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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:56 AM   #501
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American held in Cebu Airport
for trying to break plane window

By Chito O. Aragon
Philippine Daily Inquirer

March 20, 2010

CEBU CITY —Airport authorities in Cebu detained an 80-year-old American who created a commotion while on board a Philippine Airlines flight bound for [Mactan from Manila] early Friday.

Rex Hampton struck and slightly damaged a window of the airplane that frightened his fellow passengers. When they arrived at the Mactan International Airport before 6 a.m., Hampton was immediately arrested by the airport police, according to Supt. Joselito Salido, chief of the Police Center for Aviation Security at the airport.

Hampton, a native of Portland, Oregon, was behaving normally when he boarded the plane but was reported to have taken “valium,” an anti-depressant medication before he boarded the Cebu-bound flight, said PAL spokesman Simon Canton Jr.

Salido said the management of PAL called them up to ask for assistance about an unruly passenger on a flight from Manila to Cebu at about 5 a.m

Hampton was with his wife, Jovelyn Campilanan, 42, of barangay Malubog, Toledo City, on the Air[b]us 330. The couple came from the United States via Tokyo, Japan, and was bound for Cebu via Manila since there is no direct Tokyo-Cebu flight.

Canton told reporters that Hampton, who sat by the window struck the window using a metal cane. The cane was immediately taken by a flight attendant, with the help of his wife and by some passengers but soon after, Hampton took his bag containing medicines and some documents and threw it against the window, causing some damage to the window.

Canton said the aircraft’s window has three layers of glass and only the first layer was damaged by Hampton.

Canton said the incident happened 30 minutes after the flight left Manila.

Hampton was turned over to the Lapulapu City Police Office Friday afternoon. The airport police filed charges of damage to property and malicious mischief against Hampton at the Lapulapu City prosecutor’s office at past 3 p.m., Salido said.

Canton meanwhile said that the aircraft went back to its normal flights and left Cebu for Manila on schedule at 6:30 a.m. Friday.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:58 AM   #502
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5J to List on May 4
As Regulators approve Cebu Pacific's $265M IPO

March 20, 2010

CORPORATE REGULATORS have approved the initial public offering of Gokongwei-led Cebu Air, Inc., allowing the budget airline to secure almost P12 billion in cash from the equities market.


BUDGET AIRLINE Cebu Pacific plans to raise P12 billion from the initial public offering to increase its fleet. -- Crecencio Cruz
In an en banc decision yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed Cebu Air, operator of Cebu Pacific, to list 235.562 million shares on the stock market on May 4. The budget airline will have the stock symbol “CEBU.”


The SEC approved the “offer of [Cebu Air] shares, consisting of up to 125.253 new shares to be issued and offered by the company, and up to 110.309 million existing shares offered by the selling shareholder, and up to 35.334 optional or over allotment shares.”

Cebu Air can offer as much as 164.894 million shares internationally while 47.112 million and 23.556 million shares will be sold to Philippine Stock Exchange brokers and investors, respectively, at a maximum price of P95.00 each.

ATR KimEng Capital Partners, Inc. was tapped as the domestic lead underwriter while the Hong Kong branch of Deutsche Bank AG and J.P. Morgan Securities, Ltd. will be the international underwriters.

Net proceeds from the primary offering were estimated at P11.561 billion.

Last week, Cebu Air said it would use the bulk of funds to be raised from the IPO to buy up to 20 more aircraft within five years.

“It’s going to be for capital expenditures for purchasing airplanes. We have a purchase order from Airbus for 15 Airbus A320 in the period of 2010 to 2015 and an option to buy five more,” said Bach Johann M.

Sebastian, senior vice-president for corporate planning of listed JG Summit Holdings, Inc., in an interview early last week.

Mr. Sebastian said going public was only one option, and that the company could also borrow from export credit agencies. Cebu Pacific can also tap the lease market, he said.

Documents showed the carrier needed to make P9 billion in advanced payments to increase its fleet to 49 by 2014.

The company originally planned to go public in 2008 but postponed the listing due to difficult market conditions.

Cebu Air turned around last year by posting a net income of P3.184 billion, from a net loss of P3.259 billion in 2008. Operating income almost doubled to P3.164 billion from P1.727 billion in 2008.

Shares in parent firm JG Summit Holdings rose to P8.50 apiece yesterday from P8.30 per share on Wednesday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales, Businessworld
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:00 AM   #503
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PAL expects Seoul to approve flights from Cebu
By Emilia Narni J. David
March 21, 2010

Manila - FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) is optimistic Seoul will approve its planned chartered flights to South Korea from Cebu.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista told reporters the airline was expecting a favorable decision from the Korean government. "We are expecting a favorable decision for our planned charter flights from Cebu to Korea. The [Philippine] government has already explained the strides the country has [achieved] in civil aviation to the Korean government," said Mr. Bautista.


The Korean Civil Aviation Board had denied PAL’s application to expand flight operations in Korea because the Philippines is classified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a "significant safety concern."

The Philippines has also been demoted by the United States Federal Aviation Authority as a Category 2 country, limiting the activities of Philippine carriers in the United States.

PAL already flies to Korea via Manila.

Mr. Bautista also said the airline is expecting the delivery of two more Boeing 777 aircraft in 2013. The Boeing 777 will be used for long-haul flights.

PAL is expecting a net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. The airline will end the year having served more than nine million passengers. PAL had a 10% growth in domestic passengers for 2009-2010 but suffered a decline in overseas passengers.

"We’re hoping that there will be recovery next [fiscal] year. We are seeing good signs. Cargo is improving and hopefully passenger profit will also improve. For international passengers, we will be happy with a 5% increase and for domestic, we are expecting modest growth," Mr. Bautista earlier said.

The airline reported a net loss of $40.2 million in the nine months of its fiscal year ending December 2009, an improvement from the $330.2 million the previous year. It carried 7.02 million passengers during the period, up by 7.3% from 6.54 million previously.

Revenue rose by 15% to $1.08 billion but expenses reached $1.1 billion. -- Businessworld
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:02 AM   #504
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EU aviation body invited to inspect RP facilities
Written by Recto Mercene
21 March 2010

THE Civil Aviation Authority has invited the European Community’s Air Safety Committee (EC-ASC) to come to the Philippines and look how CAAP has complied with EC’s safety concerns.

The invitation was extended by CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi during a one-day presentation last Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, before the 27-member body led by Daniel Calleja, the European Union’s director general for transportation and energy.


Cusi headed that mission composed of Caap technical personnel and Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives to the EC.

The mission returned on Saturday to report the outcome of its appearance before the EC.

“Twice in the past we asked you not to come because we are not ready. Now we ask you to come because we are ready,” Cusi told EC aviation officials.

He added that he hopes to demonstrate the Philippines’ commitment to improve air-safety oversight by inviting Calleja’s group to conduct its own safety inspection of the Philippine aviation system.

The EC-ASC is concerned about the safety of Philippine aviation because many Europeans visit the country as tourists or businessmen.

It would take two weeks before that body officially communicates with the CAAP to make known its response to Cusi’s presentation.

The EC makes a quarterly review of countries that it deems to have “significant safety concerns.”

Cusi said the EC-ASC had recognized what the Philippines had done to address its concerns, such as the hiring of technical people, adhering to the minimum “qualification standards” for employees and other related issues.

However, he added that the Europeans also commented that what the country’s aviation body did in the past weeks “are not enough to reverse all the problems we had during the past years.”

To fully comply and meet EC’s demands with satisfaction, Cusi said the EC want assurance that all of the country’s “aviation practices, processes, and our aircraft are safe for the public. It’s more on business processes.”

Cusi added that the 27-member body is satisfied with the presentation made by PAL on what it had been doing to make sure that its operations are up to world standards.

“PAL had shown that the CAAP had complied with the Europeans’ audit and that there are also audit conducted by a third party. They are very satisfied with that.”

Capt. Beda Badiola, PAL senior vice president, said the EC was satisfied with PAL’s presentation.

“We showed them that the inspection process or the re-certification process of the CAAP was a robust thing,” he said, adding that PAL accompanied the CAAP mission to Europe to boost its claim that the audit was conducted properly in accordance with the international standard.

“And we were able to show them that PAL is committed to the safe operations of aircraft and the safe transport of passengers,” Badiola said.

He added that since the “proof of the pudding is the eating,” PAL also invited the EC to come to the Philippines and look into its operations.

“We went there based on their letter of invitation as a matter to exercise our right of self-defense, according to them, so that’s the framework of our going to Brussels,” Badiola added.

He said PAL does not fly to Europe at the moment, but the EC-ASC has not prevented its nationals from coming to the Philippines.

Cusi said his next move is to go to Canada on the last week of the month to convince the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) to return the Philippines to Category 1 status.

The Philippines had been downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 by the US Federal Aviation Admnistration in November 2007 after the then Air Transportation Office (ATO) received unfavorable review under its International Aviation Safety Assessment.

Despite the passage of a new law that created Caap and replaced the former ATO in 2007, the Icao still raised a Significant Safety Concern on the Philippines last year.

This led to the invitation by the EC-ASC to a conference in Brussels last week.-- Businessmirror
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Old March 24th, 2010, 08:00 PM   #505
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PAL marks 70th year with 70,000 free seats on offer
GoodNews Pilipinas
First Posted 09:21:00 03/22/2010
Filed Under: Travel & Commuting

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Airlines commences a year-long celebration leading to its 70th anniversary in March 2011 by launching a series of promotional events where up to 70,000 free seats on various PAL flights will be given away throughout the year.

The flag carrier announced the introduction of a grand seat raffle, a major discounted-fare promo, a “Philippines Free” international campaign, and a new loyalty program targeting the youth market. These are initial salvoes of an aggressive marketing campaign that will run over the next 12 months.

The initiatives were formally unveiled during PAL’s 69th anniversary last week at a gala dinner at the Century Park Hotel.

PAL was founded by a group of prominent Filipino industrialists on February 16, 1941. On March 15, 1941, a Beech Model 18 aircraft carrying five passengers took off from Nielson airfield in Makati bound for Baguio—a flight that earned for PAL the distinction of being Asia’s first airline.

Today, PAL is the country’s largest carrier, with a fleet of 41 all-jet aircraft that fly to 44 domestic and international destinations. Two more overseas points, Brisbane and Riyadh, join the network later this month. Last year, PAL carried more than 8.96 million passengers, an increase of 17.1 percent over the previous year.

“As we count down to our 70th anniversary, we want to share this milestone with people who helped us get there—our passengers and loyal patrons. They deserve credit for steadfastly supporting their airline through both favorable and difficult times,” PAL said.

The grand seat raffle covers all customers who purchase PAL revenue tickets in the Philippines and via PAL’s website, and who travel between March 16 and December 31, 2010.

A total of 16,000 winners will be chosen during nine monthly raffle draws. Prizes include free tickets for routes equivalent to those in tickets bought and flown. On March 15, 2011, PAL’s 70th anniversary, up to 3,000 lucky passengers get to travel for free.

The fares promo, known as the “Anniversary Fare Special,” features generously discounted rates on all domestic PAL routes. A flat rate of P700 on one-way flights between Manila and points in Luzon or the Visayas, and P1,700 to/from Mindanao destinations are offered. International flights are also covered by the promo; fares vary according to route.

Meanwhile, a campaign from 18 international destinations called “Philippines Free,” features free travel within the Philippines. It will be offered to passengers who travel on PAL’s international services during selected periods of the year. The sale period is between March 15 and April 7, 2010.

Another promo benefits passengers celebrating their 70th birthday between March 15 and April 15, 2010. These senior celebrants receive a free domestic ticket when a companion’s ticket is purchased for travel on the same date and route. This promo is valid for travel from May 15 to Aug. 20, 2010.

Finally, an innovative program called the Mabuhay Miles “Y Flyer” took off. With the youth comprising an increasingly active segment of the flying public, PAL has developed a product specifically for them.

The program covers passengers between the ages of two and 21 years. Current Mabuhay Miles members in this age group automatically qualify as Y Flyers. They enjoy a 10-percent discount on published fares, initially for PAL domestic routes.

In addition to accumulating miles by regularly flying PAL, Y Flyers also earn miles by using partner brands’ products and services. Earned miles can then be redeemed for free PAL tickets.

As an added come-on, PAL will give away 50 tickets to the March 27 “Changing Lives: Timbaland Shock Value II” concert in Manila, which features Justin Timberlake and Jojo.

The free tickets will go to Y Flyers who register as members and purchase tickets on March 16 at selected PAL ticket offices—Makati, Cubao, Manila (Padre Faura), and SM Cebu and Davao.

More exciting promotional activities will be announced in the coming weeks and months as PAL gears up for its 70th anniversary next year.

For more details, visit PAL website or call PAL reservations at (02) 855-8888
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Old March 24th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #506
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Orange Wars Begin
Air Philippines joins orange bandwagon
for LCC Supremacy



March 22, 2010

In a counter-offensive mode to regain market dominance, Philippine Airlines low cost subsidiary, Air Philippines is expected to relaunch jet service this month branding a new orange look and a newer airbus jet to seriously compete with top budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air and fast growing Zest Airways in the low cost market.

“We shall give our competitor a hard time” says David Lim, Air Philippines newly appointed President who replaced Capt. Edilberto Medina for the post.

Air Philippines earlier announced a new management team appointed to implement the airline’s new business model using a leaner workforce.

The airline's jet incorporates an orange livery, a marketing strategy indicating its no-frills service, from a color choice made famous by Europe's first Low Cost Carrier, Easyjet.

The first to incorporate orange underlinings is Cebu Pacific, with its distinct yellow smile introduced in 2005. Next is Zest Air, the erstwhile Asian Spirit airline that changed its color in 2008 to be more representative of its new owner, also famous for marketing the orange drink. Now, Air Philippines wants a piece of the 18 million domestic and growing market now ruled by Cebu Pacific with more than 9 million passengers carried.

Air Philippines "Express" brand will start operating on March 28 using Airbus A320 jets leased from Philippine Airlines which the latter ordered in 1992.

“Air Philippines would have its own brand called Air Philippines Express just like Philippine Airlines have PAL Express,” says Lim.

“The Express extension denotes a service being offered by the airline” added the official.

Air Philippines and Philippine Airlines are two separate company owned by the Lucio Tan Group with 99% ownership to the former and 95% to the latter.

Both airlines simplified its LCC flight operations for seamless connection of its passengers, and they are looking to further solidify its market share in the low cost market by launching aggressive pricing and encirclement strategy that could potentially put the minor airlines out of business.

“We are relaunching the airline so it will give a serious competition to Cebu Pacific, Zest Air and Seair,” says PAL Chief Finance Officer and Air Philippines Chief Operating Officer Cesar Chiong.

The airline will fly to Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro on its initial run using two A320's, and progressing to more domestic destinations as it take delivery of four more A320s in the coming months.

“We will start operating the Airbus A320 by the end of March because its the start of the summer season where traditionally we have plenty of passengers.” says Chiong.

“Our plan is to add one A320 in November, and one in December in time for the holiday rush, and two more is expected to be added next year,” the airline executive said.

Another four A320 will also be added to the fleet in the next two years with planes leased from PAL after it retires the old ones on its fleet replacing it with new aircraft ordered from Airbus. PAL is expecting delivery of two more A320s in 2010, and three more planes for delivery in 2011.

“All aircraft will be purchased from PAL on a lease-to-own basis” adds Chiong.

Air Philippines intends to fly back to Hong Kong, Singapore and other regional destinations in the next two year when its domestic network is firmly establish.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 08:06 PM   #507
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Philippine Airlines opens new routes from Ho Chi Minh City

Philippine Airlines has announced the launch of two new air routes this month, connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Australia’s Brisbane city and the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.

The Filipino national flag carrier began services on the HCMC- Brisbane route on March 15 and will open the HCMC- Riyadh route on March 28, Marie Jemma B. Saranillo, the carrier’s country manager in Vietnam, said at a media briefing last Monday.

She said passengers would transit in Manila before boarding planes to the destinations in Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Currently, the carrier offers fares starting from US$270 for a one-way trip between HCMC and the Australian city and from $325 for a roundtrip on this route. The promotional fares are some $300 lower than normal rates.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #508
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PAL expects Seoul to approve flights from Cebu
By Emilia Narni J. David

Manila - FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) is optimistic Seoul will approve its planned chartered flights to South Korea from Cebu.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista told reporters the airline was expecting a favorable decision from the Korean government. "We are expecting a favorable decision for our planned charter flights from Cebu to Korea. The [Philippine] government has already explained the strides the country has [achieved] in civil aviation to the Korean government," said Mr. Bautista.


The Korean Civil Aviation Board had denied PAL’s application to expand flight operations in Korea because the Philippines is classified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a "significant safety concern."

The Philippines has also been demoted by the United States Federal Aviation Authority as a Category 2 country, limiting the activities of Philippine carriers in the United States.

PAL already flies to Korea via Manila.

Mr. Bautista also said the airline is expecting the delivery of two more Boeing 777 aircraft in 2013. The Boeing 777 will be used for long-haul flights.

PAL is expecting a net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. The airline will end the year having served more than nine million passengers. PAL had a 10% growth in domestic passengers for 2009-2010 but suffered a decline in overseas passengers.

"We’re hoping that there will be recovery next [fiscal] year. We are seeing good signs. Cargo is improving and hopefully passenger profit will also improve. For international passengers, we will be happy with a 5% increase and for domestic, we are expecting modest growth," Mr. Bautista earlier said.

The airline reported a net loss of $40.2 million in the nine months of its fiscal year ending December 2009, an improvement from the $330.2 million the previous year. It carried 7.02 million passengers during the period, up by 7.3% from 6.54 million previously.

Revenue rose by 15% to $1.08 billion but expenses reached $1.1 billion. -- Businessworld
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Old March 26th, 2010, 08:51 PM   #509
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Air Philippines Express (Philippine Airlines subsidiary Low Cost Airline)



PALexpress (PAL Regional Airline)

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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:59 AM   #510
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there will be no palex anymore
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:01 AM   #511
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Air Philippines buying 18 new aircraft in 4 years

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman
Manila Standard
March 29, 2010

Air Philippines, which is re-launching itself today as the newest low-cost carrier under the brand AirPhil Express, plans to purchase 18 new aircraft within four years.

AirPhil said in a statement that it would now operate as a budget carrier flying to key local destinations using two newly-acquired Airbus A320-200 aircraft.

“We want to position Airphil Express as a low-cost carrier offering quality service,” AirPhil Express president David Lim said.

The carrier said it would start flying from Manila to Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro today using the new aircraft.

The first A320, with registry number RP-C3227, was formally blessed Saturday at the airline’s hangar at Nichols, Pasay City.

The carrier is set to acquire 18 more aircraft until 2013 to support its local route expansion.

AirPhil said four more brand new A320s would be delivered from Airbus’ manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France between September and November this year. Four more A320 aircraft will join the fleet next year, five in 2012 and another five in 2013.

“The modernization of our fleet will hopefully enable us to increase market share while the industry braces for the eventual rebound,” Lim said on Saturday.

Current route network includes Tuguegarao, Naga, San Jose (Mindoro), Busuanga, Boracay (Caticlan), Catarman, Calbayog, Tacloban, Ormoc, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Surigao, Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro, Ozamiz, Zamboanga, Davao and Masbate.

“More domestic points will be added to the route network when more jets join the fleet,” the carrier said.

AirPhil earlier said it would give serious competition to top budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air and other local carriers such as Zest Airways Inc. and Southeast Airlines. The carrier said it would initially make itself a profitable airline before flying to regional routes such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #512
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courtesy of Clarkent from pex

29 March 2010
Photo Release: PAL returns to mid-east



PAL RETURNS TO MID-EAST. Philippine Airlines flew back to Riyadh after an absence of four years, with the departure of PR658 last March 28 that carried Ambassador Antonio Villamor, PAL Vice President Enrique Javier and dozens of Filipino contract workers bound for the Middle East.

PAL now flies four times a week to the Saudi Arabian capital, using the 433-seater Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet. Photo shows Ambassador Villamor (left) assisting PAL VP Javier doing the ceremonial ribbon cutting before flight boarding.[/QUOTE]
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Old March 30th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #513
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EU Bans Airlines From Philippines, Sudan on Safety

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union prohibited all airlines based in the Philippines and Sudan from flying in the bloc under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers.
The EU said “serious safety deficiencies” in the Philippines’ regulation of carriers and a “poor safety performance” by aviation authorities in Sudan justify the operating bans. The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive arm, cited assessments by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“We cannot accept that airlines fly into the EU if they do not fully comply with international safety standards,” EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said in a statement today in Brussels. The EU also restricted the operations of Iran Air, eased curbs on TAAG Angola Airlines by letting it fly to all EU destinations under “strict conditions” rather than only to Lisbon, and permitted North Korea’s Air Koryo -- on the list since 2006 -- to operate in the bloc with two approved aircraft.

This is the 13th update of a blacklist first drawn up by the commission in March 2006 with more than 90 airlines mainly from Africa. The ban already covers carriers from nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Indonesia, Liberia and Rwanda.

Airline crashes in 2004 and 2005 that killed hundreds of European travelers prompted EU governments to seek a uniform approach to airline safety through a common blacklist. The list, updated at least four times a year, is based on deficiencies found during checks at European airports, the use of antiquated aircraft by companies and shortcomings by non-EU airline regulators.

Poor Safety Records

In addition to imposing an operational ban in Europe, the blacklist can act as a guide for travelers worldwide and influence safety policies in non-EU countries. Nations that are home to carriers with poor safety records can ground them to avoid being put on the EU list, while countries keen to keep out unsafe foreign airlines can use the European list as a guide for their own bans.

The new measures affect about 40 carriers in the Philippines including Philippine Airlines Inc. and Cebu Air Inc. and 12 in Sudan, Helen Kearns, transport spokeswoman at the commission, told reporters. None of those carriers currently operates services to the EU, she said later by telephone.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 12:30 PM   #514
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ALWAYS THE OPTIMIST



I'm really, really, curious to know what 'serious safety deficiencies' the EU has against all Philippine carriers especially when they don't fly there and haven't been in years.

I have flown Philippine Airlines (PAL) quite often, and everyone knows when flying out of Manila how strict the inspections are (removing shoes, vigorous hand bag searches, etc.). As for the PAL fleet, it is relatively new, with recent renovations on the long haul planes as well as the acquisition of brand new B777-300ER aircraft. Maintenance is handled by Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), a joint venture of Hamburg-based Lufthansa Technik AG, a leading maintenance provider in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, and Macro Asia Corporation, one of the Philippines' leading providers of aviation support services and catering for foreign airlines.

AFP
30 March 2010
The Philippines on Wednesday insisted its airlines were safe after the Southeast Asian nation's carriers were banned from flying into the European Union.

"Our aircraft meet the international standards in safety," Civil Aviation Authority head Alfonso Cusi said.

He was reacting to a notice from the European Commission made public Tuesday that said authorities in Manila had failed to address safety deficiencies raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
It placed all Philippine airlines, as well as those from Sudan, on a "watchlist" of countries banned from flying to the 27-nation bloc.

"In both countries, it's because of serious and persistent non-compliance of the civil aviation authorities in terms of overseeing and checks on aircraft," European Commission transport spokeswoman Helen Kearns said.

The ICAO raised significant safety concerns after it carried out an audit on Philippine carriers in November last year.

But Cusi said improvements had been taken since the November audit, including the hiring of 47 technical personnel to oversee inspections.

"I have invited the EU safety aviation commission ... to come to the Philippines for re-inspection this May to show that we have corrected the problem they have raised," he said.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines is the only local airline registered to fly to the EU, but its last commercial flight there was in 1999, according to Cusi.

Placing a carrier like PAL with those of Sudan and North Korea can be an outright insult, especially when steps have been taken. I really do hope the EU will reconsider their decision asap.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 02:37 PM   #515
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #516
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The absurd MA-60 Excuse
MA60 factor in aviation ban?

Written by Recto Mercene
07 April 2010

THE European Commission’s (EC) move to impose an operating ban on all air carriers registered in the Philippines has sparked much soul-searching among local aviation officials, not to mention a discreet blame game on what caused the ban.

The unprecedented move had caught officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) by surprise, because the country has practically complied with all the requirements imposed by the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (Usoap) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao). Usoap conducted its CAAP audit for 10 days in October 2009.

Overlooked

It has given the CAAP six months to comply with their negative findings.

What has apparently been overlooked, according to sources, was the CAAP’s having allowed Zest Air, a local company, to operate three MA60 turbo-prop airplanes.

These “regional” airplanes are made by the Xian Aircraft Co. of China Aviation Industry Corp.

The ICAO has told the CAAP that it would recognize aircraft operating in the Philippines only if their flights were certified by the United States, Canada or the European Union.

How the MA60 was certified has been a source of finger-pointing within the CAAP.

The latter had accused officials of the now defunct Air Transportation Office of registering the MA60 while the aviation body was in transition—at the time the passage of Republic Act 9497 was being hammered out to eventually create the CAAP.

In an apparent move to eventually phase out the MA60, Director General Alfonso Cusi has recently ordered that all airline companies which had not been certified by the aviation body in compliance with the Civil Air Regulations (CAR) would no longer be allowed to fly starting December 2010.

“Republic Act 9497 creating the CAAP had ruled that all airlines must comply with the CAR,” he said.

Hurdles

Among the hurdles that these air carriers must overcome in order to continue flying are: possession of an airworthiness certification; qualification of all of pilots; and the proper facilities such as repair shops, training programs and servicing facilities.

Sources said Zest Air has yet to show the CAAP that it meets all the requirements under the CAR—the country’s aviation industry’s bible—before it could hope to continue operating locally.

It will be recalled that last year, Zest Air figured in three air mishaps at Caticlan Airport involving MA60 airplanes.

Perhaps, according to aviation sources, the December 2010 deadline for minor aircraft operators using aircraft that did not pass those countries that the ICAO officially recognized is too far a deadline, meaning, it would not compel immediate compliance.

The same airport sources said that the Philippines might be able to regain its Category 1 status if the CAAP would put its foot down and immediately stop allowing the MA60 to fly the Philippine skies.

“In the first place, the Icao representatives will never certify the MA60,” one airport source said, adding that the China-made airplanes have yet to establish a consistent record of safety and reliability.

Two dominant players

The EU’s blacklisting of the Philippines came at a time when the world is witnessing the battle for air supremacy by two dominant players in the aircraft manufacturing industry—Boeing and Airbus.

Boeing is the US’s premier aircraft manufacturer, one of only a few key industries that the Americans could truly be said to have a grip on. This grip is slowly being loosened by Airbus, the only key rival in Europe.

It is, thus, not a coincidence that the American-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was the first to downgrade the CAAP to Category 2 status, while the EU followed with its own blacklist of the Philippines.

It is curious to note that even if blacklisted in the EU, no Philippine air carrier actually flies to Europe at the moment. Still, Philippine officials said the ban could impact on Manila’s tourism prospects.

At the same time, the EU has not discouraged its citizens from coming over either as tourists or businessmen, and using local aircraft to take them from one place to another.

Daunting task

As this developed, Cusi has ordered the immediate hiring of 47 qualified technical personnel for the Flight Standards Inspectorate Service—the one other hurdle for international certification.

He said that the standardization of the new corporation is meant to ensure that the aviation body would be on a par with international safety standards.

“The task is daunting but I am confident we will surpass the challenges that the CAAP is now facing,” Cusi stressed.

PAL’s assurance

The only airline registered and flew in and out of EU was flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), but it hasn’t flown to the continent since 1999.

Despite the unfortunate inclusion of PAL and all other local carriers in the European Commission’s blacklist—a direct consequence of the downgrade of the Philippine government’s aviation safety rating—PAL has assured the riding public that safety remains the bedrock of its operations. It has always been the flag carrier’s policy to ensure that its passengers fly with the full assurance of safety and comfort.

PAL lamented that the EC decision came about notwithstanding PAL’s safety record, as borne out by its compliance with internationally accepted safety standards, including the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and audits by major foreign aviation regulatory authorities. For four consecutive years since 2006, PAL has been the only IOSA-certified Philippine carrier.

PAL welcomes EC visit

Two recent events led to the inclusion of Philippine carriers in the EC ban, namely: 1) the US FAA’s decision in January 2008 to downgrade the Philippines’ safety rating to Category 2; and 2) the “significant safety concern” alert issued by the ICAO in November 2009 against Philippine aviation safety regulators.

Despite the Philippines’ Category 2 rating, it must be noted that the US FAA continues to allow PAL to operate up to 33 regular weekly flights from the Philippines to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Las Vegas and Guam. PAL said it safely flies thousands of passengers, including US citizens, across the Pacific Ocean on a regular and reliable basis in compliance with stringent US safety regulations.

PAL welcomed the EC air safety committee’s decision to visit the Philippines so that, besides Philippine aviation regulators, it can also inspect and audit local carriers.

The airline said it is prepared for such audit and is confident that EC inspectors will find PAL as a world-class carrier of uncompromising professionalism and efficiency.

PAL is also ready to lend a hand to the CAAP, especially to its new director general, Cusi, as the agency strives to professionalize its ranks and regain its international safety rating.

Since 2006, PAL has been complying with the IOSA program, which is ISO 9001:2000 certified. It is a rigorous audit focusing on the entire operational management and control systems of an airline in promoting safety, based on internationally recognized standards and supported by a strict quality assurance process.

These IOSA standards are derived from relevant Icao guidelines, in particular, Annexes 1, 6 and 8, as well as from the regulations of the US FAA and the Joint Aviation Authorities of Europe, as well as industry best practices.

Moreover, regular maintenance of the PAL fleet is undertaken by Lufthansa Technik Philippines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG of Germany, the world’s leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services for commercial aircraft, engines and components.

Airphil’s guarantee

Low-cost carrier Airphil Express continued to assure its passengers and the riding public that flying by air is still one of the safest modes of transportation in the Philippines.

Airphil Express issued the statement amid the recent decision by the EC to ban all Philippine carriers from flying to the European Union.

“While no Philippine carrier currently flies to any point in Europe, we wish to assure the riding public that our planes are well-maintained and adhere to a strict maintenance policy that puts a premium on passenger comfort and safety,” said Airphil Express president David Lim.
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