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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #861
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PAL appeals ‘hefty’ salary hike, retirement order
By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:18:00 01/10/2011

MANILA, Philippines—Saying it could not afford “hefty” salary increases, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) said on Monday it has asked the Department of Labor and Employment to reconsider its ruling awarding PAL flight attendants a salary hike and retirement at a later age.

The Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap) has denounced the PAL management for filing a motion for reconsideration, saying it was throwing away a "golden opportunity for reconciliation."

But in a press conference, PAL President Jaime Bautista explained the motion filed by the airline on Friday was seeking only a partial reconsideration of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s ruling on the labor dispute.

It questioned the salary increase and the adjustment of the retirement age from 40 to 60 years for both male and female attendants, he said, but added that PAL was no longer appealing her ruling on the flight attendants’ maternity and pregnancy leaves.

Bautista said the airline reiterated their position that the wage increase be pegged at a lump sum of P80 million.

Baldoz’s ruling, which awards salary increases to PAL flight attendants from 2008 to 2010, would cost the flag carrier around P250 million. The airline offered an economic package of just P105 million during the negotiations.

“So, P105 million against P250 million...that’s a P145-million difference,” Bautista said.

He added that from 2008 to 2009 and again 2009 to 2010, Philippine Airlines “reported a loss of $297 million and $14 million respectively.”

“So, the position of Philippine Airlines is that, even if we were reporting a profit for (the first quarter of) 2010-2011, we cannot afford to give those salary increases because the profit for this fiscal year should be set aside for salary increases that would be negotiated not only by (Fasap) but also by (the ground crew union),” Bautista said.

Bautista said that PAL was also insisting that it be allowed to retire its flight attendants at age 45 since this was also the practice of other airlines.

He said PAL was prepared to take the case to the Court of Appeals or even up to the Supreme Court if it does not get a favorable ruling.

PAL’s operating costs had already risen after fuel prices increased from $80 per barrel to $90 per barrel, he added.

In a statement, Fasap president Bob Anduiza urged PAL management to accept Baldoz’s decision, which he described as "fair and reasonable." He disputed Bautista’s claim that the airline could not afford the salary increases, pointing to the doubling of PAL’s equity from P1.69 billion to P3.32 billion as of March 31, 2010.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:56 AM   #862
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Philippine Airlines to Fly Manila – Bali
December Flights From Manila Expected to Bring More Philippine Citizens, North Asian and North Americans to Bali.

for more http://www.balidiscovery.com/message...ge.asp?Id=6399

Philippine Airlines to Fly Manila – Bali
December Flights From Manila Expected to Bring More Philippine Citizens, North Asian and North Americans to Bali.

(10/16/2010) Travel Trade Gazette ( TTG ) says that Bali and Manila may soon be connected by Philippines Airlines ( PAL ) with services planned to commence in December 2010.

The Group Director of Business Development for Tripuri, the holding company that operates PAL's General Sales Agent Sheira Semesta Cemerlang, Eddy Lenggu said: "The popularity of Bali as a tourist destination continues to grow. PAL has a good network from Japan, Korea and China to Manila; therefore, opening Manila-Bali means business for the airline."

A flight connection on the PAL network to Bali will not only provide additional capacity from North Asian ports-of-call but also provide more seats from the U.S.A. and Canada.

The Philippine national carrier currently flies between Jakarta and Manila seven times each week, with four of those flights making an intermediate stop in Singapore.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com. All images and graphics are copyright protected.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #863
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Seair sets network expansion
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 20:02 Lenie Lectura / Reporter

LOCAL carrier Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAir) has lined up new domestic and overseas routes as part of its expansion program set until 2013.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president and chief executive officer Victor Jose I. Luciano noted that this year, Seair expects to fly to Macau, Cebu, Bangkok and Hong Kong—all from its hub in Clark, Pampanga.


In 2012, Seair plans to mount flights to Ho Chi Minh and Davao, also from Clark.

The following year, it intends to fly to Taipei and Kuala Lumpur from Pampanga hub.

Seair now flies two weekly flights to Caticlan and 14 times per week to Singapore.  

Luciano said many airlines, both local and foreign, are expanding their operations at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), which is touted as the next major international gateway of the country.

Seair had just started mounting flights to Singapore on December 16 using two Airbus A319s leased from Singaporean budget carrier Tiger Airways.

Seair has cemented its partnership with Tiger Air via a marketing arrangement which effectively allows the Singaporean carrier to sell Seair flights to passengers. The arrangement makes Seair Tiger Airways’s first partner-airline in the region.

Seats are being marketed and distributed using Tiger Air’s Internet booking system. The resulting operational and cost efficiencies ensure more low fare seats are available and contribute to the growth of Seair and the Clark gateway, benefiting customers in the Philippines and across the Asia Pacific region. 

“With this new collaboration with Tiger Airways, we will also be able to serve more international visitors to the Philippines by offering more destinations with great value, low fares. In addition, the introduction of these new jet services will create a welcome boost to the Philippines tourism industry and create more high caliber local jobs,” said Seair president Avelino Zapanta earlier.

From Manila, Seair operates flights to Caticlan, Boracay and Basco, Batanes.

“Making flights operated by Seair available on the Tiger Airways website will ensure that customers can easily access more routes and destinations with the same low fares currently offered through our website,” said Tiger Airways Holdings president Tony Davis.  

Also, Tiger Air has advanced the delivery of two aircraft for financial year 2011 to 2012, from the original delivery dates in set for 2015 to 2016.  These aircraft will be used by Seair for the planned new routes.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:59 AM   #864
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PAL may sell Bacolod property to pay debts and fund capex
Monday, 10 January 2011 20:25 Lenie Lectura / Reporter

BELEAGUERED Philippine Airlines (PAL) may yet again resort to selling another piece of property to partly repay debts and to fund working capital.

“We still have a property in Bacolod where the airport is situated. We own part of the airport. If there will be opportunities to sell and make money out of it then we will consider,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said yesterday.

PAL raised $12 million from the sale of its property in Makati City last year. This one-time gain was included in the airline’s $31.5- million profit ending June last year, said Bautista.

PAL is paying off $10 million in debts every month and about $46 million which comes due every sixth month of the year. Bautista said the flag carrier is sourcing payment from internally generated cash as well as savings from various cost-cutting measures.

Fuel remains to be one of the biggest expenses of the airline company with an annual payment of an estimated $570 million for fuel alone. “Early last year, a barrel of crude costs about $80 but when the year ended it already costs $90. For every $1 increase, this translates to $55 million in operational cost for us,” explained Bautista.

The PAL chief said in the third quarter ending December last year the airline will be reporting the same or slightly higher profits compared with the previous year ago, thanks to higher revenues.

PAL is projecting $1.5 billion in total revenues for the fiscal year ending March this year. Bautista said PAL is on track to meet that number.

“Our revenues for December 2010 alone were up by $5 million. December is one of our most profitable months. We haven’t finalized yet our profit because December just ended but it is closer to our projections. Traffic worldwide has recovered,” added Bautista.

“February is a losing month again. But in spite of our projection, we will continue to pay our debts, operational costs and labor expenses which totals around $225 million a year,” said Bautista.

Amid labor woes, PAL registered a 10-percent increase in flight bookings in December compared with the same period last year.

Based on sales data, almost all flights coming from the US are full, registering the highest number of forward bookings, followed by those coming from Australia. PAL’s traditionally packed flights every December are those from North America, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Between Christmas and New Year, PAL’s airplanes are filled with vacationers bound for Kalibo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and China.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #865
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ANA to operate at NAIA Terminal 3 (the first foreign carrier)
http://www.ana.co.jp/wws/us/e/local/.../110111-2.html

TOKYO January 11, 2011 - All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's leading carrier, today unveiled its new route schedule for services from Tokyo Narita to Manila, which will start from February 27 this year.

Manila, capital of Philippines, is one of the biggest air traffic hubs in Southeast Asia. ANA’s new Tokyo Narita-Manila service will not only link the two big cities, but also connect demand for onward travel to North America by convenient transfer at Narita.

ANA’s current Southeast Asian network includes routes from Narita to Bangkok, Singapore and Ho-Chi-Minh City, as well as Haneda to Bangkok and Singapore. The latter route started operating from the new international terminal at Haneda last October. Together with the Narita-Jakarta service, which was launched on January 7, the inauguration of the Narita-Manila service will enable ANA to operate a total of nine daily flights serving seven routes to five Southeast Asian destinations, widening choice for passengers traveling between Japan and Southeast Asia.

Details of the service are as follows (Subject to approval by relevant authorities):

Route:
Narita to/from Manila

Service starts:
February 27, 2011 (Sunday)
*Flights from Manila will operate from Monday, February 28

Timetable (Local Time):
NH949 Narita 17:55 to Manila 21:55
NH950 Manila 09:50 to Narita 14:55
*Operate everyday and from Terminal 3 at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Aircraft:
Boeing 767-300ER (Business Class: 35; Economy Class: 179)
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #866
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PH airlines line up expansion plans for ’11: Zest Air, Cebu Pac to add destinations, aircraft

MANILA, Philippines—Niche carrier Zest Air will expand its flight operations to countries around the region in the coming weeks in line with the expected arrival of up to three more single-aisle Airbus jets this year.

In an interview, Zest Air chairman and CEO Alfred Yao said the airline would begin a five-times-a-week service from Manila to Shanghai on January 22 and increase the frequency of its flights to Incheon and Pusan in South Korea from Kalibo and Cebu to 12 times a week.

...

“We only fly 168 passengers per plane, compared with 180 for another airline,” he said. “This means our legroom is about 34 inches compared with only 30 inches or less for the other airline.”

According to Yao, Zest Air flew a total of 1.5 million passengers last year and was aiming to fly as many as 2.2 million to its various destinations this year.

The airline has a utilization rate of up to 88 percent for its current complement of 10 aircraft, which, on average, fly at 80 percent of passenger capacity, he said.

...

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific is also spending $1 billion over the next four years for the acquisition of new aircraft that will allow for the addition of more international and domestic routes.

The Gokongwei-led airline also said it would hire additional 2,000 employees in the same period to beef up its operations.

http://business.inquirer.net/money/t...n-plans-for-11
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:30 PM   #867
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AirPhil Express retains free baggage perks
(The Philippine Star) Updated January 16, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0)

MANILA, Philippines – AirPhil Express is keeping its free baggage perks to its consumers despite the rising costs of operations as it seeks to attract more regular and new travelers on its flights.

AirPhil Express is the only local carrier which allows passengers to carry up to 15 kilograms of baggage for free as other domestic airlines have stopped offering this complimentary.

“I think that aside from having the best price among budget airlines, AirPhil Express’ biggest come-on to fliers is our free baggage perks because other airlines charge passengers for every kilogram of luggage they check. People are beginning to realize that this makes their tickets more expensive so they appreciate our free baggage perks more,’’ said SVP for marketing and sales Alfredo Herrera.

Charges on check-in baggage have become a major source of profits for most airlines but AirPhil Express believed that Filipinos were unique passengers in the market because they consider having free carry-on baggage as important as the cost of their airline ticket.

“Go to any airport in the world and you will notice that passengers with the most baggage being checked are Filipinos. This is why we have the ‘balikbayan box’. Filipinos are so close to their families and friends that it has become a tradition to bring in ‘pasalubong’ every time they travel,” said Herrera.

Herrera said AirPhil Express has been able to maintain its free baggage perks while keeping its prices competitive due to its efficient management of resources, including its decision to use an all-new and a single type fleet, the Airbus A320.

“Like all companies we strive for profit but we have to balance this with building our market share for long-term growth. This is why we have kept our free baggage perks because this is unique to us,’’ said Herrera.

AirPhil Express as it aims to become Filipinos’ low-cost carrier of choice has increased its A320 fleet and regional flights as well as offered added-value travel services such as the seat selector, pre-paid baggage, and Web check-in which can be accessed through www.airphilexpress.com
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #868
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Tan may sell PAL for the ‘right price’
Sunday, 16 January 2011 19:39 Miguel R. Camus / Reporter


TYCOON Lucio Tan said he may sell his shares in Philippine Airlines (PAL) for the “right price,” a reversal from his earlier position on the issue six months ago.

The 76-year-old taipan controls the airline through PAL Holdings Inc., the listed holding firm that owns the flag carrier. PAL Holdings owns 84 percent of the carrier.

“Everything is for sale [for] the right price,” Tan said in response to media queries on whether he is selling the airliner during an event hosted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Friday.  

Last week, PAL Holdings said it is in “exploratory talks” for the sale of the airline, in reaction to a newspaper column saying San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang was in discussions to buy a stake in the company.

Tan on Friday declined to elaborate on whether he is in current talks with interested parties for the sale of PAL.

Shares of the illiquid holding firm surged 76 percent to P7.28 in the last two trading sessions, bringing its market value close to P40 billion on Friday.

In June, Tan said PAL was “not for sale” amid concerns over the airline’s labor and debt woes, apart from rising competition from budget carriers.

The company narrowed losses in its last fiscal year ending March to $14.3 million, from $297.8 million the previous year.

PAL Holdings has a public float of only 2.3 percent, making it non-compliant with the Philippine Stock Exchange’s minimum 10-percent float requirement and, subsequently, vulnerable to additional tax charges from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Tan, who has also made a name for himself in the tobacco, banking, liquor and real estate sectors, said he plans to retire “soon.”

In another development, PAL said eight pursers were retired by the airline management following a ruling from a Makati Court which removed all legal obstacles for their separation from service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 55.

PAL vice president for human resources Jose SL Uybarreta said the flight pursers were informed of their retirement shortly after Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati Regional Trial Court’s Branch 147 lifted an injunction order which earlier barred the airline from enforcing a provision of their 2000-2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement pegging at 55 the retirement age of female flight attendants hired before November 22, 1996.

Uybarreta said the Makati court lifted the injunction order on January 4 after it was convinced that whatever damages may be sustained by the flight attendants—if it will be proven later that they should be retired at 60—“maybe computed, taking into consideration the salaries and benefits that they will earn if they retire at the age of 60, and not 55.”

The court required PAL to post a P5-million counter-injunction bond to answer for any or all damages the flight attendants may sustain if the court later determines that PAL is not entitled to the lifting of said injunction order.

Uybarreta said contrary to claims by the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association (Fasap), the retirement order is not in defiance of the Department of Labor and Employment’s December 23 ruling setting the retirement age of female flight attendants at 60.

“The DOLE ruling on the Fasap case is not yet final and executory as PAL is seeking reconsideration of the same. Pending a final determination of the real mandatory retirement age, it is PAL’s position that the current retirement age brackets as outlined in the existing collective bargaining agreement between PAL and Fasap should prevail,” he stressed.

(With Lenie Lectura)

http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/hom...he-right-price
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:32 PM   #869
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EU to lift ban on Philippine carriers–if aviation reforms are made
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/...forms-are-made

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union (EU) is unlikely to lift its ban on Philippine carriers unless “significant reforms” in the country’s aviation system are implemented, including higher compensation for pilots to prevent them from going to high-paying jobs in foreign carriers.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald said the assessment visit of the EU Aviation Safety Committee in October last year noted considerable progress made by the Philippine government to reform the aviation safety of Philippine carriers.

“But there are a lot of things to be done, like the ability of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to keep the needed number of technical personnel,” MacDonald said in an interview with the BusinessMirror during a farewell cocktail hosted by the French Embassy.

The EU envoy, who concludes his four-year diplomatic assignment in the country this month, said the EU safety-assessment team also recommended a Civil Service Commission-approved plantilla and salaries for the Philippine technical personnel on aviation systems, particularly the pilots.

The EU issued a ban on Philippine carriers on April 1 last year. The ban prevents the country’s airlines from flying in the 27-member EU states that include rich tourist destinations like France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Germany.

MacDonald said the EU would also take into consideration a parallel assessment of the Philippine aviation system to be conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) of the United Nations.

Icao was scheduled to send an assessment team to the Philippines in December to review the country’s aviation-safety system but it was postponed.

The EU envoy said it is important for the EU, as well as for the United States Federal Aviation Administration, to consider the Icao assessment on the country’s aviation safety before it decides on lifting the ban on Philippine carriers
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:34 PM   #870
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2 foreigners call Terminal 3 home

by Eric B. Apolonio

IT’S a story straight out of Hollywood.

Like the fictional character Viktor Navorski in the movie The Terminal, two foreign nationals have been “living” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 as they await to be repatriated to their countries of origin.


Rene Sake, a Liberian national who arrived in the Philippines on Sept. 27, 2010 from Macao, and Timothy Berrian, a Cameroonian national who arrived in Manila on Aug. 20, 2010 from Guanghzou, China are now housed at the Bureau of Immigration holding area in Terminal 3.

The two foreign nationals flew to Manila via Cebu Pacific.

Immigration rules state that any foreign national from restricted country only enter the Philippines with a valid entry visa.

The Republic of Liberia in western Africa and the Republic of Cameroon in central Africa fall under the restricted category that requires a visa for their nationals to enter the Philippines.

The two were denied entry by immigration officers when they were found to have had no entry visas. They were immediately issued exclusion orders and remanded back to Cebu Pacific to be returned to their ports of origin.

Immigration’s Airport Operations Division head, lawyer Maria Antonnete Bucasas-Mangrobang, told Manila Standard that Terminal 3 Immigration Supervisor Rodolfo Magbuhos had already made two letters of representation to Cebu Pacific to repatriate the two to their countries of origin.

It was learned that Cebu Pacific is liable for a penalty of P50,000 per passenger for boarding undocumented passengers.

Immigration and airport personnel sometimes pitch in to give the two foods and basic toiletries.

Like Navorski in the movie, played by Tom Hanks, the two have been dependent on the kindness of strangers.

But without money to buy tickets to return to their homes, barred from leaving the airport, and virtually forgotten by the airline that flew them in, Sake and Berrian will have to make do with their “home.”

Sources said the two foreigners have been ekking it out on cup noodles due to the high cost of foods available at the terminal.


http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/i...011/january/20
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #871
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Budget carriers set regional expansions
by Jeremiah F. de Guzman

BUDGET carriers Southeast Asian Airlines, AirPhil Express and Cebu Pacific are launching new regional routes this year as they expand their fleet of big aircraft.

SEAir president Avelino Zapanta told reporters in an interview that the carrier will continue to enter into aircraft lease agreements with Tiger Airways despite massive opposition from other local carriers.

“Definitely, we’re leasing more and entering to more agreements with Tiger Airways. Within this year, we will have more than what we have leased last year,” he said.

He said SEAir plans to lease at least four Airbuses from Tiger Airways to be deployed to more regional flights.

“We will launch flights to Macau and Hong Kong next month using the other Airbus we leased from Tiger. We are also looking at Bangkok, Taipei and Seoul,” Zapanta said.

AirPhil Express chief operating officer Cesar Chiong said in a separate interview that the carrier will be launching daily flights to Hong Kong from Cebu in April. A Singapore service, launched in October, is Airphil’s first and only international operation.

“We are targeting so many routes including Busan, Bangkok, and Guangzhou, but it will depend on approvals from CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board]. We already have pending applications with them,” Chiong said.

He said Airphil, a sister company of Philippine Airlines, is acquiring three to five brand new Airbus 320 jets this year. “We are not yet sure. We are still on the budgeting stage,” Chiong said.

AirPhil has said it has a budget of $250 million to acquire 20 new Airbuses in the next two years.

Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific is also joining the other carriers in their regional expansion as the airline is set to launch Manila-Busan flights in June and offer Xiamen services again.

“Our growth this year will be faster in international,” Cebu Pacific vice president for commercial planning Alex Reyes said in an interview.

He added that the carrier is interested in launching flights to Tokyo but is still impeded by the ban on local carriers to add flights to Japan issued by Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.

“We already have flights to Osaka but we want to launch flights to other cities in Japan,” Reyes added.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #872
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Domestic air traffic seen doubling in less than 10 years
January 22, 2011, 5:32pm

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — Domestic air traffic in the Philippines is expected to more than double to over 40 million passengers in less than 10 years, one of the country's major airlines said.

The rise of low-cost carriers such as Cebu Pacific Air already saw domestic air traffic jump sharply to more than 17 million passengers last year, said the carrier's vice president for commercial planning, Alex Reyes.

''If we take a long-term view, with... per capita incomes rising along with the healthy economy, we will have a domestic passenger market of more than 40 million passengers before the end of this decade,'' he said.

''If we think our airports are already busy today, we have news for everyone: there is a surge coming,'' Reyes told an industry meeting on Wednesday, a copy of which was provided to AFP on Thursday.

Citing industry figures, Reyes said Philippine air carrier fleets would rise to 67 narrow-bodied jets this year compared with 47 in 2008, leading to more pressure for lower fares, which could drive passenger traffic even higher.

Cebu Pacific, which is expanding regionally as well as within the Philippines, is planning to expand its fleet by 21 planes to 53 in four years.

Rival budget carrier AirAsia, a Malaysian-based airline, has also announced plans to set up Philippine operations this year.

But Reyes warned surging traffic would require massive investments in passenger terminals, runways, and more airport personnel to handle the extra load.

''Having the infrastructure in place means companies will have the confidence to invest billions to further grow their business. Too often, we all play catch up,'' he said.

Reyes said Cebu Pacific, the country's largest budget carrier and number-one Philippine airline in terms of passengers, would run out of space at its assigned Manila airport terminal next year.

Cebu Pacific is in talks with the government to expand the capacity of Manila airport's Terminal 3, which handles both domestic and international traffic, to 20 million passengers a year from 13 million, he said.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #873
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Cebu Pacific pushes air talks with major tourist-sending areas
Saturday, 22 January 2011 00:00

CEBU Air Inc. wants the government to line up air talks with major sources of tourists.

Alex Reyes, the budget carrier's vice president for commercial planning, said there are no more air rights available between Manila and the major cities of Tokyo, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Hong Kong.

"This means no new international services can be started between Manila and those cities, which are a major source of tourists for the country," he said.

Reyes said removing constraints such as the lack of air rights will boost industry growth.

Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that international passenger traffic went up by 15.3 percent to 10.55 million in the first nine months of 2010, compared with the 9.15 million in 2009.

The operator of Cebu Pacific flies to 33 domestic and 16 international destinations from Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao.

In 2010, the carrier flew almost 10.5 million passengers, up by 19 percent compared with 8.76 million in 2009.

Cebu Air gained more than three percent, closing at P94.60 a share on Friday from P91.60 the day before.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #874
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DoTC confident on achieving Category I status
January 23, 2011, 2:35pm

MANILA, Philippines – “We are leaving no stone unturned in getting back our Category 1 status.”

Thus declared Secretary Jose P. De Jesus of the Department of Transportation and Communications as he keynoted the 2nd Philippine Aviation Summit held at the Main Function Hall PAF Aerospace Museum Col. Jesus Villamor Airbase Pasay City on January 19, 2011.

In a speech read for him by DoTC Undersecretary Glicerio Sicat, Secretary de Jesus said only two key remaining items remain to be accomplished for Philippine aviation to get back to its Category 1 status – and thus enable Philippine carriers to expand routes in the United States and to be allowed once again to land on European soil.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in improving, upgrading, expanding and modernizing all aspects of Philippine aviation,” the Secretary pointed out.

“The good news is that we are only a few steps away from getting back our Category 1 status,” De Jesus said.

De Jesus also cited a feasibility research entitled “Greater Capital Region Airport Rationalization Study” on a planned integration of operations of the NAIA in Metro Manila and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Pampanga.

The scope of the study includes three key areas: analysis of issues on airport development in Metro Manila, formulation of an Optimum Airport Security Plan; and preparation of a development plan for DMIA and NAIA.

He added that the aviation sector is being geared up “for the next challenge which is the Open Skies policy that may govern our flying community whether in its pure or altered form.”

The Transportation Secretary also said changes in the aviation sector include strengthening the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) by separating its operational functions from its regulatory duties, resulting in “efficient, responsive, and even caring airport operations.”

“It is a maxim of good governance that the functions of regulation shall be distinct and separate from the purely operational in order to install a built-in check-and-balance system within one sector,” the Secretary stressed.

De Jesus recently appointed seven aviation professionals to key posts in the CAAP while its database undergoes modernization “for easy access and retrieval” of vital information about Philippine aviation.

The package of reforms unwrapped by De Jesus during the aviation conference also consisted of the commissioning of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA3) for full commercial operations by year-end, and the construction or rehabilitation of many more international airports nationwide.

The new and ongoing projects are the Southern Luzon International Airport to be built in Daraga, Albay; the P7.5-billion Panglao International Airport in Bohol; the P7.8-billion, Korea-funded Laguindingin International Airport in Cagayan de Oro City; and the upgrading of the Puerto Princesa Airport in Zamboanga.

Underscoring the government’s thrust in developing further the country’s civil aviation sector, De Jesus described the projects he cited as “notable examples of our earnest and vigorous initiatives to build new international airports, to upgrade or modernize existing ones, and to pursue a sustainable program of airport improvements.”

“I have instructed all our operating heads to assure our passengers of newly refurbished passenger lounges, squeaky clean comfort rooms, maximum security and safety, and all other amenities that leave our passengers with this lasting impression: We have walked the extra mile- and extra smile for them,” the Transportation chief told the summit delegates.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #875
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20 new busses to ply the Philippine Skies in 2011
4 A320 for Seair
5 A320 for Cebu Pacific
6 A320 for Air Philippines Express
3 A320 for Zest Air
2 A320 for AirAsia Philippines

January 23, 2011

Manila - Twenty brand new airbus aircraft is set to join different airlines in the country this year as it embarks on a major expansion mode in anticipation of booming domestic air traffic which is expected to more than double to over 40 million passengers in less than 10 years.

SEAir president Avelino Zapanta said that at least four brand new Airbuses will join their fleet this year to be deployed to more regional flights as the carrier continue to enter into aircraft lease agreements with Tiger Airways despite massive opposition from other local carriers.

“Definitely, we’re leasing more and entering to more agreements with Tiger Airways. Within this year, we will have more than what we have leased last year,” Zapanta said.

Only one of the two planes is currently in use. By next month, Zapanta said the airline would likely start flights to Macau and Hong Kong.

“We will launch flights to Macau and Hong Kong next month using the other Airbus we leased from Tiger. We are also looking at Bangkok, Taipei and Seoul,” Zapanta said.

Alex B. Reyes, Cebu Air vice-president for commercial planning, said in a speech at the annual aviation summit at Villamor Airbase in Pasay, that they will take delivery of five more brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft in 2011. The airline’s 25th Airbus aircraft, and the first for this year is set to arrive in the last week of January 2011, he said.

“By the end of 2011, Cebu Pacific will be operating a fleet of 37 aircraft, from 32 today. Between 2012 and 2014, it will take additional 16 Airbus A320 aircraft,” Alex Reyes said.

Air Philippines, a sister company of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, said they are expecting 6 aircraft to join their fleet this year.

Air Philippines chief executive Cesar Chiong said they will increase the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft from just three to 18 by 2012 and add more domestic and regional routes.

Chiong said the company expects six new A320s to arrive this year while six more will be delivered in 2012. Air Philippines' first two A320s were given to it by sister company Philippine Airlines (PAL) while six arrived last year.

“We will be flying Hong Kong from Cebu, and Seoul from Manila and Cebu and some routes in China this year. We have pending applications with CAB,” Chiong said.

Meanwhile, Niche carrier Zest Air will expand its flight operations to countries around the region in the coming weeks in line with the expected arrival of up to three more single-aisle Airbus jets this year.

Zest Air chairman and CEO Alfred Yao said the airline would begin a five-times-a-week service from Manila to Shanghai on January 22 and increase the frequency of its flights to Incheon and Pusan in South Korea from Kalibo and Cebu to 12 times a week.

“Sometime in February, we also intend to start flying to Singapore daily,” he said. The airline operates 6 Airbus A320s and 4 Chinese-made Xian MA60 turboprop aircraft, which it uses for its short-haul domestic flights.

Zest Air flew a total of 1.5 million passengers last year and was aiming to fly as many as 2.2 million to its various destinations this year.

The airline has a utilization rate of up to 88 percent for its current complement of 10 aircraft, which, on average, fly at 80 percent of passenger capacity, he said.

Rival budget carrier AirAsia, a Malaysian-based airline, has also announced plans to set up a Philippine unit based in Manila- Clark and start flying in September with two Airbus 320's.

AirAsia Philippines is a joint venture among AirAsia Berhad (40% stake), and Filipino business personalities, including Antonio Cojuangco, Marianne Hontiveros, and Michael Romero.

AirAsia Philippines is the third cross-border joint venture of the airline, next to Indonesia AirAsia and AirAsia Thailand.

"Having a local airline means AirAsia could participate in flying passengers from one domestic destination to another, a right not afforded to foreign airlines." says co-owner Mike Romero.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:43 PM   #876
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Pilot schools to be moved out of NAIA

THE CIVIL Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) wants aviation schools to transfer to regional airports to decongest from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ramon S. Gutierrez, CAAP officer-in-charge, told reporters at the sidelines of an aviation summit last week the state-owned Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) will take charge in the implementation of the plan.

“The plan is still in principle and we are actually expecting resistance from the aviation school administrators, owners and students as most of them are foreigners. Most of the foreign students want to attend an aviation school near NAIA because they go to their home countries from time to time,” he said.

However, Mr. Gutierrez said allowing regional airports to house the aviation schools would translate to additional revenues as most of these airports have lower flight frequencies compared with NAIA.

“This will be part of CAAP and MIAA’s immediate plans. This will give these small airports additional revenues as they only generate revenues from air navigation fees for the airports,” he said.

Mr. Gutierrez said his agency broke even last year with close to P3 billion in revenues.

“Our revenues last year will be just enough for the maintenance but will not be enough for capital expenses. It will not be enough to maintain 86 airports. We will give the schools the preference which regional airport they would want to go to,” he said.

In July last year, CAAP ordered an audit of all 63 aviation schools in the country as the agency discovered that fake licenses had been issued to some student pilots. -- A. M. P. Dagcutan
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:43 PM   #877
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PAL asks CAB okay to hike fuel surcharges for overseas flights
By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror
Posted at 01/24/2011 10:39 AM | Updated as of 01/24/2011 4:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Local carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has asked the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to allow it to raise fuel surcharges for international routes.

It has asked the board to grant its application to add $10 in the ticket price for flights between Manila and Hong Kong from $25 to $35. For Macau and Taiwan flights, it wants to add $16 from the current $19. Fuel surcharge for Xiamen, China may go up by $21 from $24 to $45. The ticket price increase to Vietnam and Singapore may reach by as much as $50 from $34 and $29, respectively, if PAL’s application is approved.

In South Korea and Guam where the fuel surcharge is pegged at $34, PAL is contemplating to raise this to $55.

Meanwhile, for Japan and Indonesia, passengers could pay $60 in fuel surcharge from the current $39 and $44, respectively. Beijing and Shanghai fuel surcharge is at $44. The airline wants to raise this to $65. For India, it is now at $104. PAL may raise this to $125.

Australia and Honolulu flights may see fuel surcharge to go as high as $130 from the current $109 and $99, respectively. Passengers to the US, except in Honolulu, and to Canada are going to charged $135 if PAL’s petition is approved.

PAL’s petition for authority to impose upward adjustment of fuel surcharge on international passenger tickets will be evaluated by the CAB on January 27.

The fuel surcharge, imposed on top of regular fares, is a temporary relief given by regulators to allow airlines to mitigate losses from the spiraling cost of jet fuel.

Fuel accounts for one-third of an airline’s operating cost per passenger, and is the second-highest expense next to labor.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #878
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Shanghai maiden flight lands in Kalibo airport Tuesday
January 24, 2011, 7:24pm; MB

KALIBO, Aklan, Philippines (PIA) — The Kalibo International Airport (KIA) here will receive Zest Air’s maiden international flight from Shanghai, China Tuesday.

The flight, which is scheduled to land at the KIA at 3:00 a,m. Tuesday, will be carrying 180 passengers who will go straight to Caticlan town, gateway to Boracay, and immediately cross over to the world-famous holiday island destination, according to Roselle Ruiz, Aklan’s Provincial Tourism Operations Officer (PTOO) in an interview over a local radio station here.

Initially, such flights will arrive twice a week starting January 25, but by the end of March, these will be increased to four times weekly.

Besides flights from Shanghai, the province is also looking forward to receiving flights from Beijing, China soon.

Ruiz said Vicky Ramos, Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) Chairperson, played a big role in the resumption of flights from Shanghai to KIA. There have been chartered flights from Shanghai to KIA already earlier, but these were stopped temporarily to give way to modernization developments implemented in the airport.

The flight’s landing at KIA on January 25, Ruiz said, is welcome news for Aklan, particularly since the province is expending efforts to reach its target of a million tourists by 2013.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #879
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PHILIPPINE AIRLINES TO SCRAP MANILA-RIYADH FLIGHTS
PAL Says Bye Bye One More to Riyadh and the Middle East

Manila Standard columnist Victor C. Agustin writes in his popular Cocktales column that Philippine Airlines for unclear reasons is discontinuing its Manila to Riyadh flights starting in April - a year after launching the four times weekly flights to that Saudi Arabian city.

Was the Middle East route unprofitable for the ailing Philippine flag carrier? Or are there other reasons we are unaware about that made PAL scrap said route.
First they withdrew from Brisbane and now Riyadh. What makes them think that their new route to New Delhi,India to commence next month will be profitable? Or will it go the way that Brisbane and Riyadh went kaput.....
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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:48 PM   #880
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Cebu Pacific expects 20% increase in Greater China traffic this 2011
January 29, 2011, 11:15pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB) targets a 20% increase in passengers to and from Greater China in 2011, after flying more than 980,000 passengers in 2010.

CEB flies thrice weekly to Beijing and Guangzhou, daily to Shanghai and Taipei, 11 times weekly to Macau, and seven times daily to Hong Kong. It currently operates 80 flights weekly from the Philippines to Greater China.

“We plan to grow our market in Greater China by offering our trademark low fares, and increasing flights to Beijing and Guangzhou to accommodate passenger demand,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

The lowest year-round ‘Go Lite’ fares are: P4,999 to Beijing, P3,999 to Shanghai, P2,499 to Hong Kong and Macau, P1,999 to Guangzhou, and P1,999 to Taipei.

“Our focus remains in rapidly expanding Cebu Pacific’s international presence, by providing better linkages between North Asia and the Philippines. Overall, we plan to grow our international passenger base by 35% in 2011, for a total 12 million passenger target this year,” she added.

CEB earlier announced that it planned to increase flight frequencies by 18% in 2011, making available a total of 14.5 million airline seats to its passengers. It is expecting arrival of its 25th Airbus aircraft in the last week of January, with four more brand-new aircraft on the way.

By the end of 2011, CEB will be operating a fleet of 37 aircraft – with an average age of less than 2.5 years – one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2012 and 2014, Cebu Pacific will take an additional 16 Airbus A320 aircraft.

CEB has already added flights to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh and Jakarta last December. It is slated to increase flight frequencies to Seoul (Incheon) and Bangkok in the first quarter this year.

The first low-cost carrier in Asia, CEB currently operates over 260 flights daily to 16 international destinations and 33 domestic destinations. It flew almost 10.5 million passengers in 2010, exceeding targets with a 19% increase over 2009. Its international passengers also grew by 38% in 2010.
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