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Old September 22nd, 2011, 10:49 AM   #921
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Foreign carriers seek tie-up with PAL

Philippine Airlines is in talks with foreign airlines for a possible partnership, businessman Ramon Ang, a close friend of airline owner Lucio Tan, said Tuesday.

Ang, president and chief executive of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., told reporters at the sidelines of an agreement signing between Petron Corp. and the Environment Department that Tan would not likely sell the airline.

“[He] may agree for anybody or a foreign airline to join them, but I don’t believe Mr. Tan will sell [PAL],” Ang said.

Ang said he consults with the Tan family in his personal capacity and that San Miguel is not involved in the discussions.

“We are reviewing all opportunity. SMC is not looking at it, it’s me personally who is looking at it,” he said.

San Miguel has interests in power, oil, airport, coal, food, beverages and other investments.

“I heard there are some famous foreign airlines interested in joining [and] supporting him [and] tallking directly to him [Tan]. If I can help facilitate [the entry of new investors], why not?” he said.

Ang said his involvement in PAL was to provide business advice and strategy to the Tan family.

“I’m close to them so I’m in talks with them [in] whatever way I can help them, that’s what I’m doing. Mr. Tan is not selling PAL. Mr. Tan is very friendly to me and if I can help suggest any forms of improvement, I will,” he said.

He said Tan was “awash with cash” but “if there is a foreign company, big company, interested to join him, he’s amenable.”

He discounted the possibility of any partnership with Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., in PAL.

PAL plans to cut 2,600 jobs by Oct. 1 to ensure its long-term profitability and curtail mounting losses. Alena Mae S. Flore
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 03:30 PM   #922
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FirstPac’s PAL bid conditional
by Elaine Ramos Alanguilan

Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. has “agreed in principle” to acquire flag carrier Philippine Airlines and is waiting for a resolution of the airline’s labor dispute before finalizing the transaction, a source familiar with the talks said Wednesday.

The source, a close associate of First Pacific managing director Manuel Pangilinan, said the PAL buyout was “definitely a go” as long as the airline’s conflict with labor union Philippine Airline Employees Association was settled.

The labor row involving Asia’s oldest carrier stemmed from PAL management’s decision to outsource most of its workforce requirements. At least 2,600 Palea members will find themselves employed on contractual basis under the arrangement.

The government has supported the Labor Department’s decision to uphold the legality of PAL’s move to outsource most of its manpower requirements.

The source, who requested anonymity, said Pangilinan wanted to slash PAL’s workforce into a manageable number to increase the benefits of employees without incurring losses.

“Manny [Pangilinan] feels bad whenever he gives only 14th month pay [to his employees]. He believes that employees must be financially motivated and this is only possible if he has manageable number [of workers] as far as PAL is concerned. He wants an organization that is lean and mean,” the source said. “He strongly favors the move to outsource.”

The source also said that Pangilinan was confident the Court of Appeals would promptly resolve the labor dispute.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., two local units of Hong Kong-based conglomerate First Pacific, last week disclosed to the stock exchange the formation of a new aviation company called Pacific Global One Aviation Inc.

The creation of the new company further fanned speculations that First Pacific was close to acquiring PAL.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Pacific Global One has an authorized capital stock of P430 million, consisting of P400 million worth of common shares and P30 million worth of preferred shares.
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Old September 25th, 2011, 05:12 AM   #923
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Philippine Airlines cuts flights, ground crew

Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines said Saturday it would temporarily slash flight frequencies over the next two months as part of a cost-saving programme that would also eliminate 2,600 jobs.

Eleven flights to Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Macau, Singapore, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Guam, Sydney, Melbourne and Incheon would be affected from October 1, or 12 percent of the international total, a PAL statement said.

Thirty percent of local flights would be suspended as catering, ground handling and call centre reservations are farmed out to third-party service providers, PAL spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna said.

"These measures will help alleviate the inevitable minor kinks in PAL's service as we go though this difficult but necessary transition period."

Normal service would resume on varying dates in October and November, she added.

The loss-making carrier earlier announced it would eliminate 2,600 ground crew posts on September 30, saving the carrier about $15 million in operating costs.

It said this would help it save the jobs of the remaining 4,000-plus staff.

PAL, Asia's oldest airline, suffered a net loss of $10.6 million for the three months to June.

The airline had posted a $31.6 million net profit in the same period last year, on the way to $72.5 million earnings in the 12 months to March, which was a turnaround from a $14.4 million loss in its previous fiscal year.

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Old September 25th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #924
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Old September 25th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #925
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PLDT Not Buying PAL
Stays with MVP Group Aviation Needs



September 23, 2011
By Lenie Lectura
Business Mirror

As rumors soared over the reason behind the formation of a new aviation company by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the telco giant on Monday doused speculations it is looking to invest in flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) or that it plans to go into the commercial airline business.

Shares of PAL Holdings Inc. took off on Monday, gaining 3.6% to close at P6.32, on speculations that PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan may be the “white knight” for Philippine Airlines Inc., a unit of PAL Holdings.

But in a chance interview on Monday afternoon, PLDT President Napoleon Nazareno quickly dismissed talks that PLDT may invest in PAL, owned by beer and tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan.

“We are not putting up an airline business like PAL, nor are we acquiring PAL. That is so wrong. We are just centralizing the business or, rather, rationalizing the resources we have,” Nazareno said.

He said the new company, Pacific Global One Aviation Inc., is a “legal entity put up to rationalize the PLDT group’s aviation requirements,” likening the newly created firm to conglomerate Ayala Corp.’s Ayala Aviation Corp.

Pacific Global One Aviation Inc. currently has three helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft.

“We’ve put up another company so that other companies within the group, say, Meralco [Manila Electric Co.], Philex [Mining Corp.], etc., can participate and not just PLDT shouldering the entire cost,” Nazareno said. “For now, PLDT is just the one managing it while other companies in the group are using it but do not have equity sharing. So now, it’s going to be a contribution of other companies.”

He acknowledged, though, that there are plans to acquire more aircraft as the need arises. “We may buy one to two more, depending on the need of the entire group,” he said.

For his part, PAL President Jaime Bautista on Monday said he is not aware of any talks involving new investors, including Pangilinan or his rival Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp.

“If there are, I am not involved in those discussions. If there are, the ongoing talks are happening upstairs,” Bautista said.

PLDT is already working with PAL. SPi Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of the telco giant, is among the three service providers of PAL—handling call-center reservations—in the airline’s controversial outsourcing plan that has led to the retrenchment of 2,600 employees.

Pangilinan has also openly mentioned that he is interested in supporting the development of Diosdado Macapagal International Airport’s Terminal 2 and a modern railway system. Pangilinan had already met with the Clark International Airport Corp. President and CEO Victor Jose Luciano on the development plans.
But when reporters asked on September 12 if he was interested in PAL, Pangilinan simply said, “Mahirap na negosyo ‘yan.”

Pacific Global One has an authorized capital stock of P430 million, with common shares worth P400 million and P30 million worth of preferred shares.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which were approved on Thursday, stated that the primary purpose of the new company is “to carry on, by means of aircraft of every kind or description, the general business of common and/or private carrier, air taxi or charter engaged in the transportation for itself and for others, of passengers, mail, merchandise and freight, and in this connection, to acquire, purchase, lease, construct, own, maintain, operate and dispose of aircraft of every kind and description, for scheduled and nonscheduled flights, for domestic and foreign travel, and also to own, purchase, construct, lease, operate and dispose of hangars, transportation depots, lounge facilities, aircraft service stations and agencies and other objects and services of similar nature which may be necessary, convenient or useful as an auxiliary to aircraft transportation, including the service and repair of aircraft, ground handling, and buying, selling and generally dealing in oils, gasoline, fuel, aircraft accessories and equipment and goods, wares and relate merchandise of every name and description.”
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Old September 25th, 2011, 05:56 AM   #926
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PAL reduces flights
September 25, 2011

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is reducing the number of selected domestic and international flights for a limited period as part of a transition period that would eliminate 2,600 jobs for the airline as the flag carrier prepares for the transfer of its catering, ground handling and call center reservations units to third party service providers on October 1, 2011.

In a statement, PAL disclosed that the number of domestic flights would be temporarily reduced by about 30 percent while international flights would be cut provisionally by 12 percent ahead of its long-awaited spin off/outsourcing program.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said domestic routes with reduced flight frequencies on certain days involve 14 stations, namely: Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Butuan, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga.

On the other hand, the 11 international points to be affected by the flight frequency reduction are Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Macau, Singapore, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Guam, Sydney, Melbourne and Incheon (from Cebu).

All other PAL flights remain as scheduled.

Villaluna assured the public that only select PAL flights would be suspended for a few days, and would resume on varying dates in October and November as operations normalize after the spin off/outsourcing. She said all other PAL flights remain operational albeit on other available schedules. PAL may also merge some flights using bigger aircraft.

She stressed that the flight suspension on selected routes seeks to prevent sudden, unplanned cancellations and avoid passenger inconvenience. She said it would be easier for the flag carrier and its service providers to handle reduced number of flights as they adjust and transfer the functions of its three non-core units.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 04:05 PM   #927
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BREAKING NEWS!

PAL employees start ‘sit down’ protest

By: Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
9:42 am | Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Employees of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) stopped working at 7 a.m. Tuesday in protest of the company’s plan to outsource 2,600 jobs.

The PAL Employees Association (Palea) said its members reported to work, but would stop refuelling planes, moving cargo or manning check in counters – among other jobs – leaving thousands of passengers stuck at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 2 in Manila, which is exclusive to PAL.

PAL representatives could not be reached for comment.

“Palea has decided to act now instead of waiting for the onslaught of the outsourcing typhoon on Friday. This is the mother of all protests against layoff and contractualization. Nobody will go home and we will not back down until our demand for job security is met,” Palea president Gerry Rivera said.

“Any inconvenience brought about by the protest is temporary. Ultimately the safe and efficient operation of PAL is guaranteed if employees are regular not contractual. It is up to PAL to settle the dispute and prevent further difficulties to passengers and clients of the flag carrier,” he said.

Palea said they would continue their protests until the company’s management abandoned its plan to cut jobs.

Palea’s actions, which the union refuses to call a strike, is in protest of PAL’s plan to close down three departments – its call center reservations, in-flight catering and airport services – by the end of the week.

About 2,600 workers will lose their jobs, but these employees have been offered to be rehired by the third-party service providers that would replace the three closed departments.

These companies are Sky Kitchen and Sky Logistics, which are owned by Cebu-based businessman Manny Osmena, and SPi Global Holdings, owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

Palea claims that less than 15 percent of its members signed their termination papers, while only 7 percent accepted jobs with the third-party companies.

“We call on PAL to begin talks for a settlement to the labor dispute. Palea demands a stop to the outsourcing plan. We call for the opening of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement [CBA]. In the CBA negotiations, we can discuss measures to make PAL viable except outsourcing,” Rivera said.

---------------------------------------------------------------

PAL strike to affect economy, says Palace spokesman
By: Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:14 pm | Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

http://business.inquirer.net/21669/p...lace-spokesman

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang said on Tuesday that the work stoppage mounted by employees of Philippine Airlines would have adverse effects on the country’s economy.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, nonetheless, said the government would want to see something positive come out of the conciliation proceedings the Department of Labor and Employment has initiated between the PAL’s management and the union.

“Definitely, there will be an impact on the economy,” Lacierda said, citing the cancelled flights suffered by the flag carrier on Tuesday just as typhoon Pedring battered most of Luzon.

He would not comment on whether sanctions could be meted on the striking workers.

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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:45 AM   #928
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PALEA strikers may face raps

By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)
Updated September 29, 2011 12:00 AM

TOKYO — President Aquino warned striking employees of Philippine Airlines (PAL) that protesting workers could face charges, including economic sabotage, for holding a strike at the height of typhoon “Pedring” last Tuesday.


PAL suspended all flights after airline employees staged a wildcat strike to protest the impending termination of 2,600 workers.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the company’s management canceled the flights after members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) refused to work.

Some 172 PAL domestic and international flights were reportedly affected.

Over coffee with the media Tuesday night at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, the President admitted he thought about economic sabotage when he learned about the strike.

“But my lawyers are looking at how clear it (economic sabotage) is. What is clear right now is under the Civil Aviation Act of 2008, any disruption is punishable,” he said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the President discussed the issue with Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

The President, Roxas and Coloma, along with other officials, were here for Aquino’s official working visit that started last Sunday.

“Any person who disrupts the services of an airport is criminally liable under the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 and may be penalized with imprisonment ranging from one year to three years or a fine of not less than P50,000 but not exceeding P500,000 or more as determined by the court,” Aquino said.

The acts of one personnel who refused to perform his or her tasks such as personally manning check-in counters, checking in passengers and those belonging to the ground crew who abandoned their posts could be considered acts leading to the disruption of airport services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

Aquino said the workers could not use the typhoon as an excuse to justify their acts.

When asked if the actions of PALEA members were justifiable, Aquino said he was told that there was a meeting (Monday night) and (PALEA members) stated there was no plan to embark on such an activity.

He said there were several groups at the meeting, among them the NAIA management, the Philippine National Police component and the Department of Labor and Employment.

“If they would go on such an activity, they will give 24 hours notice. They didn’t do any of those things and there was even a typhoon,” the President said.

Coloma said the walkout of PALEA members “shows insensitivity to the riding public.”

Coloma said Aquino has directed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to supervise the efforts of DOLE, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authority in working closely with PAL management to resolve this matter soon.

Coloma said the government adhered to the rule of law in addressing PALEA’s issue on labor outsourcing and called on PALEA to do the same.

Civil aviation law provides that air travel must be reliable, safe and secure, Coloma said.

PAL resumes partial operations

PAL resumed operations yesterday with only five international and two domestic flights despite the continuing strike of airline employees.

PAL president Jaime Bautista admitted that it would take weeks before the international and domestic operations of the country’s flag carrier return to normal.

Bautista said the airline operations are only expected to stabilize upon the completion of the spin-off program, which resulted in the sit-down strike started by members of the PALEA last Tuesday to oppose the lay-off of 2,600 workers.

Villaluna said the airline mounted flights to Davao, Kalibo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Jakarta hours after the striking employees vacated their posts at the NAIA terminal 2 and volunteers took over their duties.

Some 62 domestic flights and 40 international flights remained cancelled.

“We thank our passengers for their patience and understanding and for bearing with us during this difficult time. Rest assured that PAL will do everything to ensure that all our passengers will reach their destination safely,” Villaluna said in a statement.

Villaluna assured the public that the airline is determined to get back on its feet and move forward.

She said that hundreds of PAL volunteers were deployed at PAL’s hub at the NAIA Terminal 2 either as check-in clerks, ramp equipment operators, and customer relations officers.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said only a restraining order from the Court of Appeals (CA) could prevent PAL from implementing the outsourcing program or spin-off that would require retrenchment of employees.

Baldoz said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) could no longer intervene and order the striking employees to return to work since the labor dispute is now under the jurisdiction of the CA.

“The DOLE decision (approving the spin-off program of PAL management) was affirmed by the Office of the President, and now subject of a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals,” Baldoz explained.

Baldoz said that Manila International Airport Authority general manager Angel Honrado has exercised his authority to maintain security to passengers, cargo, aircraft, airport equipment, structures, and personnel in the country’s airports.

About 400 PALEA members continued to stage a protest action at the airport and vowed not to stop until PAL management heeds their demand to stop the implementation of the outsourcing program.

The striking employees also condemned the move of PAL management of bringing in volunteers to take over their posts.

PALEA president Gerry Rivera claimed that the door of an Airbus jet was damaged when a contractual employee, who was allegedly untrained, committed a mistake.

“This accident reveals the dangers of inexperienced contractual employees at work. We know that passengers were inconvenienced by the protest but they should understand that airline safety and efficiency is ensured by regular not contractual labor,” Rivera claimed.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) had expressed concern over the strike of PAL workers that could disrupt plans of many foreign tourists to visit the country.

“Like any strike this causes travel disruptions. While it is of national interest that operations return to normal, we hope this would be resolved in a way that is mutually beneficial for both parties,” said PTAA president Aileen Clemente.

Thousands of departing passengers lined up at PAL counters at the departure area of the NAIA terminal 2 where newly assigned contractual workers took over the posts of PALEA members.

“I’m glad PAL had resumed flights, although there seems to be a little delay,” said Andrea Clemente, a travel executive going to Nagoya, who was among the hundreds of passengers lined up at the counter.

There was an 11-hour delay in PAL’s operation when some 300 PALEA members staged a sit down strike starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

PAL was able to resume operations when the PALEA members were stripped of their identification cards starting at 5 p.m., and were barred from continuing with their work, while employees of service provider Skylogistics took over the check-in counters, ramp marshal, cargo loading, tow truck operations, and other related services.

PAL officials said the PALEA members would be paid for their services until Sept. 30.

Some PAL passengers who were not accommodated on scheduled flights due to the strike were transferred to flights of AirphilExpress, Cebu Pacific, and ZestAir.

Villaluna said the flag carrier was able to mount the following flights: Manila-Davao (PR821); Manila-Kalibo (PR239); Manila-Hong Kong (PR310); Manila-Bangkok (PR732); Manila-Los Angeles (PR102); Manila-San Francisco (PR104); Manila-Jakarta (PR535).

A composite team from PAL security, airport services, police and aviation security and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) were able to successfully persuade striking PALEA workers to yield control of PAL’s check-in terminals, cargo, catering and ramp areas.

Meanwhile, Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, chairman of the House committee on labor, criticized PAL workers for going on strike.

Ong said members of PALEA gave unionism a black eye for their failure to consider the plight of passengers.

“PALEA leaders and members may not know it, but by their action, they have given unionism in the country a bad name,” he said.

As a result, he said passengers and the public in general are angry with the unionists and could not understand what they are fighting for.

Opposition Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales described the strike as “ill-timed,” saying the union faces accusations of “insensitivity” for leaving their posts while thousands of passengers waited for their flight.

“The timing is unfortunate. They should know that sensitivity counts a lot,” she said. With Mayen Jaymalin, Rudy Santos, Jess Diaz, Alexis Romero
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #929
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PAL union agreed not to disrupt operations—Roxas
By Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:46 pm | Thursday, September 29th, 2011

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/67437/p...erations—roxas

MANILA, Philippines—The night before Philippine Airlines’ operations were crippled by an unannounced strike, the company’s labor union agreed not to hold any protests to ensure that services to passengers were not disrupted as Typhoon Pedring neared Luzon, Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said Thursday.

Roxas said talks between the management and the union were brokered by the labor department the night before the typhoon.

“From what I understand, there was an agreement the night before that no labor actions would be carried out as the storm approached,” Roxas told reporters.

PAL’s operations were crippled on Tuesday as members of the PAL Employees Association (Palea) held a “sit down” protest to denounce the airline’s plans to cut 2,600 jobs through the closure of its in-flight catering, airport services and call center departments.

A total of 172 flights were cancelled that day, affecting 14,000 passengers. Union members had been put on leave with pay until the end of their employment contracts on September 30.

PAL has put in place its own replacement workers, but the airline was still operating at a significantly reduced capacity after failing to sign up enough employees to replace union members. The airline also moved several domestic flights to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

Roxas supported pronouncements by Malacañang that it would study the possibility of filing economic sabotage charges against Palea for causing disruptions in transportation services.

“The government is always interested in ensuring regularity and reliability of transport services…. The labor dispute has been decided upon by the government. We’ve reviewed it and heard all sides,” Roxas said.

Palea vice-president Alnem Pretencio confirmed that the union met with management Monday night, but denied that they agreed not to hold any protests.

“What we agreed on was that we would not hold any big rally in the airport area, but we never discussed other possible protest actions,” he said in an interview. “Our backs were pushed against the wall and we had no choice but to act to protect our jobs,” he said. He declined to give further details about the meeting.

PAL’s retrenchment plan, which was approved twice by the labor department and twice again by the Office of the President, was in line with the company’s efforts to streamline operations. PAL officials have also argued that outsourcing of “non-core” services has become an industry-wide trend for airlines around the world.

The three companies hired to replace PAL’s closed units were Sky Logistics, Sky Kitchen and SPi Global Holdings Inc.—the first two linked to PAL owner Lucio Tan. Employees covered by the retrenchment plan were offered jobs at the three companies—at lower pay— but most of them refused the offer.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #930
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Breaktime
Save PAL, save jobs
By: Conrado R. Banal III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
9:14 pm | Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
15share78 62

Nobody wanted to call it a “wildcat strike,” that work stoppage last Tuesday done by ground workers of the country’s flag carrier, PAL, which left thousands of passengers stranded at the airport.

Our contacts in the labor sector did not term it as a “sit-down strike,” which—being illegal and all—is usually just a spontaneous protest action.

Technically, what happened at the Naia last Tuesday was neither a wildcat strike, a measure without any authorization from the union officials, nor a spontaneous protest.

Make no mistake, the action taken by PAL workers at the Naia was so well organized, it seemed to be premeditated.

According to our sources at the MIAA [Manila International Airport Authority], as a result of the “strike,” a number of ground equipment of PAL was even destroyed. In other places, such an action would have been termed as “sabotage.”

The equipment would still not work by the time MIAA had cleared the airport of the protesting PAL workers well into the night.

MIAA chief Jose Angel Honrado, who served as military spokesman during the cute administration of Gloriaetta, perhaps deserves a pat on the back. He went to the airport to talk to the protesting group. Supposedly, he told them to vacate the area, or he would be forced to take action within the confines of the law. Our contacts at the Naia took his words to mean that the former general would remove the protesters out of the airport, physically.

Under RA 9497, the law that created the CAAP, or the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, those who cause disruption at the airports are liable criminally—meaning, they can go to jail. Thanks to threats of terrorism, airports are sensitive areas all over the world. In this country, the airports serve about 10 million OFWs. I am afraid that the government will not do anything. Again.
* * *
Today, PAL has a work force of about 7,500 people. By world standards, it is just too big for an airline its size. And so PAL wants to trim down its work force by farming out its in-flight catering, call center and airport ground services. This would result in the removal of about 2,600 employees.
PAL was willing to set aside money for their severance pay of about P2.5 billion, including a “gratuity pay” of P50,000 for each of the workers.
As if to show us that we are actually a rich country, the Aquino (Part II) administration is also giving each of the workers P50,000, or a total of P130 million of our tax money. Just how many taxpayers the BIR will have to harass to raise that amount is hard to say.

Perhaps Malacañang wants to appease the PAL workers who are constantly getting favorable media coverage, and never mind that in other places, “gratuity pay” is known simply as “tip.”

It is just that, if you recall all the troubles at the Naia in the past, affecting thousands of passengers, the cause of the problems—i.e. the protesting PAL employees and pilots—have always been getting their way.

Last year, PAL cancelled several flights because some foreign airlines pirated PAL-trained pilots, who were under contract to remain with PAL for at least six years. Our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS) did not lift a finger then, even in the name of public interest and to protect the rights of all the people using the airports.

In fact, from what I gathered, BS even convinced PAL management to delay the restructuring, which the company wanted to do as early the middle of 2010, and in this country, nobody could really say “no” to the president.

To our contacts in business, such stories were bad for the image of BS. They showed a certain weakness, sometimes called indecisiveness.

* * *

For more than 10 years now, PAL wanted to follow what the airline industry has been doing worldwide: outsource certain services to save on costs.
PAL has been bleeding. Taipan Lucio Tan already injected $2 billion in cash into the airline. The investment is almost wiped out by now, after years of heavy losses.

PAL is, perhaps, the only airline in the world that still has in-house call center with its own employees. American firm US Airways has a call center in Makati City, run by another company. Another American firm, Hawaiian Airline, has its call center in Baguio City.

According to news reports, PAL expected to shave off as much as $15 million a year from its expenses with the farmed-out services.

Such an amount may help PAL reduce its losses, but I am afraid it would not be enough to put the company back to profitability. My info is that, in the first quarter of this year alone, PAL already lost P500 million.

PAL must do other things—refurbishing the fleet or doing more effective marketing campaigns. These also cost a lot of money. Thus, PAL needs fresh capital.

The problem is, nobody wants to invest in a losing proposition such as PAL, due mainly to its huge labor cost. Potential investors are well aware of its internal problems that have been causing PAL’s bleeding.

Look, the airline industry worldwide was able to recover this year, with the IATA [International Air Transport Association] expecting industry profits to hit about $7 billion, which means the industry could now expect to recover from the heavy losses.

In the Asia-Pacific region, where PAL belongs, airline profits are expected to hit $2.5 billion this year. The profitable airlines, of course, exclude PAL.
As I said, PAL has about 7,500 workers. The restructuring would retain at least 5,000 for now.

If those striking PAL workers would have their way, and PAL management and the Aquino (Part II) administration would give in to their demands, those 5,000 workers are also in danger of losing their jobs.
Without the restructuring, as the bleeding continues, PAL would eventually have to close down permanently. In other words, the restructuring that can save PAL will also help save those 5,000 jobs.

http://business.inquirer.net/21929/save-pal-save-jobs
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Old September 30th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #931
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30 September 2011

PAL defends outsourcing, lashes at critics

Philippine Airlines (PAL) today (30 September 2011) defended the implementation of its spin off/outsourcing program against critics saying the company is well-within its rights to restructure operations to ensure long-term survival and to save the jobs of its 5,000 remaining employees.

In a statement, PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said detractors of the plan see the loss of jobs for 2,400 members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) but conveniently turn a blind eye on the 5,000 office personnel, cabin crew and pilots that PAL is trying to save.

“The law is on our side. We’re implementing the outsourcing program not on mere whim or caprice but on the basis of legal and valid orders from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the President. We’re doing it to save the airline from financial ruin,” Bautista stressed.

He said PAL management would no longer go back to the negotiating table with PALEA. “The DOLE and the President have spoken; PALEA has filed their appeal with the appellate court. Let’s just wait for the CA’s action on this matter. We have nothing more to talk about. The time for diplomacy is long over, especially after the union’s wildcat strike,” he said.

Bautista also lashed out against critics of PAL’s outsourcing plan who say nothing other than angry words and mere rhetoric to justify their opposition.

He said PAL is determined to implement the spin off/outsourcing program on October 1. “The time for negotiation has long passed. We invited PALEA to a dialogue after the Office of the President threw out their petition seeking to invalidate PAL’s outsourcing plan. PALEA members only have their intransigent leaders to blame for their current predicament,” he stressed.

Bautista said there’s no doubt on everyone’s mind that the concerted refusal of PALEA members to perform their official duties in the early morning of September 27 is a strike. “They refuse to check in passengers, load cargo and cater food – functions which they are paid to perform while on official duty – yet, they insist it is merely a form of ‘protest’ and not a ‘strike’. That’s the kind of ‘double-speak’ PALEA leaders have been dishing out since Day One of the debate on the spin off/outsourcing plan,” he said.

Bautista said the PALEA members’ refusal to work forced management to cancel flights for more than 16 hours Tuesday which caused untold suffering to more than 14,000 PAL passengers. “This doesn’t include the millions of dollars PAL lost as a result of PALEA’s illegal acts,” he added.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 12:26 PM   #932
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I'd say the strike has affected international PAL flights..PR104 was 14 hours late taking off and I got a rare daytime glimpse of a PAL A340 of all things..SFO is PAL 747 territory..
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Old September 30th, 2011, 07:00 PM   #933
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My flight today to Bangkok on PR 730 is 30mins delayed. Thanks to the last passenger who boarded so late! katabi ko pa!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 05:57 AM   #934
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No offer from MVP, SMC to acquire airline, says PAL chief

By Mary Ann Ll Reyes (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 01, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) president Jaime Bautista said yesterday that neither the company nor its controlling owner, business tycoon Lucio Tan, has received an offer from either the group of Manuel V. Pangilinan or San Miguel Corp. to acquire the airline.

“No investor in his right mind would invest in PAL at this time. A lot of things need to be done in order to make PAL attractive to investors. We have to change the way we do business. For instance, we have to streamline our operations and we need the right manpower complement. Any investor would ask what is our number of employee per aircraft and employee per passenger served. Right now, our numbers said are high compared to other airlines,” Bautista said on the sidelines of PAL Holdings’ annual stockholders’ meeting yesterday.

He emphasized that neither PAL Holdings, which owns 85 percent of PAL directly and indirectly, nor Tan is in talks for possible investments with any party.

PAL, currently beleaguered by labor unrest, is still optimistic on ending its current fiscal year with a profit, despite a loss suffered in the first half.

Bautista said for the first quarter of the current fiscal year (April 1 to June 30, 2011), the company suffered a $10-million loss, despite the fact that the first quarter is traditionally profitable.

“First quarter was a loss. In the same period last year, we made money. The second quarter is always a loss because it’s the lean season,” he said.

The first quarter was characterized by high fuel prices and depressed demand for travel especially in international routes.

He, however, said the third and fourth quarters are traditionally profitable months. “We are optimistic that we will able to recover during the second half and offset the losses during the first half.”

Bautista said they are cautiously optimistic that “we will continue our recovery this fiscal year.”

Part of PAL management’s optimism is due to the implementation of the company’s outsourcing of three non-core activities – catering, ground handling and reservations to third-party providers. A cost reduction of about $15 million is expected to be realized from outsourcing the three activities.

Despite its current problems, PAL continues to expand its aircraft fleet, with two Boeing 777 worth $200 million each and two Airbus 320 (on operating lease) scheduled for delivery next fiscal year, plus two more B777s in the succeeding year.

Bautista said the first two B777 deliveries are being taken in anticipation of the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) upgrading the Philippines back to Category 1 from its current rating of Category 2.

“President Aquino has instructed our Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) to do everything to get the country out of Category 2 by the first half of next year,” he revealed.

The Category 2 rating has prevented Philippine carriers from mounting new flights to the US. Most of the issues raised by the US FAA involved lack of technical and qualified people and systems.

The European Union has also blacklisted the Philippines due to basically the same issues raised by the US.

Bautista told the stockholders that although there was an improvement in the performance of the aviation industry this period, the airline business is cyclical in nature. “Thus, efforts exerted last year in reducing costs and initiating revenue-generating programs are continuously being implemented and enhanced. Yet again, more problems plague the industry. The ongoing political crisis in the Middle East has increased oil prices, with jet fuel averaging $123 per barrel for the seven months this year compared to the same period’s average of $87 per barrel last year,” he said.

He added that the effect on demand for travel caused by the decline in the economies of both the US and Europe, the growth and expansion of low cost carriers especially in the Asia Pacific region, and the terrorism threat pose a greater challenge for PAL’s continued financial recovery.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:21 AM   #935
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Migrant group urges boycott of PAL
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:03 pm | Saturday, October 1st, 2011

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/142...#disqus_thread

MANILA, Philippines—An international migrants’ rights group urged overseas Filipino workers on Saturday to boycott Philippine Airlines and support its ground crew union in its ongoing dispute with the airline’s management.

Migrante International called on all its member organizations, chapters and networks abroad to boycott PAL and support the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in its fight against “massive retrenchment, union-busting and contractualization.”


“We fully support the fight of PAL workers. This is a clear example of how capitalist interests trample upon labor rights. We salute them for their resolve and commitment to fight for what is just despite suppression and under-handed tactics by the PAL management,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez also criticized President Benigno Aquino for “ignoring the demands of the workers and instead taking the cudgels” for PAL owner and business mogul Lucio Tan.

“It is clear in Aquino’s position that he is no different from others before him. He is in connivance with other capitalists and big compradors in protecting their class interests. Walang wang-wang pero okay lang ang Tan-Tan?” Martinez said.

“We call on all OFWs to boycott PAL and take other airlines instead. Let us show our support for the PAL workers and protest against contractualization and union-busting by Lucio Tan. Let this action also show our condemnation of President Aquino’s disregard of workers’ rights and blatant tolerance of Tan’s anti-worker schemes and policies,” Martinez said.

Migrante International said it had more than 200 member-organizations in 23 countries.

Meanwhile, PALEA dismissed as a “modern-day fairy tale” claims that Philippine Airlines had to dismiss 2,600 workers because it was losing money.

“PAL does not have to choose between saving the jobs of 2,600 PALEA members and the remaining 5,000 employees since it is not in danger of bankruptcy,” said Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

“PAL has not been able to start the outsourcing plan for the past two years because of PALEA’s defiance and yet it earned a net income of $72.5 million or more than P3 billion in its last fiscal year and is already projecting a modest profit for the present year,” he said.

“The threat of ruin if outsourcing is not implemented is plain and simple black propaganda and blackmail by PAL. The reason the dispute has dragged on for the last two years and the present standoff exists is because of PAL’s intransigence,” he added.
Rivera lambasted PAL’s refusal to open talks to resolve the labor dispute.

“It has become clear since the forcible eviction of protesting PALEA members that the replacement workers and scabs cannot normalize operations and make PAL fly. The failure of the outsourcing plan is the cause of the continuing flight cancellations and delays,” Rivera said.

He said PALEA was calling on PAL to end the labor dispute by halting the outsourcing plan pending the final decision of the courts.

Rivera said protests continued to spread to PAL’s outlying stations as locked-out and laid-off PALEA members in Cebu set up their own campout at the Mactan International Airport.

Around 500 workers were scheduled to march Saturday afternoon from Mandaue City to the protest camp at the airport. PALEA and labor groups were also scheduled to hold rallies in Bacolod and Davao against the contractualization plan.

“PAL is guilty of a double standard. When it is losing a case such as the illegal dismissal of 1,400 flight attendants, it insists on exhausting the judicial process. It fought the case up to the Supreme Court and even delayed the final resolution by filing two motions for reconsideration,” Rivera said.

Artists from the Dakila Collective for Modern Heroism were expected to perform at a solidarity concert dubbed “Pamorningan sa PALEA” Saturday night at the protest camp at the PAL In-flight Center in Manila. Dakila is led by artists Lourd de Veyra and Noel Cabangon.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 01:31 AM   #936
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PAL: Union members can't return to work

Sunday, October 2, 2011
MANILA (2nd Update, 1:46 p.m.) -- The Philippine Airlines (PAL) ruled out Sunday any possibility of PAL Employees Association (Palea) members returning to work, saying they are no longer considered employed by the flag carrier as of Saturday.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista said Palea has no right to make demands or threats against the company since they have stopped being employees of PAL when they opted not to avail of the offers of the three outsourcing firms.


"As of midnight October 1, workers in our catering, ground handling, and call center reservations units have ceased to be PAL employees. Hence, they have no right to demand or tell the airline how to run its business," said Bautista in a statement.

He said PAL union’s president Gerry Rivera and Bong Palad have also ceased to be PAL employees and are therefore, no longer recognized by PAL as leaders of the Palea.

"They have no authority to negotiate for and in behalf of PAL workers,” he stressed.

The statement was issued on the heels of Palea's offer to go back to work and help normalize the airline's operations on condition that the management halts its outsourcing program until the Supreme Court (SC) hands down a decision on the matter.

As much as 2,600 Palea members went jobless after the PAL began implementing its spin-off program last Saturday after earlier getting clearance from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the Office of the President (OP).

Palea has since brought the matter to the Court of Appeals with a vow to bring it to as high as the SC if needed.

The workers had also been conducting sit-down strikes and protest rallies since Tuesday last week, prompting the management to seek legal actions against them.

But Bautista said there is no turning back on the management’s plan to lay off 2,600 employees.

He said they are also afraid that allowing Palea to return to work would pose threat to the whole company and their outsourcing partners.

"Former PAL workers have caused damage to PAL's equipment during their September 27 wildcat strike. There's no guarantee they won't do that again," said Bautista.

"Mixing former PAL workers with volunteers and service providers poses grave risk to the men and women who have worked so hard to keep the airline flying. It would be most unfair to expose them to possible harassment and physical harm," he added.

The PAL chief admitted, however, that there is still one way for Palea members to be able to return to work.

"PAL will only take back its former workers if there is a court order mandating it to do so... so far, there is none," said Bautista.

The official assured that the flag carrier, with its new service providers and corps of volunteers, is determined to see the airline through the difficult transition phase.

"PAL is slowly returning to normalcy, thanks to the selfless dedication of our admin volunteers and the help of our service providers," Bautista said.

He said PAL’s service providers are doing their best to hire skilled workers to fill part of the vacuum left by its former personnel.

"We must understand that they were required by Dole and Malacanang to absorb all former PAL employees. Now that these workers have shown that they're not interested, the service providers are working double-time to recruit the people they need," he said.

He also assured PAL passengers that from the current 70 percent, the airline's flights will be back to pre-strike levels in the next few weeks.

Palea criticized, however, the PAL’s refusal to open talks to resolve the labor dispute.

“It has become clear since the forcible eviction of protesting Palea members that the replacement workers and scabs cannot normalize operations and make PAL fly. The failure of the outsourcing plan is the cause of the continuing flight cancellations and delays,” Rivera said in a statement.

The labor union is still calling on PAL to end the dispute by halting the outsourcing plan pending the final decision of the courts. (AMN/SDF/FP/Sunnex)
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 03:39 AM   #937
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PAL workers willing to return to ease disruptions
By Nancy C. Carvajal, Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:21 am | Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/68853/p...se-disruptions

Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea) have offered to return to their jobs to avoid further disruptions to the operations of Philippine Airlines, but on the condition that management halt its plan to outsource their jobs until the Supreme Court hands down a decision on the matter, according to the union’s leader.

“We will go back to work while waiting for the Supreme Court to rule that outsourcing is illegal,” Bong Palad, Palea secretary general, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “If the court declares otherwise, then we will abide by the law and comply with the third employee agreement.”


Palad said union members offered to return to their posts to spare more passengers from being adversely affected by the failure of their replacements to “fly PAL.”

“It has become clear since the forcible eviction of protesting Palea members that the replacement workers and scabs cannot normalize operations and make PAL fly,” he said.

He also said that the outsourcing project of PAL that started Saturday had failed, based on the unabated flight cancellations.

“The failure of the outsourcing plan is the cause of the continuing flight cancellations and delays,” he said.

A PAL operations advisory disclosed that 66 flights were cancelled Saturday, 55 of them domestic and 11 international.

A PAL employee who asked not to be named said that based on departed flights, “Operations capability is still below 50 percent.” She added that although lines forming in front of the check-in counters had eased a bit, “it will take some time before operations will normalize due to lack of personnel.” Palea president Gerry Rivera said in a statement Saturday that PAL’s claim of financial ruin was “a modern-day fairy tale.”

“PAL does not have to choose between saving the jobs of 2,600 Palea members and the remaining 5,000 employees since it is not in danger of bankruptcy,” Rivera said.

He noted that contrary to management’s statement of heavy losses, “PAL continues to earn a net income of $72.5 million or more than P3 billion in its last fiscal year and is already projecting a modest profit for the present year.” Rivera added, “The threat of ruin if outsourcing is not implemented is plain and simple blackmail and propaganda by PAL. The reason the dispute has dragged on for the last two years and the standoff exists is because of PAL management’s stubbornness.”

Also Saturday, an international migrants rights group urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to boycott PAL and support its ground crew union in the ongoing labor row at the flag carrier.

Migrante International called on all its member organizations, chapters and networks abroad to boycott PAL and support Palea in its fight against “massive retrenchment, union-busting and contractualization.”

“We fully support the fight of PAL workers. This is a clear example of how capitalist interests trample upon labor rights. We salute them for their resolve and commitment to fight for what is just despite suppression and underhanded tactics by the PAL management,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chair.

Martinez also criticized President Benigno Aquino III for “ignoring the demands of the workers and instead taking up the cudgels” for PAL owner and business mogul Lucio Tan.

“It is clear in Aquino’s position that he is no different from others before him. He is in connivance with other capitalists and big compradors in protecting their class interests,” Martinez said.
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Old February 8th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #938
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5J/PQ/PR | Philippines-Based Carriers

Air Asia starts domestic
operations next month

http://www.malaya.com.ph/02082012/busi5.html

AIR Asia Philippines yesterday said that it will start its domestic operations next month with its new Airbus A-320 planes.
Air Asia also targets to beef up its fleet to between 14 and 16 aircraft in five years.
Marianne Hontiveros, chief executive officer of AirAsia Inc., said the local airline will be flying out of Clark to Davao on March 15 in time for Davao’s 75th founding anniversary, and from Clark to Kalibo.
Hontiveros said the airline company hopes to start its regional flights within the year, adding that it has already secured air rights for regional flights to Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.
However, she said that the airline still has to get seats from the respective countries after submitting the air operator certificate (AOC) which it just secured from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) yesterday.
"We are excited to announce that in the coming weeks, AirAsia Inc. will begin its domestic and international operations utilizing two brand-new Airbus A-320s flown in from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France," she said after the signing ceremony for its AOC.
The contract allows Air Asia to fly passengers from its hub in Clark to domestic and international destinations.
She said two more aircraft will be delivered within the year.
Hontiveros did not disclose the amount of investment the company put in for the new fleet, saying the aircraft that will be coming are all leased.
"After we have started our operations, we will evaluate if we need to acquire our own aircraft," she said.
She added that Air Asia is ready for a price war, and assured that the carrier has the lowest airfares while offering the best service.
The airline company originally targets to carry around 850,000 passengers in its first year of operation.
This may be revised given the delays it has faced to secure the license to operate.
Ramon S. Gutierrez, Air Asia director general, said the company has successfully completed the five phases of certification.
Gutierrez expressed confidence that the rigid process and requirements that AirAsia Inc. has fully complied with will enhance a system of checks and balances to ensure safety conscientiousness in Philippine aviation.
"We reaffirm our commitment to make air travel more fun, affordable and accessible to all Filipinos. With the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Angeles, Pampanga, as our hub, we look forward to helping revitalize tourism and significantly increasing passenger traffic at DMIA," Hontiveros said.
AirAsia Inc. registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March last year to engage primarily in providing passenger and cargo air transportation in the Philippines and abroad.
AirAsia Inc. is a 60-40 joint venture between Filipino investors Antonio O. Cojuangco, Michael L. Romero and Hontiveros, and Malaysia’s AirAsia International Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of AirAsia Berhad.
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Old February 8th, 2012, 04:25 AM   #939
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The Asian Aviation side has mostly divided its threads based on regions rather than airline groups. So as your article primarily discusses about AirAsia Philippines, this will become the Philippines-Based Carriers thread. Note that AirAsia Malaysia is in the Malaysia-Based Carriers thread.
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Old February 8th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #940
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But there's a separate thread on PR as it is. So as far as I'm concerned, this should be the thread for 5J, 2P, PQ, DG, Z2 and the like, but not PR.
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