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) has said it plans to spend P40 billion in the next 10 years to expand Manila’s airport capacity to keep up with rising air traffic.

Miaa assistant general manager Tirso G. Serrano said that while Cebu Pacific’s operations alone will eventually be all that terminal 3 can take, the airport authority also had to think about the needs of other airlines flying out of Manila.

Manila’s current airport system, made up of three Naia terminals and the domestic terminal, have a total capacity of 33 million passengers a year. Last year, 24.5 million travelers passed through these four airports.

Last year, Cebu Pacific said it carried over 7.3 million passenger. This is 29-percent higher than its 5.7 million passengers the year before. This year, Cebu Pacific expects to carry more than 10 million passengers on the domestic and regional fronts.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #497
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Budget airline to start flying to 3 more Asian countries

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:15:00 03/14/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Budget carrier Zest Airways Inc. will soon offer international flights to China, Singapore and Japan as part of its regional expansion plan.

Zest Airways recently obtained the approval of aviation authorities for its planned services to Shanghai in China, Singapore, as well as to Osaka and Nagoya in Japan, Zest-Air owner and president Alfredo Yao told the Inquirer on Friday.

Yao said Zest-Air was now talking to airport authorities in its new markets for its flights’ landing and take-off time slots.

He said his airline had the authority to fly to these destinations five times a week.

At the sidelines of the Chamber of Thrift Banks annual convention, Yao—who also owns and chairs the country’s sixth biggest savings, Bank Philippine Business Bank— said his airline would add a new Airbus A-320 to its fleet by December this year.

This will be Zest-Air’s fourth A-320 and the ninth airplane in its fleet. The single-aisle A-320 has a 162-168 passenger capacity plus a 37.4 cubic meter cargo space.

Other aircraft in the fleet are 50-to 60-seater turboprop MA60 planes developed by Xi’an Aircraft Co. of China Aviation Industry Corp.

To date, Zest-Air’s international operations cover the Manila-Incheon (South Korea).

He said that after the acquisition of the new A-320 plane, Zest-Air would resort to leasing aircraft in case it would need to further boost its fleet.

Yao took over budget airline Asian Spirit less than two years ago to form Zest-Air.

He said his group was for the long haul in this business.

The airline venture, he said, was also in support of the Philippines’ potential as a major tropical destination for regional tourists.

Doris C. Dumlao
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:49 AM   #498
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GMA scraps $100-million Clark airport deal with Kuwait firm
By Ding Cervantes

March 16, 2010

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga , Philippines – President Arroyo has directed the scrapping of the Kuwaiti Al Mal Consortium in the list of possible contractors for a $100 million passenger terminal at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here amid controversies.

Reliable sources from Malacañang and the Clark International Airport Corp. said the President relayed her directive to former Malacañang public affairs secretary Edgardo Pamintuan during her visit to her hometown in Lubao on Saturday.

“Cut it (any negotiation with Al Mal),” an angry President was quoted to have said. Mrs. Arroyo was reported to have been angered by reports linking her to Al Mal’s interest in the terminal project. Al Mal is a subsidiary of the Kuwaiti firm M.A. Kharafi and Sons.

Pamintuan said in a text message that the President was supposed to meet about this with CIAC president Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC executive vice president Nestor Mangio, and CIAC executive vice president Alex Cauguiran at the Haribon aviation complex of the Philippine Air Force before flying to the Visayas yesterday morning.

“Let’s make it (President’s directive) after she has met with them,” he said.

Reached by phone, Mangio, who has been pushing for Al Mal as contractor for the project apparently retained hopes that the Kuwaiti firm, with its local partner Al Mal-Pride, would still get the project amid a seven-day deadline imposed on Friday, for it to agree to CIAC’s terms of agreement on the project.

“The President went to the Middle East last year to look into the capability of Al Mal to undertake the airport project. We were impressed by the airport project it built in Egpyt,” he said.

A CIAC source said yesterday that a statement was supposed to be released after a meeting of its board late in the afternoon to officially announce the termination of negotiations with Al Mal-Pride as the President had directed.

Terminate negotiations

“We are terminating the negotiations with the Al Mal-Pride consortium due to the non-acceptability of their proposed terms and conditions for a possible joint venture agreement with CIAC for the development of various components of DMIA complex,” the statement said.

The statement said that “out of respect for the other party and until they have officially received our written communication, we will have to refrain from discussing those grounds for the rejection of their proposal.”

But it also said “we categorically deny any attempt to railroad the award of the project to Al Mal-Pride consortium. Records will bear out that Al Mal’s unsolicited proposal to develop the DMIA was first submitted all the way back to April 2008.”

“CIAC had been very careful and judicious in negotiating the terms of our agreement. But while we needed to develop DMIA through the entry of much needed foreign investments, we also needed to protect public interest and make sure we will not violate the law. It was a difficult balancing act,” the statement further said.

CIAC executive vice president Cauguiran said that Al Mal had been pushing for onerous provisions in its version of TOR, including the prohibition of any operation of a premiere airport within a 150-kilometer radius of the DMIA.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:51 AM   #499
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PAL expects losses in FY 2010
Written by Lenie Lectura

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects another round of net loss for its fiscal year ending March 2010 brought about by the global economic slowdown that continues to depress passenger traffic.

But for the next fiscal year, PAL is looking at improved revenues and passenger traffic, particularly in its overseas routes. The company expects the airliner may break even by end-March next year if the aviation industry’s standard is upgraded to Category 1 from Category 2.

“If the government will be successful in upgrading the category we will almost break even as we will be able to fly to the US using the Boeing 777,” said PAL president Jaime Bautista told reporters on Monday.

The January 2008 decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to downgrade the standard of Philippine aviation prevents PAL from increasing its flights to the US or from switching the type of aircraft being used in the route. The next inspection by the FAA may take place within the year or in 2011.

If the restriction will finally be lifted, PAL said it will expand its presence in the US market by opening new services to San Diego, New York and Chicago. PAL may also mount additional flights to San Francisco if demand is strong.

“Even if the upgrade happens toward the last half of the year we will be happy. We’re hoping that we will recover next year. We are seeing good signs,” added Bautista.

As a result of the category downgrade, PAL has asked aircraft manufacturer Boeing to delay the delivery of four B777 aircraft. “We have made arrangements with the aircraft manufacturer. Originally, we [were supposed to] take delivery of two more [aircraft] this year and [another] two in 2011 but because of the decline in traffic and the Category 2 downgrade, we were able to negotiate with Boeing to defer delivery to 2012 and 2013,” said the PAL executive.

PAL, in its fiscal year ending March 2009, recorded a net loss of $301 million from a net profit of $30.6 million in the fiscal year ending March 2008.

With only two more weeks before the end of PAL’s fiscal year, Bautista said PAL will likely be in the red again. “Last year, we lost so much. We are one of the airlines which were affected by the crisis so we are expecting another loss, definitely smaller than last year,” said Bautista.

From April 2009 to March 2010, Bautista said PAL will report over 9 million passengers, revenues of about $1.5 billion and a slightly lower net loss compared with the year-ago figure.

In the same period, PAL sees a 5-percent decline in the number of recorded passengers who traveled outside the country and a 10-percent increase in domestic passenger traffic.

“PAL, this year, we will be carrying more than 9 million passengers. We will be happy if there will be a 5-percent drop in international passenger traffic, although in domestic we’re expecting a modest growth as [what] we experienced this fiscal year. We have a growth in domestic passenger traffic of more than 10 percent and a minor decline of 5 percent for overseas,” said Bautista.

PAL also wants to resume flights to India. “We wanted to fly from Manila to Bangkok and [then] to India—either Mumbai or Delhi. But we were not permitted to pick up from Bangkok by the Thai government,” said Bautista.

At present, the flag carrier is appealing to the Philippine government to help negotiate landing rights for PAL so it could service the Manila-Bangkok-Bombay route, said Bautista.

“The problem is the landing rights. We are talking to the government to negotiate for landing rights,” said Bautista.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:54 AM   #500
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PAF to add 18 Trainers
Four new SF-260 to arrive in July

March 19, 2010

Manila - After two years delay, Italian aircraft manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, is finally set to deliver $13.1-million worth of defense contract for the supply of 18 brand new SF-260 training planes for the Philippine Air Force.

Complete delivery is scheduled by year end with four units to be delivered in July, a statement from Alenia's local partner said.

Teresa Parian, chief operating officer of Clark-based Aerotech Industries Philippines Inc. (AIPI), Aermacchi's local partner, said the Department of National Defense had agreed to reconstitute the project in 2009 after price escalation problems plagued the contract due to foreign exchange fluctuations resulting to deferral of award.

The contract of Italian aircraft manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A was approved in 2008, but the firm began assembling SF-260 planes only late last year due to due to foreign exchange losses.

"We're fast-tracking the assembly of these aircraft to meet the needs of the military," Parian said.

It is not known however if the provisions for training of pilots and technicians, technical assistance and the supply of ground support equipment and spare parts are included in the revised deal as AIPI refused to comment on it.

The Philippines air forces have been using SF-260 trainers since 1973 when the government placed an order for 48 SF.260's divided between 32 SF.260M's and 16 SF.260W's. They were replaced in 1991 by 18 SF-260TP turboprops.

The latest order calls for delivery of the standard SF-260F version powered by 260-hp, six-cylinder Textron Lycoming AEIO-540 D4A5 engines.

“The P622.5 million budget was made several years ago when the peso was worth 42 to the dollar,” Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said.

He recently inspected a set of trainer jets being assembled in Clark that were still 40 percent complete.
“The problem all boils down to the value of our currency. The Italians agreed on a contract denominated in dollars and our budget is pegged in pesos. Fortunately, Congress allowed us to proceed with the multi-year obligation for this procurement which will all be delivered this year.” Gonzales said.

He also confirmed that the Aermacchi contract requires the firm to provide the military with a complete training support package, which includes pilots, technical and maintenance training and spare-parts guarantees. Each aircraft costs government $700,000.

There are about 900 units sold around the world and operated by 27 military customers of different countries. Among the operators are Air Forces of Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
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