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Old July 18th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #601
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4 flights diverted to Clark airport due to bad weather

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:05:00 07/18/2010

Filed Under: Travel & Commuting, Air Transport


MANILA, Philippines – Four flights to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, due to poor visibility while four other flights have been canceled due to bad weather.

The Manila International Airport Authority, which runs the NAIA, identified the canceled flights as Cebu Pacifc flights 5J-903 and 904 both supposed to have arrived from Caticlan, Aklan at 3:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.; 5J-515 from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, which was supposed to have arrived at 6:25 p.m.; and its return trip, 5J-516.


The Manila-bound flights diverted to Clark were the South East Asian Airlines flight DG-836 from Caticlan and Singapore Airlines SQ-912, both of which were supposed to have arrived at 3:30 p.m.

Also diverted to Clark were two Air Philippines Express flights from Caticlan and Puerto Princesa City, 2P-048 and 2P-944, which were supposed to arrive at 4 p.m. and 3:20 respectively.

Of the four diverted flights, SQ-912 was able to arrive at NAIA at around 5:45 p.m. The other three have been expected to land at the NAIA on Sunday night, according to airport authorities.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services earlier forecast cloudy skies with scattered rain showers over the country, with rains becoming widespread over Central and southern Luzon as an active low pressure area (ALPA) was spotted at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 30 km southeast of Baler, Aurora.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #602
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Omni cleared
First to be certified as compliant school

July 13, 2010

Clark based Omni Aviation Corporation becomes the first flying school in the country to be certified as ICAO complaint after the Civil aviation Authority initiated a crackdown on aviation schools across the country with questionable student records.

Omni was the first one to be investigated unannounced by a seven-man team, led by a foreign Icao consultant. Omni boast a fleet of 22 airplanes consisting of 16 Cessna 152s, five Cessna 172s and one twin engine Piper Seneca based in its Subic branch.

Capt. Ben Hur Gomez of Omni Aviation Corp. said he fully supports this move by CAAP, as this would eliminate unscrupulous flying schools in the country, which destroy the reputation of the Philippines as producer of best pilots in the world. Captain Gomez has been with Philippine Airlines for 38 years and capped his career as vice president for safety and security.

“We are now 100-percent compliant of all the requirements.” Gomez said.

“We have a policy of no cheating. Flight-time padding is strictly prohibited, and solo flight time means the student is alone in the aircraft,” he adds.

The investigation is being conducted with the support of the National Bureau of investigation (NBI) which discovered last month that some flying schools certify a pilot’s license course for a consideration of $30,000 to $50,000. Some flying schools were found to have padded students flying hours by logging flights that were not flown.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #603
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Subic goes back to life
As ACI Opens Hub

July 17, 2010

Subic - Charter company Aviation Concepts Inc. (ACI) is building a hub in Subic airport as they set to take over airport hangars abandoned by courier giant Federal Express that left the Philippines in February 2009.

The Guam-based company through Aviation Concepts Holdings, an American-Canadian joint venture, is investing US$1.1-million to rehabilitate facilities at the SBIA and start operations by mid-September, said Anthony Decostes, the firm’s senior vice-president.

Aviation Concepts is famous for providing private jet charters to Senatorial and Presidential candidates in the last election. They are also involved in aircraft sales and acquisition, business aviation consulting and aircraft management services to companies and individuals.

ACI operates in Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Manila and have an FAA approval to fly almost everywhere, including all oceans and polar areas. It started operations in 1996 and open Manila office in 2007.

The charter company operates a fleet of Westwind II, Falcon 50/900, Gulfstream IV/V/550, Challenger 604, Global Express and Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) which has been audited for safety by ARG/US.

“Our concept here is to basically copy what is in Guam, bring it here and expand it,” said Decostes, who also serves as AC’s country director in the Philippines.

ACI, he said, began looking at the Philippines when their Guam operations “grew exponentially, but faced problems with actual, physical growth.”

In 2007, in partnership with Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., ACI opened the first aircraft scheduling center for business aircraft in Makati. But its growing clientele means it has to move somewhere else outside of Metro Manila and have keep its sight at Subic Bay for a bigger operations program.

“Lucky for us the SBIA was vacated by FedEx. Everything seems prepared for us — world-class aviation facilities, minimal air traffic, availability of trained workforce. Everything we need is right here in Subic,” Decostes said.

Decostes said they are committed to offer a full range of aviation services and facilities to clients. These include ground handling, maintenance repair and overhaul, FBO facility with VIP crew lounge and amenities, air ambulance, aircraft scheduling and record keeping, aircraft detailing, hangarage and technical stop services.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #604
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Cusi stays
But others wanted his post

By Recto Mercene

July 18, 2010

The head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAA) has served notice he will stay at his post—which is not coterminous with the President who appointed him, Gloria Arroyo—because the “imperious manner” in which he was treated by a new superior officer made him rethink plans to turn in a courtesy resignation.

“Oh, kailan ka aalis [Hey, when are you leaving]?” Cusi quoted the official as saying, in complete disregard of the fact that he has a four-year term.

Cusi said he responded by telling the unnamed official that he would prepare his departure papers. But after thinking about it back in his office, he said he felt disgusted that he was being forced to leave.

“It occurred to me that the former Air Transportation Office [Ato] was changed into the Caap so that it would be beyond politics,” Cusi said.

“Now politics had reared its ugly head and the Caap, it seems, has become a battleground for political accommodations.”

Cusi was appointed to his post on March 3, 2010, after withdrawing from a congressional race in Oriental Mindoro and, by law, should be with the Caap until March 2, 2014, according to airport officials.

Cusi had earlier said he would submit a courtesy resignation, but apparently changed his mind after colleagues and Caap officials asked him to stay.

During his first 100 days in office, he sought to make a dent in the highly corrupt Flight Standard and Inspectorate Service (FSIS), formerly the Flight Safety Division of the defunct ATO.

Cusi asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into allegations of pilots licenses being sold without actually taking a difficult examination, padded flying hours to expedite getting the flight certificate and other anomalous transactions with collusion from some corrupt flying schools.

The NBI had found pilots licenses and flying certificates with forged signatures of FSIS officials.

As Caap headman, he prevented the Middle East and Australia from blacklisting Philippine carriers after assuring them it was just a matter of attaining internationally accepted audit procedures, and that all airlines in the country are safe and sound.

The Caap chief then presented their achievements to the members of the Foreign Chambers and informed his counterparts in other countries.

A visiting delegation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) cited Caap’s achievements in such a short time. In September the European Union representatives will visit following two video conferences with Director General Daniel Calleja of the EU’s Air Safety Committee.

Cusi was deemed instrumental in the acquisition of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) that should have been installed on May 29 before the controversial navigational aid, VOR (VHF omnidirectional range) went out of commission on June 19.

However, European airspace was closed to air traffic from April until May during the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano, delaying the airlift of the ILS, which eventually arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last week.

Cusi’s sudden departure from the Manila International Airport Authority in March, to be named Caap headman, also temporarily disrupted the installation of the ILS after a new airport manager took his place.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #605
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Malaysian consortium ready to build modern terminal at Clark
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CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, July 19 (PNA) -- A consortium of government-backed Malaysian firm is assuring President Benigno Aquino III and his new administration that it is ready to immediately finance and develop a modern airport inside this Freeport.

“If given the go signal,” Bristeel Overseas Ventures, Inc. (BOV) head William Chee said, “we are willing to immediately pour-in $ 150 million in foreign direct investments into the Philippines to jumpstart the development of Clark as the country’s main international airport.”

“As we congratulate President Aquino on his recent inauguration, we also would like to express our confidence in his leadership and promise of good governance through our willingness to invest in major infrastructure developments in the Philippines,” Chee said.

Recently, BOV submitted a proposal to the Clark International Airport Corporation to build through a joint venture with the state-run firm a new terminal that will allow Clark airport to accommodate as much as seven million passengers annually.

The construction of a modern airport in Clark is in answer to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s recent failures due to several malfunctions.

NAIA recently suffered intermittent shutdown of its operations due to aging airport navigational equipment and runway visibility problems brought about by Metro Manila’s worsening air pollution problems.

Temporary closure of NAIA’s operation forced numerous international and domestic flights to land at other airports in the country, most of them at nearby Clark airport just 80 kilometers north of Manila.
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&nid=2&rid=288662
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Old July 19th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #606
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Lucio Tan to cut stake in PAL
Monday, 19 July 2010 00:00

BY DARWIN G. AMOJELAR SENIOR REPORTER





PHILIPPINE Airlines Inc. (PAL) is in talks with several fund managers and Asian carriers for possible investment in the Lucio Tan-owned company. “The shareholders want [investors] to inject fresh capital. So, PAL will not get from the shareholders.
That’s the structure that we are looking at rather than the shareholders selling their shares,” Jaime Bautista, the flag carrier’s president told reporters on Friday.

“We will issue new shares—that’s the ideal. It’s possible through PAL Holdings Inc.,” he added.
PAL Holdings owns 84.7 percent of the flag carrier.

Bautista said Tan’s stake may be diluted if the tobacco tycoon decides not to infuse additional capital into the firm.

“It’s okay with him [Tan] as long as the money will go to PAL,” Bautista said.

In 1998, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. had contemplated on investing P4 billion in PAL but the plan failed to materialize because of “major differences.”

The Philippine carrier sought rehabilitation in 1998 after racking up $2.12 billion in debts.

Bautista said Cathay and the International Airline of United Arab Emirates were not among the carriers that PAL is in discussions with.

PAL Holdings’ shares have been climbing, from P3 at the start of the month to P4.85 on Friday, as rumors circulated that new investors were about to come in. On July 14, its shares hit P5.20.

Despite financial difficulties, PAL settled $40 million in maturing debts last month, on top of the $10 million it has been paying monthly, Bautista said.

The 69-year-old airline was able to bring down its liabilities to about $1 billion since entering corporate receivership. The company emerged from receivership after recording a profit in 2007.

But the airline’s finances spiraled in the succeeding three years as it incurred over $350 million, or at least P15 billion, in losses during its last two fiscal years.

Its equity also dropped precipitously to a little over $1.1 million as of February this year, the airline said.

Because of this, the company decided to let go of at least 3,000 employees with the spin-off of its three core businesses.

The affected workers belong to the in-flight catering services, airport services (including ground handling, cargo terminal/cargo handling, and ramp handling) and call center reservations.

Although the industry is improving, Bautista said PAL has “to continue implement[ing] more measures to generate more revenues and reduce costs.”

Besides its debts, the airline is also dealing with the problems brought about by the Philippines’ Category 2 rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the blacklisting by the European Union. These sanctions barred PAL from flying to these important destinations.

On top of these, the company also needs to tackle manpower problems, especially with pilots, “because of the industry’s increased capacity,” Bautista said.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 08:41 PM   #607
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Posted on 09:33 PM, July 19, 2010

Airphil Express to increase number of flights to Davao






DAVAO CITY -- Air Philippines Express is resuming its daily flights to this city on Wednesday and will have three low-fare Davao-Manila flights starting in October, company officials said.


Air Philippines Boeing 737 -- www.wikipedia.org“We are a low-cost airline but that does not mean that we are the cheapest,” said Maria R. Java, marketing, media, e-commerce and product head of the company.

“We assure our customers that they will get the value of their money,” she added.

The company suspended its Davao operations on Oct. 1, 2009 due to economic reasons. With the resumption of the Davao flights, Air Philippines is offering an P800 fare for its Davao-Manila route and P600 for its Cebu-Manila route.

A regular discounted ticket for a Davao-Manila flight costs about P2,500.


Ms. Java said the airline has invested heavily in its fleet. The fleet includes two 180-seater Airbus A320s with one servicing the Davao-Manila route.


Some of its aircraft, particularly the Q300s and Q400s, are slightly older but are well-maintained, she added.

The budget airline will add six Airbus A320 units next year, said Snooker D. Jaranilla, company sales head, adding it hopes to double its destinations from 24 this year to 48 next year.

Air Philippines is also looking at servicing the Manila-Singapore route, Mr. Jaranilla said.


Ms. Java added that the company, a sister firm of Philippine Airlines which has five daily flights from this city, is finalizing its plan to make the Davao International Airport its Mindanao hub.


“We might launch the [Davao] hub next year,” she said.

If this plan pushes through, the company will consider the possibility of servicing the Davao-Singapore and the Davao-Malaysia routes.


Ms. Java said the company has been studying these routes as it continues to look for other Mindanao routes to service.


“We want to be part of the community. We want to be known as a community-based airline,” she added, pointing out that the re-launching of the company did not only mean a repackaging but also a change in the management team.


“Air Philippines Express is in a unique position. We have a history of deliberate attentive service to uphold yet we intend to meet our customers’ expectations of efficiency, as is expected by most businesses today,” she said.


The company figured in an accident on April 19, 2000 when Flight 541 from Manila to Davao crashed on Samal Island, killing all 131 people on board.


Considered the worst plane crash in this part of the world, it was blamed on a 20-year-old aircraft leased from an American firm.


Three years ago, an out-of-court settlement resulted in an agreement that gave out roughly $1 million in cash for each of the family’s victims. -- Carmelito Q. Francisco |
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Old July 19th, 2010, 09:09 PM   #608
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EU unmoved by PAL pleas to lift ban

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:45:00 07/19/2010

Filed Under: business, Air Transport, Air safety





THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) has refused to remove the Philippines from a list of countries whose airlines are banned from flying to the continent due to the lack of substantial industry-wide reforms in their local aviation sector.



Philippine Airlines said it was able to convince EU officials that PAL was of international standards. However, the company’s pleas to be excluded from the ban fell on deaf ears.



“We made a presentation to the EU last June and we were able to convince them that we are a safe airline,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime J. Bautista said in a recent interview.



“But they told us they were sorry and they could not give in to our request to be taken out of the blacklist,” he said.



The ban stemmed from a recent audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao), whose officials raised “serious safety concerns” over the state of the country’s aviation sector.



Particularly, the Icao pointed out the lack of professionalism within the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which was tasked to make sure that local airlines were safe to fly.



Following the poor grade received from Icao, Philippine carriers were thrown into a blacklist of airlines banned from flying to Europe.



The CAAP, now under the leadership of former Manila airport manager Alfonso Cusi, has started to implement reforms since then, including the grounding of several aircraft found to have fallen short of international safety norms.



Bautista said that although PAL has no flights to Europe at the moment, the ban kept the airline from making plans to revive operations in the continent. Before being forced into rehabilitation in the late 1990s, PAL used to have flights to popular cities like London, Rome and Paris.



Bautista likewise said that as a result of the ban, European travel agencies have stopped selling PAL tickets to tourists who may want to take the flag carrier to visit attractions in the Philippines.



PAL is also the only local airline that has the aircraft capable of going on long-haul flights to Europe.



Aside from the EU ban, the Philippines was also downgraded to a category 2 status by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Again, the low grade only affected PAL, being the only airline that flies to North America.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 09:11 PM   #609
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Court denies PAL’s bid to refund taxes on interest earnings





THE COURT of Tax Appeals has denied Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) claim for a refund of some P4 million in taxes withheld by banks, as there was supposedly no evidence the amount had been remitted to the government.


PHILIPPINE Airlines is asserting its tax perks under Presidential Decree No. 1590, which requires it to pay only the corporate income tax or a 2% tax on gross revenues, whichever is lower. -- Bw file photoIn a ruling last May 11, the tax court said certifications from seven banks in which PAL had accounts were not corroborated by documents from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The Lucio C. Tan-led carrier wanted P3,621,067.51 in interest income refunded, citing tax perks under its franchise. The amount was withheld from peso and US dollar bank accounts, representing 20% and 7.5% in final income taxes in 2003.

“It bears stressing that equally important to petitioner PAL’s claim for refund is evidence showing that the taxes withheld from petitioner PAL’s interest income [was] actually remitted to the BIR,” the court ruling said.

Under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1590, PAL was granted a legislative franchise that exempted it from taxes, including withholding taxes. In lieu of the exemption, PAL was made to pay either the corporate income tax or a franchise tax of 2% of gross revenues, “whichever will result in lower tax.”

The court, in its ruling, recognized this right of the airline, but said lack of documents failed PAL’s claim for a tax refund.

To prove that it had earned interest income on its bank deposits, PAL presented as evidence certifications and certificates of final tax from seven banks worldwide, namely: Tan-led Allied Banking Corp., China Banking Corp., Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp., JP Morgan Chase Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Standard Chartered Bank, and Philippine Bank of Communications.

PAL claimed that a total of P203,260.34 and $62,311.89 worth of final taxes were withheld by the seven banks, court records showed.

The tax court said PAL should not only establish its rightful claim to a refund, but also the exact amount of refund it was seeking.

“Without supporting documents to prove that the amount PAL is claiming for refund had in fact been remitted to the BIR, this court cannot determine the exact amount refundable to [the airline] by reason of its exemption from all other taxes,” the ruling said.

“This court can order [the BIR] refund to petitioner PAL only the amount of taxes duly withheld and actually remitted to the government,” the decision said.

On Feb. 4, the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision by the tax court, ordering the refund of P141,431 representing the 10% overseas communication tax it had paid to Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. on overseas calls in 2002.

The Supreme Court also cited PD 1590 as basis for its ruling. -- P. P. Magtulis
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Old July 19th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #610
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Lucio Tan seeks new investors in capital-starved PAL


by Jenniffer B. Austria





BEER and tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan is willing to reduce his stake in Philippine Airlines to accommodate fresh capital from potential investors, an official said over the weekend.

Tan would not be selling his shares, but instead the airline would be offering new shares to obtain new capital, company president Jaime Bautista said. That meant Tan’s shares in the airline would be diluted, he said.

“We are looking at fresh equity that will go directly to PAL,” Bautista said, but stressed that Tan wanted to keep majority control of the company while opening the carrier to new investors. Tan owns over 90 percent of the airline.

“The preference is for Mr. Tan to maintain majority control of the airline,” Bautista said. He said the company was now talking to potential foreign investors but refused to identify them.

The airline’s shareholders last year approved a quasi-reorganization plan to attract new investors. The plan is to reduce the par value of its shares to P0.20 from P0.80 a share, and then to increase its authorized capital stock from P16 billion to P20 billion divided into 100 billion shares at P0.20 a share.

PAL started entertaining talks with potential investors in a bid to boost the airline’s finances, which have deteriorated over the past two years as a result of the global financial crisis, stiff competition from low-cost airlines, and rising fuel costs.

The airline reported a net loss of $40.2 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year ending December 2009, an improvement from the $330.2 million it lost a year earlier. The company’s revenues rose 15 percent to $1.08 billion, but its expenses amounted to $1.1 billion.

To reduce costs, the flag carrier earlier disclosed plans to offer early retirement packages to its 8,000 employees and to reduce the number of flights to its long-haul destinations, and in particular the United States, Australia and Canada.

Sources within the airline said the carrier lost $14.3 million in its fiscal year ending March 2010, a reduction from the previous year’s loss of $297.8 million.

They said lower fares and weak passenger demand from its international operations drove revenues down to $1.36 billion from $1.60 billion.

Worldwide capacity cuts during the year did not keep pace with declining traffic demand, hence exerting significant pressure on fares and yields, the sources s
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Old July 20th, 2010, 01:23 AM   #611
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Hopes high on lifting of EU ban on 2 carriers
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THE International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) has responded positively to the plans submitted by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) to address the organization’s “significant safety concerns,” paving the way for the lifting of the ban on at least two of the Philippines’ major carriers in flying to Europe.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB), along with seven other major carriers were blacklisted by the European Union (EU) following a safety audit conducted by the Icao in October 2009, so that they were unable to service the route to Europe.

The Icao noted the Philippines “lacks a plan for certifying air operators in accordance with regulations, as well as the lack of inspectors in the whole aviation industry as a whole.”

Since PAL and CEB do not fly to Europe at the moment, Europeans were advised by their governments not to patronize the local carriers when visiting the country either as tourists or businessmen.

Addressing these concerns, Director General Alfonso Cusi of the Caap submitted a “corrective action plan” within two months of his appointment in March 2010, which was run through the Icao safety oversight audit “and was found to fully address most of the findings and recommendations contained in the report.”

“This is very positive development since this will pave the way for the lifting of significant safety concerns, hopefully the first step toward redeeming category 1 status,” said Cusi in a press conference. “What we’re asking is just a partial lifting because what we wanted is for PAL and CEB to be out of the blacklist and for the government to continue the effort in making the necessary reforms in our civil aviation.”

Asked when the country would be able to get back to category 1 status, Cusi said the process is lengthy because the aviation agency has to address three main concerns—the earlier downgrading by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Icao safety concerns and the EU blacklisting.

Cusi said the three agencies have common concerns. “So all of these have a commonality and they are all anchored on safety, on the ability of the government to carry out its functions. Once we get the Icao positively acting on our correction plan, then it will open the door for the FAA and the EU.”

He said that meantime, the Caap would adopt a three-pronged approach, such as persuading the EU to partly lift its ban, addressing the Icao safety concerns, and those of the FAA.

In fairness to the past administration, Cusi said Ruben Ciron had prepared a similar corrective action but that under his term they added some more requirements because there were questions about the integrity of the previous work.

To avoid complications, he said the Caap revised the whole plan and submitted a corrected one “together with the things we have done from time we assumed office in March until April 19.”

He said the Icao immediately noted the Caap suspension slapped on the Pacific East Asia Courier (Peac) and the recertification of 49 small air carriers, the ongoing investigation of bogus pilot’s licenses and fake certificates and others. “So all of those things were taken into account and now the Icao reply arrived, accepting positively the things that we have done and the plans that we have submitted.”

Cusi added that all other requirements would be submitted within next 30 days so that in a few weeks, Icao representatives could visit to inspect the Caap, while the EU representatives would follow shortly.

The EU representatives will audit PAL and CEB, the focus of their attention, and such could lead to their recertification as safe to be used by Europeans. After the EU visit, they will have a gathering in October and hopefully, the Philippine case would be taken up and a decision would follow.

“If the Philippine issue is taken up in October, then a decision will be issued by then; hopefully before the end of October we will know if we can have a partial lifting,” said Cusi.

In Photo: Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific airplanes are seen in this file photo as they sit on the main Manila airport terminal, with the navigational aid equipment in foreground. Philippine officials are optimistic that European authorities will lift a ban on at least the two carriers after the Icao showed a positive response to their report.
http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.p...news&Itemid=58
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Old July 20th, 2010, 04:22 AM   #612
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Fil-Korean group offers to invest $177 million in new Clark terminal
By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes (The Philippine Star) Updated July 20, 2010 12:00 AM

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx...bCategoryId=66

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino-Korean consortium, which could include San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) as members, has offered to invest as much as $177 million (more than P8 billion) for the construction of a new terminal at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Pampanga.

SMC president Ramon Ang said in a text message to The STAR that they are still discussing how much each of the consortium members will own in the joint venture.

The Philco Aero consortium, which is currently in negotiations with the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) for the construction of the new DMIA terminal, is majority-controlled by Filipino firm Penson and Co. Its foreign partners consist of South Korea-based Posco Engineering and Construction Co., Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers and Korea Development Bank.

Philco Aero’s controlling shareholder, Ricardo Penson, earlier said his group has inked agreements that will pave the way for SMC to take a majority position in the consortium.

Both SMC and MPIC have confirmed they are discussing a possible partnership in the Clark terminal project.

In an interview with The STAR, CIAC president Victor Jose Luciano said that as early as 2009, MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan visited Clark “where we gave him a presentation and he expressed interest to join, but wanted to be part of a consortium.”

“There was not much development from (Pangilinan) after the visit, but then Philco Aero’s proposal was submitted and he expressed his interest to join,” Luciano added.

CIAC’s chief executive also disclosed that Pangilinan was also interested in connecting the terminal to a rail system.

“If you look at what is happening wherein NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is already nearing capacity and given its single runway, there is a need for a new international gateway,” he added.

CIAC has received two unsolicited proposals for the construction of a new second DMIA passenger terminal – from the Philco Aero group and the Malaysian consortium Bristeel Overseas Ventures (BOV).

However, Luciano said after evaluating the financial capacity of the two groups and the possible stream of revenues over the 30-year life of the project, the proposal of Philco Aero proved to be more superior.

Under the joint venture, the winning consortium will put up the capital while CIAC’s equity contribution will be in terms of property, rights, and its franchise as a public utility airport.

“But capital is not enough. We require those interested to have airport operation experience because we want to get the best practices (such as those of the Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore airports). The foreign partner will be the one offering this experience because aside from NAIA and Mactan, no one here can offer it,” he pointed out.

If the negotiations with the Philco Aero group succeeds, Luciano said they will stamp it as an original proposal and then prepare the terms of reference for a competitive challenge.

After spending a total of P1 billion (including for the purchase of a radar worth around P500,000) in refurbishing and renovating the present DMIA terminal, and after constructing a second floor and connecting the two passenger loading bridges, CIAC saw the need for a bigger terminal if it wants to bring in the legacy and international carriers and entertained proposals to put up a new terminal under the joint venture mode.

Luciano explained that the project that will be undertaken by the winning consortium will consist of a new passenger terminal with commercial facilities. “If you look at Heathrow, Changi and even Hong Kong, 60 percent of the revenues come from land use or non-aeronautical fees such as lease rentals and commercial spaces and the rest from landing, take-off and parking fees (aeronautical fees),” he said.

Once the new terminal is operational, he revealed that plans are to convert the old terminal into a domestic terminal or even a budget terminal.

DMIA currently has two runways but only one is being used. “But it is good for three runways,” he said.

Luciano added that plans for a third terminal will only come in once DMIA has been designated as an international gateway. “But this will depend on the infrastructure, policy, consultations, among others. NAIA currently accommodates around 24 million passengers but its capacity is maybe around 30 million. With our population at 95 million, plans to improve tourism and the Philippines consisting of 7,100 islands, maybe we could have not just one, but two or three gateways,” he pointed out.

The Philco Aero group’s proposal will allow DMIA, which handled 750,000 passengers last year, to gradually increase passenger capacity from three million to seven million over a five-year period.
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Old July 20th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #613
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CEB highlights China flights
Quote:
MANILA, July 20 (PNA) -- Cebu Pacific (CEB) promotes its flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau in a seat sale from July 20 to 22, 2010 for travel from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, 2010.

A P999 ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fares are available for Manila-Taipei flights while travelers going from Clark to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Macau can avail of CEB’s P1,499 ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fares.

Passengers going from Cebu to Hong Kong, and from Manila to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Beijing can take advantage of the airline’s P1,999 ‘Go Lite’ seats.

Domestic flights from Manila to Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Kalibo, Legazpi, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and vice versa are up for grabs for only P699, for travel from September 1 to 30, 2010. The same travel period applies for P1,199 ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fares from Manila to Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos.

CEB’s new Cebu to Pagadian route and Cebu to Ozamiz destinations are also highlighted in a P799 ‘Go Lite’ seat sale, for travel from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2010.

“The warm reception we got from our passengers when we announced our new Beijing flight drives us to further strengthen our network to China. We are happy to offer our low fares as the only low-cost carrier flying from the Philippines to the major North Asian countries of China, South Korea and Japan,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

The third-largest low-cost carrier in Asia, CEB will begin flying to Brunei on Aug. 21 and to Beijing on Sept. 5, 2010. CEB recently launched its Manila-Pagadian and Manila-Surigao flights in the second quarter of this year.
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=...d=6&rid=288886

CEB showcases all China flights, more in seat sale as low as P999
Quote:
MANILA, July 19 (PNA) -- The Philippines’ largest airline and one of the fastest growing in Asia, Cebu Pacific (CEB) promotes its flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau in a seat sale from July 20 to 22.

With a travel period from September 1 to October 31, 2010, P999 "Go Lite" seat sale fares are available for Manila-Taipei flights.

Those going from Clark to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Macau can also avail of P1,499 "Go Lite" seat sale fares.

Meanwhile, those going from Cebu to Hong Kong, and from Manila to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Beijing can avail of P1,999 "Go Lite" seats.

Domestic flights from Manila to Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Kalibo, Legazpi, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and vice versa are up for grabs for only P699, for travel from September 1-30, 2010.

The same travel period applies for P1,199 seat sale fares from Manila to Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos.

New route Cebu-Pagadian, as well as Cebu-Ozamiz, are also highlighted in a P799 "Go Lite" seat sale, for travel from August 1 to September 30, 2010.

“The warm reception we got from our passengers when we announced our new Beijing flights drives us to further strengthen our network to China.

"We are happy to offer our low fares as the only low-cost carrier flying from the Philippines to the major North Asian countries of China, South Korea and Japan,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

For bookings and inquiries, passengers can call the reservation hotlines (02) 7020-888 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (02) 7020-888 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or (032) 230-8888 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (032) 230-8888 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, visit nearest travel agents, or go to www.cebupacificair.com or http://funtours.cebupacificair.com.

The latest seat sale updates can be found at cebupacificair on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.

The third-largest low-cost carrier in Asia, CEB will begin flying to Brunei on August 21, and to Beijing on September 5, 2010.

It just launched its Manila-Pagadian and Manila-Surigao flights in the 2nd quarter of 2010.
Budget airline reopens route to Davao
Quote:
DAVAO CITY, July 19 (PNA) -- Airphil Express originally known as Air Philippines opens new routes and soon makes Davao City their hub in Mindanao.

Maria R. Java, head for Marketing, Media, E-Commerce and Product of Airphil Express said it is important for their airline company to present in a city that is more progressive and developed like Davao City.

She said Airphil Express starts flying Davao, Manila and Cebu to Manila on its new Airbus A320s starting July 21, 2010 with end-of-business day schedules.

Initial flights from Davao to Manila will be in the evening at 8:00 PM. And starting October 21 a new schedule will commence at 10:00AM and on October 28 they will open the 7:10 AM schedule.

She said they want to locate in areas that are aggressive in growth and the market opportunity even as she said that when they open new destination they have to also consider the need of the communities plus the market.

As they open their inaugural flights they will showcase a seat sale of P800 from Manila to Davao or vice versa and the offer started on July 16 and will continue on July 21 with travel dates available from July 21 to 31, 2010.

She said since their re-launch of the airline with its new brand name and the acquisition of its new Airbus A 320s, Airphil Express has grown its business remarkably. Initially flying its jets to routes such as Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Puerto Princesa, the introduction of more destinations in its A320 route network signifies its progressive and resolute move to becoming the region's leading budget carrier.

The company's head for sales Snooker D. Jaranilla said Airphil Express flies to 24 domestic destinations from Manila and Cebu.

Direct flights from Manila are to Bacolod, Busuanga, Cagayan de Oro, Calbayg, Catarman, Boracay (Caticlan and Kalibo), Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Masbate, Naga, Ormoc, Pueto Prinsesa, San Jose, Surigao, Tagbilaran and Tuguegarao. The Cebu hub caters to flights to Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay (Caticlan), Iloilo and Tacloban. It also flies direct from Busuanga to Puerto Princesa.

Jaraniila said they have about 508 flights weekly and they will double the frequency by next year.

He said servicing the various routes are three Q300, five Q400, two Airbus A320.

An additional two Airbus A320 will be acquired next year as he said they will be opening up new routes among others to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Japan.

Air Philippines stopped servicing the Davao route after its Boeing 737-200 Flight 541 from Manila to Davao crashed on April 19, 2000 in a coconut farm in the Island Garden City of Samal killing all 131 passengers.

Earlier report stated that the Boeing 737 was built by Boeing in Renton and was owned by Southeast Airlines and in 1998 was leased by Air Philippines.

However, Jaranilla said the Airbus A320 that will service the Davao route and the other areas are brand new aircraft acquired directly from Toulouse, France.

And all their scheduled refleeting will have brand new aircrafts sourced out from the manufacturing headquarters of Airbus in France.

Meanwhile, businessman John Birkwatro, owner of John Gold Travel Agency said he is optimistic with the reentry of Airphil Express to the city considering that air traffic here continues to increase.

Airphil Express closest rival is another budget airline, the Cebu Pacific.

He said with the two airlines operating here, the public has now better choices.

"I noticed that the people here and in the neighboring areas start to travel in the different places of the country and the neighboring sub region all because of the budget fares offered by them," he said.

He said the offering of promo fares encouraged the public to travel often and this makes the airline industry here upbeat.
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=...d=6&rid=288737
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Old July 20th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #614
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PAL sees clearer skies ahead as recovery holds
By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:39:00 07/19/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is seeing clearer skies ahead as a result of a steady, albeit modest, recovery in the local and international aviation market.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime J. Bautista said the company has experienced a slight rebound, in line with the recovery of airlines around the world as a result of the improvement in global economic prospects.

The resulting improvement in the company’s cash flow, Bautista said, helped PAL repay $46.5 million in loans that matured last month.

“We were able to pay that entire amount because we have implemented a lot of initiatives to raise cash and reduce costs,” he told reporters.

“The projection of the industry is a better 2010 and 2011. We are seeing a semblance of the market moving toward that direction,” Bautista said.

But he said the Lucio Tan-led firm would remain cautious due to the several challenges the local airline industry continued to face.

“We don’t want to call it a full recovery. We still have a lot of problems. There is the category 2 status and the European blacklist,” he said.

Bautista was referring to the US Federal Aviation Authority’s downgrade of the Philippines to category 2 status due to concerns over the country’s air safety standards. The downgrade bars Philippine carriers from expanding operations in the United States, which only affects PAL, being the only airline that flies to North America.

The European Union has also put the Philippines on a blacklist of countries whose airlines are banned from flying to the continent due to poor safety procedures.

“Although the market is improving, we still have to look for ways to cut costs and boost revenues,” Bautista said.

One way the company plans to reduce expenses is by sub-contracting its non-core tasks, including catering and airport services, to third party providers.

The labor department earlier ruled the controversial move, which will affect close to 3,000 employees, as a legal exercise of management prerogative. PAL workers have appealed the decision.

PAL posted a $40.2-million net loss in the April-December period of 2009, which is the first three quarters of the company’s fiscal year. Bautista said PAL would release its full-year financial results this week.
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Old July 20th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #615
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Cebu Pacific passenger volume jumps 44%
By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:36:00 07/16/2010

GOKONGWEI-LED Cebu Pacific posted a sharp increase in passenger volume for the first five months of the year, thanks to the introduction of new flights and the expansion of its fleet of aircraft.

In a statement, the company said it flew 206,380 passengers in the January-May period, or 44-percent more than the 143,186 passengers the company had in the same period last year.

“Cebu Pacific is working to increase its operations aggressively in the Southeast Asian region. We are expecting the delivery of more brand-new planes until 2014, which can be used for our capacity expansion, frequency increases and new destinations,” the company’s vice president for marketing and distribution, Candice Iyog, said in a statement.

The airline is buying 22 more 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery starting in October this year until 2014, which will virtually double the size of the company’s fleet.

Three of these new planes are expected to arrive this year.

As this developed, Cebu Pacific announced that it has been recognized by Singapore’s Changi Airport Group as the top airline in Southeast Asia, which registered the highest growth in passenger traffic last year.

The award was announced during the Fifth Annual Changi Airline Awards 2010 last July 13, recognizing the contribution of Cebu Pacific to Singapore’s air hub status.

The budget carrier flew about 375,000 passengers to and from Singapore in 2009, with a year-on-year growth of 57 percent. The airline flies from Singapore to Manila 25 times a week, to Cebu daily (starting Oct. 31), and to Clark daily (starting Oct. 29).

Singapore is the airline’s most popular destination in Southeast Asia.

“We are happy for this distinction by the Changi Airport Group as we have been steadily bringing in passengers from the Philippines and other international destinations to Singapore,” Iyog said.

Earlier this year, Cebu Pacific disclosed plans to go public, before backing out shortly after due to jittery market conditions.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 06:23 PM   #616
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DOTC exec: Use DMIA as alternative airport
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CLARK FREEPORT – The newly installed Transportation secretary has ordered airport officials here to utilize the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) for diversion of international and domestic flights.

According to a press statement issued by the DMIA public relations department Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus issued the directive to Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President Victor Jose Luciano following failures of aging navigational problems at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

NAIA has reportedly suffered setbacks recently due to visibility problems brought by pollution in Metro Manila. These prompted airport officials to divert international and domestic flights to DMIA.

De Jesus recently led an inter-agency meeting composed of representatives of NAIA, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Civil Aviation Board (CAB), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and CIAC.

During the meeting, Luciano said they discussed the adoption of the CAB policy to formulate rules and procedures dealing with airline passenger protection during long tarmac delays.

The CAB Policy was patterned with that of the United States’ to make safer regulations for air carriers during times of disaster and emergency.

This sets the initiatory consultation meeting with stakeholders, consumer groups, the CAAP, airport authorities, the DTI and other interested parties that will culminate in a public hearing is geared towards the finalization and adoption of such rules and procedures in compliance with the requirements of the administrative code.

De Jesus told Luciano that DMIA should also be prepared to the needs of passengers such as hotel accommodations and transportation.

Luciano said DMIA is well prepared to accommodate the influx of flights, adding that aircraft are safe to land in the area. “DMIA is very much capable to handle diverted flights and that the passengers are safe in the airport,” he said, adding the DOTC will require airlines to give food and water to passengers during long tarmac delays.

He said that after three hours, passengers will be deplaned and sent to their original destination at NAIA where their families are waiting. The air carriers would be required to submit a contingency plan for long tarmac delays for its scheduled flights.

The Civil Aeronautics Board issued Memorandum Circular No. 62 enjoining all air carriers operating scheduled services in the Philippines to ensure the comfort and convenience of passengers during long tarmac delays at departure, destination and diversion airports, through the provision of adequate food, water and lavatories and the proper deplaning of passengers when required.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the circular is based on the general obligation of air carriers, as public policies, pending the formulation, finalization and adoption of a more specific and comprehensive set of rules that shall deal with the matter, in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Code.

In connection to this, Arcilla said a preliminary conference is slated July 27, at the CAB Board Room.

The CIAC management had already met with various ground handlers at DMIA to prepare their equipment and services. (Reynaldo G. Navales)
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 01:54 AM   #617
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PAL eyes flights to India, expansion in Korea amid US, EU curbs
http://bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=14577

FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) wants to mount direct flights to India for the first time and add a flight to South Korea amid continued restrictions on local airlines in the United States and Europe.

The Lucio C. Tan-led airline will focus on expanding operations in neighboring countries in Asia in the meantime, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista told BusinessWorld.

“Korea is a developed market already but India is really a huge market considering its population of more than a billion,” he said.

PAL, Asia’s first airline, expects to wrap up a deal with Indian authorities ahead of the Koreans.

“We are still finalizing our study because initially, we wanted to fly Manila to Bangkok to India. But we are having difficulties in getting landing rights in Bangkok so we are thinking of flying directly from Manila to Bombay or Manila to New Delhi,” Mr. Bautista said.

“Normally it will take you three to six months to do all the market studies, prepare for the operations, and get maintenance providers, caterers, and ground handlers,” he added.

PAL only has a general sales agent in India. For now, PAL clients in Manila must pass by Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok through other airlines to get to India.

Mr. Bautista said the feasibility study would be completed in a “few weeks.” The flag carrier will then seek slots from airport operators in India and an approval from the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation, he said.

PAL is aiming to capture India citizens living in the Philippines and tourists, he said.

PAL is also studying the expansion of operations in Korea, where the airline has twice daily flights. “We can add one more flight a day,” Mr. Bautista said.

The airline may also fly bigger planes to Korea.

PAL flies from Manila or Cebu to Incheon and Busan with the 302-passenger Airbus A330-300 in the afternoon, and the 150-156-seater Airbus A320-200 in the evening.

“It is easy to add another flight if there is additional traffic ... what we only need is to get a slot in the airport,” Mr. Bautista said in Filipino.

“We are experiencing some improvement in the market,” Mr. Bautista added.

The focus on Asia stems from restrictions in the US. In 2008, the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 from Category 1 because of concerns over aircraft safety.

In April, the European Commission decided to ban Philippine carriers from European airspace.

“Under Category 2, we cannot have additional flights to the US, we cannot fly to new destinations, and we cannot add to the list of planes that can fly to the US,” Mr. Bautista said.

This was a setback “considering the US is one of our biggest markets,” he said.

PAL is the only local airline that flies to North America.

“We will concentrate on domestic and regional [destinations] in Asia, Australia, Japan and India,” he added.

PAL is expecting another net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31, after carrying more than nine million passengers.

With heavy losses due to the global economic downturn that started in 2008, PAL was forced to retrench 3,000 employees and outsource three non-core operations.

PAL reported a net loss of $40.2 million for nine months of its fiscal year, narrower than the $330.2 million recorded the previous year. Revenues rose by 15% to $1.08 billion but expenses reached $1.1 billion.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:17 AM   #618
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with the restrictions in the EU and US, PAL should consider investing on an A380 to add to their passenger capacity while maintaining the number of flights. By utilizing at least 1 or 2 A380's they'll be able to save millions of dollars a year in optimized operating costs as well as gaining profit. In fact, if it cannot afford to buy its own A380, it can lease from one of the global leasing companies.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:23 AM   #619
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As far as I know, PAL is either considering the A380 or the 747-8 as a replacement for the 747-400s.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 01:38 AM   #620
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Airphil Express eyes Cebu as hub for provincial flights
By Jessica B. Natad (The Freeman) Updated July 22, 2010 12:00 AM

CEBU, Philippines
After its re-launch in Metro Manila in March this year, Air Philippines is set to conquer the traveling market in the Visayas and Mindanao eyeing Cebu as the hub for all its provincial flights.

Maria Rodriguez Java, Airphil Express head for marketing, media, e-commerce and product, said the company also plans to make Cebu the center in the Visayas and Mindanao for its regional flights to Singapore and Korea , among others.

The low-cost airline had its Cebu to Manila maiden flight yesterday, simultaneous to the Davao to Manila maiden flight. Airphil initially flies Cebu to Manila ones a day but the frequency is set to increase to four flights in October this year.

Java said Airphil aims to fly Cebu to Manila eight times a day as soon as the additional aircrafts it purchased from France arrive. Airphil is undergoing a three-year re-fleeting plan, which includes the purchase of 18 Airbus 320 planes from France . Six A320 are expected to be delivered every year beginning this year. Two aircrafts have already been delivered. The remaining six are set to arrive in November.

Airphil’s Cebu-Manila and Davao-Manila flights are purposely scheduled at the end of the day, at 10:40 p.m., in response to the demand of its target market, the business community.

“Cebu and Davao are known to be the place for manufacturers. According to our research, our customers (in Cebu and Davao ) needs to get themselves and their products to their destination faster, better and cheaper. AirPhil Express has designed its Cebu-Manila and Davao-Manila flights specifically to respond to this business demand,” Java said.

“The end-of-the-day flight schedule and the choice of aircraft to service these routes are crucial. The larger cargo hold of the A320 allows Cebu and Davao-based business to load cargo to and from Manila at the end of every business day and straight to market at the start of the next. By assigning a fast, fuel-efficient, narrow-bodied jet like the A320, Airphil Express is also able to better respond to cost-wise to both passenger and cargo customers,” she added.

Aside from the A320 planes, Airphil’s fleet includes the Bombardier Q300 and the Bombardier Q400. Airphil Express also flies from Cebu to Bacolod , Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Iloilo, Surigao and Tacloban,

AirPhil was incorporated in 1995. In August 2009 it ceased operations after it was acquired by Philippine Airlines. It then started operating PAL Express flights in October under a code-sharing agreement with Philippine Airlines. (THE FREEMAN)
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