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Old August 5th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #661
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PAL moves to stem more pilot resignations
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines has moved to staunch the mass resignation of pilots that has led to the cancellation of several flights over the past few days.

The Department of Transportation and Communications on Thursday said PAL has submitted a list of undertakings meant to prevent any more of its pilots from leaving the company.

The principal of these is the company’s pledge that none of its remaining pilots would be moved to PAL’s sister company Air Philippines, the Lucio Tan group’s budget airline being groomed to go head-to-head against Cebu Pacific.

“This is a very determined step to end PAL’s problems with its pilots,” Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Dante Velasco said.

PAL’s three-pronged commitment to solve the current pilot crisis, which will be presented to President Benigno Aquino III, was a result of a series of meetings with DoTC officials.

Other commitments by PAL include the publication of its new daily flight schedule, to ensure that affected passengers are informed about the changes in their bookings ahead of time. The company also pledged to keep an open line of communication with its pilots, who, unlike other PAL employees, are not represented by a union.

But Velasco admitted that PAL’s move to transfer pilots to Air Philippines was the biggest a source of resentment among the pilots.

This led to the resignation of a total of 26 pilots, the latest being on Wednesday. The pilots were reported to have left the country to take higher-paying jobs abroad. This resulted in the lack of pilots to man the company’s fleet of Airbus A320 and A310 aircraft.

Velasco explained that the airline’s management implemented a cost-cutting program earlier this year that involved the transfer of several senior and junior pilots to Air Philippines. The pilots were given lower salaries, with the company claiming that these were “low-cost carrier rates.”
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #662
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Corporate slavery : The thing about PAL
By Solita Collas-Monsod
August 6, 2010

FROM THE initial stories that came out in the press, one got the impression that the pilots who had left PAL were the bad guys. The stories, sourced from PAL management, went that the pilots were earning oodles of money (by local standards anyway—P500,000 a month was the figure being given for a senior pilot).

Their training (“costing millions”), which had made them so highly skilled and highly priced in the first place, had been paid for by the company. And yet they left for greener pastures, and with nary a by-your-leave or backward look to boot, leaving behind unpaid debts to the company, forcing the airline to cancel scheduled flights, causing the passengers great inconvenience, reducing tourism, thus jeopardizing the economy. Such greedy, ungrateful, thoughtless, unpatriotic wretches was the structural message of these tales.

The PAL management, on the other hand, were the good guys in this version of the story. Although the pilots had broken the law and their contracts, which required them to give a six-month notice before leaving, the company was willing to forgive and forget all and would not press any charges or impose any sanctions as long as the pilots would come back. Structural message: management was not only reasonable, but ready to bend backward for the national good.

Unfortunately for the PAL spinners, the story was too big to be controlled by the usual methods of “envelopmental” journalism and the threat of advertising withdrawal. So the “bad guys” were able to get their own version across.

In this version, the pilots left because they saw how PAL had treated some of their colleagues, and weren’t about to wait for the same treatment to be meted out to them. Specifically, they saw their colleagues, both senior and junior, arbitrarily declared “redundant” and therefore retrenched/terminated, at about the same time that a couple of PAL airplanes were turned over to Air Philippines (a sister company). The retrenched pilots were then offered jobs at Air Phil, but at markedly lower (reportedly half of their former pay) salaries, because they had lost their seniority and were considered new hires. When even more PAL planes were rumored to be readied for transfer to its sister company, the pilots scrambled for jobs being offered abroad.

At first, PAL management pooh-poohed this version, and said (I heard it myself in a TV interview) that the pilots in question were not terminated but merely assigned to Air Phil on a “temporary” basis. But in the face of the first-person accounts that were being presented to the public and in Malacañang, and the fact that more and more pilots are planning to join their colleagues abroad, PAL presumably had to change its tune. So that yesterday’s headline was “PAL vows to stop moving pilots to Air Philippines.”

The above example of mendacity does not seem to be unique. The P500,000 a month salary figure quoted above—which fed the impression that pilots are greedy sons-of-bitches—is equally spurned by the pilots themselves. I talked to three pilots of varying seniority, who shared with me what they earn at PAL, and the figures, all in, averaged P350,000. Furthermore, their training, “costing millions,” turned out to be P1.9 million, but since this is a figure given in a PAL contract, the pilots feel that even this is an exaggeration, for which they are required to give five years of service.

Then there is the matter of the pilots leaving without the requisite notice, as claimed by PAL. If they did, it may be because of any or all of these reasons (again, from first-person accounts under similar circumstances): one is that PAL refused to accept their letter of resignation on the grounds that only a 30-day notice was given (per the Labor Code) and not the 180 days specified in their contract. (Anyone who reads that contract will see how onerous the terms are.) The pilots point out that the 180-day notice requirement is not a law (contrary to what was originally stated in the media, presumably courtesy of PAL). I checked this out with Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, asking her to cite the law. There is none. What is there is a memorandum circular from the POEA Board citing critical mission skills as reason for the 180-day notice—and she elaborated that this is binding only for pilots who are recruited in the Philippines—which is presumably why these pilots signed their contracts abroad.

A second reason is that PAL allegedly makes the lives of the pilots who give requisite notice a living hell: they are given the worst assignments, and their pay is withheld, supposedly while the company is making a determination of how much the pilot may be owing the company—which leaves the pilot, who has a family to support, in dire financial straits.

Apparently, if the pilots’ stories are to be believed (and I will take their word over management’s any time), PAL does not hesitate to use this time to undermine the pilot’s status with his prospective employer (what one may call a negative letter of reference), which has sometimes resulted in the withdrawal of the offer of employment; and/or to level some complaint against the pilot to “cooperative” immigration authorities or to the POEA or the NBI that will effectively stop his departure.

Let’s get real here. If the labor problems of PAL are limited to its pilots, maybe, just maybe it could be the pilots’ fault. But PAL has problems with its flight crews and ground crews as well. Corporate family? Corporate slavery, more like it. -- PDI
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:21 PM   #663
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FASAP declines 80 million offer
Strike Imminent

August 10, 2010

The Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) declined Philippine Airlines P80-million package to settle their CBA for 2005-2010 because the airline refused to talk about its mandatory retirement age policy, and instead opted that the attendants’ main complaint about retirement age should be discussed only in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations for 2010-2015.

There was no meeting of minds at the NCMB because the airlines wanted closure to the 2005-2010 CBA by offering P80 million settlement, while FASAP wanted the airline to lift its retirement age policy for being discriminatory. FASAP is also contesting the “no-motherhood policy” of PAL, which bars a pregnant flight attendant from receiving any salary or allowance and travel benefits while she is on leave.

On the retirement age issue, PAL President Jaime Bautista said there was “more than enough time” to discuss the retirement age provisions and issues in the next CBA negotiations and they want closure to the previous one that has been a source of conflict between the two parties.

Under the existing CBA, male and female flight attendants hired before November 1996 will be retired once they reach 60 and 55, respectively, and those hired starting 1996 will be retired at age 45. Those hired after November 2000 will be retired at the age of 40.

FASAP has opposed PAL’s implementation of a mandatory retirement age of 40 for both male and female flight attendants, claiming it’s “discriminatory.”

“They said they want to talk about the retirement age in the next CBA, which, for us, is simply unacceptable. It should be settled in this CBA negotiation,” FASAP president Roberto Anduiza said.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #664
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PAL loses damage claim against ex pilot
August 10, 2010

Philippine Airlines lose its civil case against one of its A320 pilots for its failure to substantiate claim for the cost of its training.

The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the ruling of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City on June 19, 2008, which dismissed civil damages filed by PAL against pilot captain Antonio Halagueña.

PAL was seeking P1.2 million compensation and damages for his alleged failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the training agreement he signed with the airline company.

CA Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro dismissed Philippine Airlines' (PAL) charges of alleged breach of contract on grounds of previous payments by the pilot and lack of supporting evidence on the part of PAL to justify its other claims.

The Court said PAL filed the suit before the trial court to seek payment of the balance on the pilot's training on May 9, 2005 or almost two years after he paid the airline P401,480 representing full monetary obligations under the training agreement.

Court documents disclosed that PAL hired Halagueña as pilot trainee for A320 on March 11, 2002 and offered him the training program that it provides for all its pilots wishing to operate its newer aircraft.Halagueña underwent training until May 19, 2002, after which he qualified as captain of its Airbus A320. The training contract containing the terms and conditions of the training program was signed by Halagueña on March 22, 2003.

Halagueña tendered his resignation to the airline a year later on October 31, 2003 which took effect immediately. Consequently, he failed to report for his flight and reserve pilot assignments from that date and was declared by the airline to have abandoned its post on January 15, 2004.

PAL Representative Captain Johnny Andrews later told Halagueña through his wife, Patricia, that her husband would be cleared from financial liability if he reimbursed the amount of P401,480.

On November 24, 2003, PAL received from Halagueña's wife the amount of P401,480 as full payment for his monetary obligations under the training agreement.

PAL however insisted that Halagueña resignation was a breach of their agreement and demanded the pilot to pay the balance of P252,951 representing the expenses for his training plus 14% interest per annum until it is paid. It also demanded reimbursement for expenses it incurred to train another pilot amounting to P1.05 million.

Halagueña ignored PAL's demands,prompting the airline to file a damage suit before the Makati RTC.

The CA also ruled "Thus, under the principle of estoppel by laches," PAL has already waived its right to collect the supposed balance amount.

Estoppel by laches is an equitable remedy in court described as the failure of the party to assert its right in due time, thus, leading to "a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned to defend it or has agreed to the correctness of the resolution."

"All things considered, we find and so rule that the wealth of evidence in this case sustains the conclusion of the RTC that Halagueña is no longer liable to PAL. Hence, there is no reason to depart from the said findings," says the Court of Appeals.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #665
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MIAA: NAIA landing system will be operational soon
By Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) Updated August 10, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0)

MANILA, Philippines - The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced yesterday that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s instrument landing system (ILS) will be serviceable on or before Aug. 15, a year after it bogged down due to typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”


MIAA general manager Jose Honrado said the ILS’ two main components – the glide slope and localizer antenna – are still being connected to the main power lines.

The ILS was submerged in floodwaters brought by Ondoy and Pepeng and its components were badly damaged, sources said.

Honrado said there are several more steps that would have to be done by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) before the ILS could be made operational.

“After the installation and the provision of electric power, the ILS would be subjected to flight check and calibration by the CAAP,” Honrado said.

The CAAP and the MIAA have a previous arrangement wherein the CAAP operates and maintains the aeronautical equipment while the MIAA provides the funds for their purchase.

As of yesterday, the Integrated Energy Systems and Resources Inc. was able to install the antenna localizer and shelter for the cable and monitor, according to Susan Tecson, the company’s managing director executive.

“We have powered up the localizer, including the shelter and monitor masts,” Tecson said, adding that two foreign consultants, engineers Rico Heuer and Marc Thelen, are preparing the ILS for the upcoming flight checks.

The ILS components, costing $2.4 million, were manufactured in France by Thales ATM Project Engineers and were brought to the country last July 9. The ILS is a ground-based system that provides precision guidance to aircraft approaching and landing on a runway.

An ILS consists of two independent sub-systems, the localizer, providing horizontal or lateral guidance, while the glide slope or glide path gives the cockpit reading of the airplane’s vertical position relative to the runway.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #666
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EU air safety inspectors arriving
By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:32:00 08/10/2010

Filed Under: News, Air Transport, airport security, Air safety

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has less than three months to prepare for the arrival of experts from the European Air Safety Agency in October and convince them that the country has improved the security and safety standards of its aviation industry.

In a statement, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director-general Alfonso Cusi said the EASA team of experts’ arrival has been tentatively set Oct. 18-22.

The results of the inspection will be discussed and reviewed by the EU’s air safety committee which will meet in Brussels, Belgium, in November, Cusi said.

The CAAP chief also announced that on Sept. 2-3, the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Roberto Gonzalez, will be in Manila on an official visit. His itinerary includes discussion of the corrective plans being implemented in the Philippine aviation sector.

“This is good. We are ready for them,” Cusi said.

He said EU transport authorities have recommended that CAAP continue its efforts towards at least a partial lifting of the ban. The findings of the EASA team will determine the possibility of a partial or full deletion of the Philippines from the blacklist, he added.

In April, the EU banned Philippine carriers from the organization’s 27 member-states following an announcement by the ICAO in October 2009 of a Significant Safety Concern relating to the oversight functions carried out by the CAAP, and on the earlier downgrading of the Philippines' safety rating by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Representatives of the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific met committee members in June to update them on the two airlines’ upgraded security and safety procedures after getting new operating certificates from the CAAP. However, the airlines were unable to convince the body to drop them from its registry of blacklisted airlines.

EASA, based in Cologne, Germany, is the civilian aviation regulatory agency of the EU. It implements and monitors air safety rules; it also authorizes third-country or non-EU air operators.

The air safety committee, which is based in Brussels, Belgium, is composed of representatives from EU member-states and lobby groups. It assists the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, in the adoption of technical measures pertaining to civilian aviation.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 02:24 AM   #667
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Harbor View Post
While I'm happy that NAIA-3 is finally resolved, I do not like how this sycophant of Noynoy named Jarius Bondoc is shaming and crucifying Gloria for something she is not exactly responsible for. Well, that is unless it can be proven that the allegation of repeated delays at the ICC which were reportedly caused by Gloria are true.

Someone should remember here: Gloria is not the source of this mess. Erap was, and she made it (somewhat) worse. Noynoy is merely benefiting from the case's victory without even lifting a finger.
Philippine Aviation Industry is indeed exciting!
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:09 AM   #668
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Recto cautions Noy on plans to privatize NAIA operations
By Christina Mendez and Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated August 04, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ralph Recto said the Aquino administration should proceed with caution on its plan to privatize operations of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to raise revenues and possibly stem the implementation of new taxes.

Recto said the proceeds of the privatization should go directly to the national treasury and that lawmakers should determine promptly where the funds would be specifically spent.

“If you will privatize it, where will the proceeds go? How can you improve the services and where will the proceeds be spent? Could it be used to modernize our airports? Our navigation devices?” Recto said in an interview.

“It should go to the treasury, and then we will talk about it during the general appropriations act unless there is a special law on it,” he said.

Recto has filed Senate Resolution 29 calling for an inquiry by the Senate committee on finance into the status of the privatization program of the Privatization Council and the Privatization Management Office (PMO) “with the end view of generating greater revenues for the government and streamlining the bureaucracy.”

“There is an urgent need to look into the status of the privatization program of the government, particularly on the accomplishments of the program vis-à-vis its mandates, as well as the remaining assets that need to be disposed of,” Recto said in his resolution.

He noted that the privatization program generated revenues of up to P235 billion from 1987 to 2009.

Executive Order 323 issued on Dec. 6, 2001 created the privatization council and the PMO to succeed the Committee on Privatization and the Asset Privatization Trust, respectively.

“There is a need for Congress to determine if future legislation is needed in order to expedite the privatization program,” Recto said.

“Consistent with the government’s effort to generate revenues, it is imperative to review the processes involved in the disposal of government assets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Escudero said he favors the privatization of NAIA 3 but only after legal obstacles to its operations have been resolved.

The International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore earlier ruled in favor of the government in the arbitration case against NAIA 3 contractor Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (PIATCO). The Washington-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes had also dismissed the complaint of Fraport AG Frankfurt Services Worldwide – a member of the PIATCO consortium – against the Philippine government.

Palace’s appeal

Malacañang, meanwhile, appealed for more time to study the intricacies of the government’s case against PIATCO.

This developed as the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore dismissed the $900-million counter-claim of the Philippine government against PIATCO’s $565-million suit for breach of concession agreements, sources said.

PIATCO had sought the ICC-International Court of Arbitration’s permission to revert to its original contract on NAIA 3 signed with the government.

The Philippine Supreme Court had declared PIATCO’s contract with the government unconstitutional and void from the beginning.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said government lawyers have been meeting since Monday and briefing the concerned officials on the issue.

Lacierda said more briefings had to be done because of allegations that some groups had been trying to convince the Aquino administration to enter into an out-of-court settlement.

“We will present a more comprehensive report on the PIATCO case. But, in the meantime, allow us first not to answer your point. We welcome the decision of the arbitration branch, however, relieving the government of paying all those claims made by PIATCO,” he said.

“Because we are a new government, we were just briefed yesterday as to what happened in the case. After that, we will come up with a briefing,” Lacierda said.

Sources said all claims and counter-claims were dismissed because the ICC refused to rule on just compensation since it should be filed before an expropriation court.

“It’s not really a loss on the part of the government. This is still a major victory because it’s PIATCO who filed the case and lost,” a source said.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:12 AM   #669
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ANA To Launch Narita-Jakarta and Narita-Manila Routes

TOKYO August 6, 2010 - ANA announced its decision to launch two new international routes from Narita next year, resuming the Narita-Jakarta route from January 2011, and inaugurating the Narita-Manila route in March 2011.

This route expansion will strengthen ANA's Southeast Asia network. ANA currently operates flights from Narita to Bangkok, Singapore and Ho-Chi-Min City and recently announced the launch of two additional services from Haneda to Bangkok and Singapore which will start in October. With the announcement of these two new routes, ANA will operate a total of nine daily flights that service seven routes to five Southeast Asia destinations. This network will provide an increase in the number of choices available to passengers traveling between Japan and Southeast Asian destinations and will improve the convenience of transit passengers connecting at Narita to routes to and from North America.

ANA also announced that, due to the adjustments of the take-off and landing slots in the timetable for winter 2010, it will suspend its Nagoya (Chubu)-Shanghai (Pudong) route from October 31, 2010.

ANA will continue to improve its network for the advantage and satisfaction of its valued customers.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:17 AM   #670
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Government to declare open skies policy for RP
Top News
Written by Manuel T. Cayon / Reporter

DAVAO CITY—In a move that could worsen the situation of local carriers, especially Philippine Airlines, the Aquino administration is expected to declare soon an open-skies policy as a strategy for boosting tourism.

The revelation of the plan, reportedly with the backing of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, was revealed here by Narzalina Z. Lim, who served as Tourism chief under Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos.


The policy statement is expected to be made soon, according to Ms. Lim, after the economic managers met last week to discuss a range of tourism-related topics, including the declaration of the country’s air space as open to international access.

Currently the general manager of the Marketing Representative-Philippines that handles the tourism promotion of Macau’s Government Tourist Office, Ms. Lim told reporters at the Marco Polo Hotel here that she was informed of the new policy position by Secretary Lim. The former chairman of the Makati Business Club informed her of the consensus of Mr. Aquino’s economic managers and said that it would be announced very soon.

Earlier, a citizens’ group opposed to unbridled open skies had assailed Secretary Lim’s recent statements pitching open skies, saying the policy would be lopsidedly in favor of foreign carriers that already enjoy subsidies from their governments.

Ms. Lim, however, said the open-skies policy is hoped to rejuvenate the untapped facilities of upgraded international airports in the country, including that of Davao City. There had been hopes of transforming Mindanao into the southern doorway to direct international travel, and to spread the economic benefits to the rest of Southern Philippines.

“You have a very good international airport here, yet this is not being utilized to its full potential as an international port,” she told reporters in a briefing meant to further drumbeat travel to Macau, where Filipinos have become the seventh on the list of nationalities frequenting this casino gaming and amusement center in Asia.

The farthest that the Philippines has toyed with opening its skies was granting only the fifth- freedom rights to foreign airlines, a permission to allow non-Philippine commercial aircraft to pick up passengers and cargo only in ports of call.

The Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) has been advocating open skies, a call it made to the four governments comprising the subregion in its Roadmap to Development 2006–10.

In that call, the senior ministers representing their respective countries to the BIMP-Eaga said they agreed “to allow multiple designation of airlines, as well as respectively designate selected two Eaga entry points by end of 2006 and subsequently all Eaga entry points by 2008 with fifth-freedom traffic rights for scheduled passenger services.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Lim said she hoped that the new open-skies policy would help boost the operation of more international-quality airports to accommodate more direct international flights, including that of a possible Davao City-Macau flight.

So far, only the Naia and Clark airports are serving direct flights to Macau.

She said Filipinos were the seventh most traveled nationalities to Macau, at 262,000 visitors last year, mostly on amusement, entertainment and adventure destinations. She said it was difficult to keep tab of Filipinos going to the casinos “because while we do not promote gaming and gambling, some of our rich Filipinos go there secretly,” though “generally, they are for entertainment and leisure.”

She said her office, which does the promotion for Macau, would like to tap the still large market of Filipinos wanting to go to Macau.

Carol Bacaltos of the Durian Travel and Tours agency here said they get an average of five inquiries daily for travel to Macau. “It’s usually Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia,” she said.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #671
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Aviation authorities hopeful RP will recover Category 1 status
Written by Recto Mercene / Reporter

THE International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) and the European Air Safety Agency (Easa) have scheduled separate visits to the Philippines before the end of the year to reassess the country’s airport situation.

Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) are hopeful the findings will lead to the restoration of the country’s Category 1 status and the lifting of the ban by the European Union (EU) on two Philippine air carriers. 


Roberto Kobeh Gonsalez, Icao president, will be in Manila from September 2 to 4 and part of his itinerary is to discuss with airport officials their “Corrective Action Plan” to address the country’s airport problems.

The Easa experts will be here from October 18 to 22 to assess the progress made by the Caap in improving the security and safety standards of the country’s civil aviation.

 The findings will be discussed and reviewed by the Air Safety Committee in the next committee meeting in Brussels in November.

The findings will be crucial since they will determine the possibility of a partial or full deletion of the Philippines from the EU operating ban, according to a letter from the EU.

Director General Alfonso Cusi of Caap welcomed the planned visits. “This is good; we are ready for them,” he said. 

 In March, following the ban which affected Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific, representatives of the two air carriers accompanied Cusi in a visit to the EU where they separately presented the two airlines’ safety standards to the Air Safety Committee to show the latest steps they had taken to improve their situation in accordance with the EU’s recommendations.

 Sources said the EU members were apparently satisfied and indicated that the efforts undertaken by the Philippine aviation authorities to reform the civil-aviation system in the country were fully acknowledged and supported by the Air Safety Committee.

 The Caap said of the 64 findings of the Federal Aviation Authority International Aviation Safety Assessment (FAA-IASA), 46 have been addressed and were now considered closed.

The findings were in connection with specific operating regulations, qualifications and training staff, procedures and technical guidance, licensing and certification obligations, surveillance obligations, and resolution of safety concerns.

 Cusi said the Caap will continue to address the 18 remaining findings, including a top-down review of the organization, process and procedures, operating regulations, oversight capability, staffing, training and modernization of the filing system, database and office equipment.

 The Caap is also rushing the appointment of qualified technical personnel to fill up the positions in the Flight Standards Inspectorate Service, the office primarily responsible for safety oversight of air operators, Cusi said. 

“I believe our aviation industry has stabilized with several corrective actions undertaken since March 2010, but still there is a need to institutionalize procedures and business processes to ensure that oversight functions are being done in accordance with international standards and practices” he said.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #672
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P-Noy may mobilize pilots from PAF to fly PAL airbuses
By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) Updated August 12, 2010 12:00 AM


CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – President Aquino can mobilize pilots from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to temporarily fly Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) Airbus 320 but military pilots will have to undergo specialized training and acquire licenses before they could do this, according to a top military official.

“This possibility is all up to our commander-in-chief,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Ocol said in an interview.

Twenty-six PAL pilots, all assigned to Airbus 320s, have resigned and did not return to work despite warnings from management of legal actions for breach of contract.

Ocol stressed that deploying PAF pilots to fly Airbus 320s won’t be easy, although the military has “a good pool of pilots.”

The situation at PAL has affected tourism and snagged foreign and domestic air travel. The PAL employees’ union said the resignations were in reaction to a plan by the airline to lay off thousands of employees and outsource their positions.

Sources from the aviation industry told The STAR that the PAL pilots started to consider other jobs even before they abandoned the flag carrier.

“The initial offer was from Air Vietnam, which offered $9,300 monthly salary. Then came an offer from a Hong Kong airline with $15,000 salary per month,” the source said.

Ocol said that while the PAF flying school graduates about 50 pilots every year, there is no fear of them being “pirated” by lucrative-paying commercial airlines because they sign an eight-year contract with the Air Force.

He could not immediately say how much the government spends to train one pilot, but he recalled that at the time he finished his training in 1994 the cost was about P2 million each.

Meanwhile, Ben Hur Gomez, owner of Omni Corp., one of the country’s top aviation schools, urged the Aquino administration to take advantage of the rising demand in China and India for aviation schools to train pilots for their growing aviation industries.

He said the Philippines’ location is ideal for Chinese and Indian student pilots, but cited the need to ensure the quality of local aviation schools that are under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

A study made by Alteon, the training arm of Boeing Co., revealed that China will need 2,162 pilots yearly or 43,240 pilots by the year 2025, while India will need 12,000 pilots by 2025.

The Alteon study also revealed that Central and South America need 1,344 pilots per year, and that South America alone would need 27,000 pilots by 2025.

It also revealed that Europe will need an average of 3,747 pilots yearly, while the US and Canada would need 128,000 pilots by 2025
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:21 AM   #673
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Cebu Pacific reports increase in Sokor, Japan passengers Companies
Written by Lenie Lectura / Reporter
Wednesday, 12 August 2010 20:33


CEBU Pacific, the airline unit of the Gokongwei group, said passenger traffic for its South Korea and Japan routes grew by 10 percent and 56 percent, respectively, in the last six months compared with the same period a year ago.

“The number of our passengers to South Korea grew by 10 percent, while our passengers to Japan grew by 56 percent, based on year-on-year growth figures from January to June 2009 and 2010,” the airline said in a statement.

The encouraging results prompted the low-cost carrier to offer a P2,899 seat sale to flights to Japan and South Korea.

“We will continue to offer CEB’s trademark low fares to encourage even more to visit the Philippines and other international destinations,” said Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog.

The airline is offering the promo from August 12-14 for travel from October 1 to November 30 to celebrate the increase in passenger volume.

Manila-Osaka seats are on sale for P3,999, while the Manila-Seoul (Incheon), Cebu-Seoul and Cebu-Busan seats are offered for P2,899.

Cebu Pacific flies from Manila and Cebu to Seoul (Incheon) daily, and from Cebu to Busan twice weekly. Meanwhile, the airline flies from Manila to Osaka thrice weekly. It plans to make its Manila-Seoul (Incheon) flights twice daily in January 2011, after the expected delivery of additional brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft in the last quarter.

Asia’s third-largest carrier, Cebu Pacific flies the most extensive network in the Philippines, and is the only low-cost carrier with flights from the Philippines to the major North Asian countries of China, South Korea and Japan. It is set to launch direct Manila-Brunei flights on August 21 and Manila-Beijing flights on September 5
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #674
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CAAP suspends 4 flying schools
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Posted at 08/12/2010 6:06 PM | Updated as of 08/12/2010 6:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - In a bid to bring back the integrity of the aviation industry in the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) suspended Thursday 4 flying schools that failed auditing standards.

In a press conference, CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi said the regulatory office has temporarily stopped the operations of Strike Wing Aviation Training Center, National Aviation Specialist Academy, Aviation Link and Manila Aviation.

The flying schools have been halted from issuing certifications, flight time logs and other documents to students.

Cusi said the schools have been giving students excessive flying hours beyond that prescribed in the training program.

The schools’ facilities have also failed international standards, he said.

Strike Wing’s Almario Reformado asked CAAP to reinstate its license, saying the suspension would compromise the safety of its students. He said the school has been closely following CAAP regulations.

Cusi could not say how many students have been affected because of the suspensions.

The number of suspended flying schools is only a small chunk of the entire industry. Of the 51 flying schools all over the country, CAAP has only audited 10 so far.

He said the regulatory body is expected to suspend more.

“We want to regain our credibility considering that we were downgraded by the [United States Federal Aviation Administration],” he said.

The local aviation industry was downgraded to category 2 in January 2008 based on the US FAA’s International Aviation Safety Audit.

FAA said “the Philippines was no longer overseeing the safety of its airlines in accordance with the international standards and practices.”

Cusi said the agency is also running after pilots with fake licenses.

CAAP earlier initiated a nationwide auditing program after finding out that some students and private pilots are using fake licenses. CAAP had said the licenses were obtained via fabricated certificates containing “extraordinary” examination results.

Affected students mostly came from India and the Middle East, he said.

A student spends about $30,000 to achieve a certification and initial license.

This means that P20,000 to P25,000 is spent per hour of training flight. He or she would need 40 hours to become a private pilot and 230 hours to become a commercial pilot.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #675
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Business as usual, PAL assures public
Flag-carrier urges DoLE to rule on 'spin off' case
August 12, 2010, 7:55pm

The management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) Thursday, August 12, 2010, said it is assuring the riding public that there will be no immediate strike from its ground and cabin crew unions.

But despite strike threats, PAL president Jaime Bautista remains hopeful that PAL, with the help from the Deparment of Labor and Employment (DOLE), can still find a peaceful and amicable solution to PAL’s labor problems. “After all,” he said, “PAL management continues to talk with the union representatives. We believe the negotiating table is still the best venue for resolving differences.”

Bautista assured PAL passengers that labor strikes – especially in public utilities like PAL -- do not happen overnight. “There is a legal process involved which all parties must respect and adhere to, before any lockout or strike can materialize,” he explained.

Just the same, he said PAL has lined up measures like deployment of administrative staff and other personnel to help in case of emergency. “As part of our conditions of carriage, we commit to our passengers that we will bring them to their destination whether through extra flights or through PAL’s domestic and international interline partners,” he said.

PAL has a total of 134 interline partners – 12 airlines in Southeast Asia; 11 in the USA and Canada; 25 in Europe; 12 in the Middle East; 3 airlines in Japan; and 10 airlines in China. “In case of flight disruptions, our passengers can rest assured that we can transfer them to these airline partners,” Bautista explained.

As this developed, PAL urged DOLE to resolve the pending motions for reconsideration filed by both the PAL management and the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) regarding the airline’s planned spin-off of three non-core units.

During today’s DOLE-initiated conciliation meeting, PAL representatives stressed that the planned spin-off is crucial to the company’s survival. Thus, they urged DOLE to uphold its earlier ruling recognizing the spin-off of PAL’s catering, groundhandling and call center units as “a valid exercise of a managerial prerogative.”

“PAL has presented and fully explained all the evidence in support of the spin-off. It cited all the factors that led to PAL’s current financial difficulties and the legal basis for the spin-off as an integral part of the airline’s survival plan. We hope DOLE will dismiss the motion for reconsideration filed by PALEA (PAL Employees’ Association) since PAL urgently needs to implement cost-cutting measures as it fights for survival,” Bautista said.

He explained that almost all airlines in the world are concentrating on their core business of flying and operating aircraft. Most, if not all, have given up non-core businesses and simply engaged the services of third parties that can provide cheaper and more cost-efficient products and services.
He also stressed that PAL is not engaging in ‘contractualization’ as claimed by its ground crew union. “PAL is not hiring contractuals. It is selling its catering, groundhandling and call center units to interested third parties who are experts in operating these businesses,” he said.

Bautista added that the more than 2,600 PALEA members to be affected by the spin-off will be paid one month’s salary for every year of service. They are likewise guaranteed employment by companies who will take over PAL’s catering, groundhandling and call center units. “Contrary to PALEA’s claim, no worker will be left on the street, except those who will not take the job offered by the service providers,” PAL stressed.

He also belied PALEA’s claims that the workers will eventually be hired by companies owned by PAL Chairman Lucio Tan. “This is not true. A classic example is the case PAL’s call center which will eventually be taken over by e-PLDT Ventus, a unit of publicly-listed PLDT controlled by Mr. Manny Pangilinan, not Mr. Tan. He dismissed PALEA’s claims as mere ‘propaganda’.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #676
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PAL not rehiring retrenched employees
By SAMUEL P. MEDENILLAAugust 12, 2010, 8:16pm


Philippine Airlines (PAL) has no plan to rehire its retrenched workers, PAL President Jaime Bautista said in an interview, Thursday after its conciliation meeting organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Bautista made the statement amid the accusations of the Philippine Airline Employees Association (PALEA) that it is merely changing the status of its regular employees to contractual to avoid giving their due benefits.

“We are in a crisis, we need to retrench some of our workers in order for PAL to survive,” Bautista said.

PALEA is the ground-based employees of PAL, the country’s flag carrier airline.

Bautista said PAL would need to sell its catering, ground handling, call center departments to Philippine Long Distance Telecommunication (PLDT) and Star Kitchen, so it could focus on providing its airline transportation service to the riding public and lessen its unnecessary costs.

“PAL is the only remaining airline in Asia with its own catering, ground-handling, and call center which are not competitive,” Bautista said.

“It needs to cut its unnecessary cost to be more attractive to investors,” he added.

However, Bautista assured the 3,600 affected employees that they would be absorbed by PLDT and Star Kitchen.

During the four-hour meeting in the National Capital Region office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, representatives from the PAL management and PALEA failed to come up with a compromise regarding the motion of reconsideration filed by the labor union at DOLE.

PALEA filed a petition at the Department of Labor and Employment to change the ruling of its former acting secretary Romeo Lagman, which favored the PAL management’s plans to outsource some of its services.

Both parties are still waiting for the decision of DOLE.

While it has not resolved the petition of PALEA, DOLE could not impose an assumption of jurisdiction or status quo decision on the case.

Meanwhile, PALEA President Gerry Rivera said they prefer to continue with the conciliation meeting with the PAL management, which is mediated by DOLE, but he indicated they would not hesitate to go on strike, which would be disadvantageous to the riding public, if the management initiates retrenching its employees.

“We are willing to cooperate with the PAL management, but if its start removing it employees we would have to protect are ourselves,” Rivera said.

Another meeting organized by DOLE is set on Monday to discuss the other concerns of both PAL and PALEA, Bautista said.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #677
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Mediation on PAL row bogs down
By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) Updated August 13, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (18)

MANILA, Philippines - Work stoppage at Philippines Airlines (PAL) has become more imminent as negotiations to settle prevailing labor disputes in the airline company failed anew yesterday.

Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) president Gerry Rivera warned they are poised to go on strike if PAL management starts the termination of its 2,700 employees.

“We have long been ready, but we are now more ready to go on strike if the management would insist on implementing the order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),” Rivera said.

The management of PAL, however, assured the riding public that there will be no immediate strike from its ground and cabin crew unions.

In a statement, PAL president Jaime Bautista remains hopeful that PAL, with the help from DOLE, can still find a peaceful and amicable solution to PAL’s labor problems.

“After all, PAL management continues to talk with the union representatives. We believe the negotiating table is still the best venue for resolving differences,” he said.

Bautista assured PAL passengers that labor strikes – especially in public utilities like PAL – do not happen overnight.

“There is a legal process involved which all parties must respect and adhere to, before any lockout or strike can materialize,” he said.

Rivera stressed they are still willing to continue the dialogue with PAL management and exhaust all possible options to settle the dispute.

But the workers, according to Rivera, would not wait a minute to go on work stoppage if any one of them would be terminated.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz called PAL and PALEA representatives for a conciliation meeting, but the four-hour talks between the two parties resulted in a deadlock.

“We are ready to continue the conciliation, but we want the management to show good faith by removing all the irritants prior to the start of the negotiation,” Rivera pointed out.

He said among the contentious issues in the negotiation was the plan of PAL management to close down three departments and outsource non-core positions.

Instead of giving in to the employees’ request, Rivera said, the management chose to submit a petition seeking an immediate resolution of a pending motion for reconsideration of the previous DOLE ruling.

Last June, Acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman issued a decision declaring the PAL outsourcing plan, as well as the eventual termination of 2,700 employees, as legal.

Rivera said they filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision on the grounds that it violated labor laws and PAL’s existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

According to Rivera, the PAL management’s move clearly showed that they already want to start the termination of employees in the catering, ground services and reservation call centers.

Rivera said Baldoz’s efforts indicated her resolve to allow the PAL management and employees to settle the labor disputes amicably without resorting to a strike.

“We want an amicable settlement of this case, but the management seems unmoved by our appeal. If they would insist on implementing the order, we are left with no choice but to defend our source and income,” Rivera pointed out.

“We have proven in the past that we are capable of going on strike and paralyzing PAL’s operations. We are doing it again if PAL would insist on terminating us and continue with their outsourcing plan,” he warned.

PALEA’s legal counsel Joven Dellosa said that extending separation pay to those workers to be terminated is not the issue but the security of tenure of the workers.

Bautista admitted a strike is possible at this time but said that management is exerting all efforts to prevent such a situation.

PAL management is continuing with their regular meeting with the employees on Monday.

Bautista said they opted to seek DOLE’s immediate decision on the PALEA motion for reconsideration because it would settle the question of whether outsourcing is legal.

He noted though that the outsourcing plan is part of the flag carrier’s effort to survive.

“The airline industry is now in crisis. We have to do what other airlines are doing. We also have to concentrate on the main business of flying passengers and cargo. We have to do it to be competitive and be able to survive,” Bautista explained.

Outsourcing is not contractualization because PAL is selling their three other services to other companies whose business are not related to the airline industry, Bautista explained.

Bautista also gave assurance that the outsourcing companies would hire qualified PAL employees that would be displaced.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #678
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Congress passes resolution calling on Philippine airline to end outsourcing dispute
12 August 2010

Congress delegates today passed a resolution denouncing Philippine Airlines’ decision to outsource thousands of jobs.

The resolution condemned the decision of the former Filipino acting secretary of labour and employment last June, which approved Philippine Airlines management’s plan to ousource its “non-core” business. The move is set to lead to the dismissal of 3000 workers in airport services, in-flight catering and call centre reservations, all of whom are represented by the Philippine Airline Employees’ Association (PALEA).

Delegates committed to back the union’s request for the decision to be reconsidered, “so as to prevent union busting and the unjustified contracting out of PALEA members who stand to lose their right to organise and bargain collectively.”

Speaking to move the resolution Johnny Oca of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines, warned delegates: “If this motion is not passed, 3000 PALEA members may face an uncertain situation as contracted workers.”
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:29 AM   #679
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No flight sked disruptions, PAL assures
08/13/2010 | 04:23 PM

The country's flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) assured that its flights would proceed as scheduled, despite threats made by two of its labor unions about possible work stoppages.

Labor strikes, especially in public utilities like PAL, do not happen overnight, said PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista.

“There is a legal process involved which all parties must respect and adhere to, before any lockout or strike can materialize," he explained.

When a strike does take place, PAL said several measures are already in place to ensure that operations go smoothly.

The contingency measures include an arrangement with partner airlines to take in PAL passengers when work stoppages do happen.

“In case of flight disruptions, our passengers can rest assured that we can transfer them to these airline partners," Bautista said.

He cited PAL's 134 interline partners:12 airlines in Southeast Asia; 11 in the USA and Canada; 25 inEurope; 12 in the Middle East; 3 airlines in Japan; and 10 airlines in China.

Earlier this month, PAL flight attendants, or 1,600 of the company’s 7,000 workers, threatened to go on strike after the management refused to adjust the retirement age of 40 years old.

PAL’s ground crew also intended to protest against the company’s plan to outsource the jobs of 2,600 workers in the company’s in-flight catering and airport services operations.

However, Bautista remained hopeful that with the help of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), PAL can find peaceful and amicable solutions to its labor problems.

“After all, PAL management continues to talk with the union representatives. We believe the negotiating table is still the best venue for resolving differences," he said.

PAL also urged DOLE to uphold its previous decision, declaring PAL’s outsourcing of operations to third-party sub-contractors “a valid exercise of management prerogative."

The company said the outsourcing was vital to the company’s survival because of the heavy losses it sustained in the past three years.

“PAL has presented and fully explained all the evidence in support of the spin-off. It cited all the factors that led to PAL’s current financial difficulties and the legal basis for the spin-off as an integral part of the airline’s survival plan," Bautista said. –VVP, GMANews.TV
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Old August 15th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #680
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PAL plans to hire foreign pilots
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Posted at 08/14/2010 9:01 PM | Updated as of 08/14/2010 9:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) plans to hire foreign pilots to meet a shortage in the flag carrier caused by the sudden exodus of some of its pilots.

PAL President Jaime Bautista said Saturday they are looking at various solutions following the move of 26 pilots to suddenly leave the company to join foreign airlines.

“Isa yan sa mga option. Merong lumalapit sa amin,” he said. “May mga Germans na gustong magkaroon pa ng pagkakataon na lumipad sa Pilipinas.”

He added that the flag carrier will enlist foreign pilots’ services only if they accept PAL’s wage levels, which are lower compared to other airline companies.

He said PAL is currently training local pilots who will replace those who suddenly resigned without giving the required 180-day notice.

A total of 38 flights were cancelled between July 29 to August 3 after the 26 out of PAL's 473 pilots left without notice.

Bautista said PAL’s operations have returned to normal, but these could be hampered again when the peak season for international travel enters in December.

However, a leader of the Airline Pilots' Association of the Philippines (ALPAP) as well as PAL's ground crew are opposing PAL’s plan to hire foreigners.

Capt. Amado Soliman, an associate member of ALPAP, said the plan is unrealistic. “Hindi maaari yan. I don't think a foreign pilot will be in his right mind to accept the conditions of PAL,” he said.

The PAL Employees Association (PALEA) also criticized the plan.

“Suntok sa buwan ang pinaplano ng PAL,” said PALEA President Gerardo Rivera.

PAL management, meanwhile, said it is ready to act if PALEA members and cabin crew belonging to the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) decide to launch a strike.

PALEA has lashed out at the airline’s decision to outsource the operations of some of its departments such as catering, call center service, as well as cargo and passenger handling.

Around 2,800 affected employees are poised to join the strike.

The FASAP, on the other hand, has rejected an P80-million financial package offered by PAL management and is calling on the airline to raise the mandatory retirement age for flight attendants from the current level of 40. -- with a report from Israel Malasa, ABS-CBN News
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