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Old May 16th, 2009, 03:14 AM   #121
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Arianespace said Australia.

Anyway, I hope we all remember that PAL still has a shortage of long-haul aircraft which of course hinders it from expanding outside Southeast Asia. It will be a while before PAL receives enough aircraft to return to Europe, the Middle East and North America in full force.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:19 PM   #122
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Asian Legacy Airlines launches Asian Promo Fare

Valid for flights between the Asean Region


Bangkok- Asian legacy carriers agreed today to launch Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) wide seat sale called Asian fare to promote tourism in the region.

The Visit Asean Pass (VAP) programme have introduced a new air-pass with lower airfare since it was launched in January 2006 by the ASEAN Tourism Association in which participating airlines offer as low as $99 coupons between two Asian cities.

Thai International, Garuda Indonesia, Philippine Airlines, Lao Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and Myanmar Airways International, have jointly agreed to introduced special economy airfare for travel on domestic and international sectors within the Asean nations. Singapore and Malaysia airlines promised to adopt the promo on their airlines.

Pandit Chanapai, Thai's Executive Vice President, said that the special "ASEAN Fare" promotion marks the occasion that Thailand serves as Asean Chairman for a period of one and a half year and is host to the 14 th Asean Summit 2009.

To be eligible for the promotion, passengers must purchase a minimum of 3 or maximum of 5 flight coupons (1 coupon for 1 flight traveled). The cost of a special air ticket varies from point of destination and is considered to be the cheapest fare of the industry.

The promotional deal offers an attractive fare to customers traveling to and from Capital Cities destinations and will be valid now until November 30, 2009.


Applicable Fares for Adult:

COUNTRY 3 coupons 4 coupons 5 coupons
CAMBODIA USD 420 USD 550 USD 600
INDONESIA USD 420 USD 550 USD 600
LAOS USD 420 USD 550 USD 600
MALAYSIA MYR 1595 MYR 2075 MYR 2235
MYANMAR MMK 2705 MMK 3540 MMK 3865
PHILIPPINES USD 420 USD 550 USD 600
SINGAPORE SGD 720 SGD 935 SGD 1005
THAILAND THB 16620 THB 21610 THB 23270
VIETNAM USD 420 USD 550 USD 600

Applicable Fares for Child:

COUNTRY 3 coupons 4 coupons 5 coupons
CAMBODIA USD 315 USD 410 USD 450
INDONESIA USD 315 USD 410 USD 450
LAOS USD 315 USD 410 USD 450
MALAYSIA MYR 1195 MYR 1555 MYR 1675
MYANMAR MMK 2030 MMK 2640 MMK 2900
PHILIPPINES USD 315 USD 410 USD 450
SINGAPORE SGD 540 SGD 700 SGD 760
THAILAND THB 12480 THB 16230 THB 17490
VIETNAM USD 315 USD 410 USD 450

Restrictions:

Not valid on VN1724/ VN1725
Not valid on PR specific flight numbers as follows:
MNL-BKI v.v. not valid on PR 703 / 702
A. Travel on any sector is restricted to once in each direction.
B. Departure from any city is limited to twice only.
All flight segments must be confirmed at the time of ticket purchase.
Maximum stay:
MNL-KUL v.v. not valid on PR 703 / 705 / 807 / 702 / 704 / 806
Not valid on GA 9000 series flights and GA 846/847/848/849 for SIN-BPN v.v.
Not valid on TG 3000 – 8000 series flights
Minimum stay:
MNL-KCH v.v. not valid on PR 807 / 806
CEB-BKI v.v. not valid on PR 709 / 708
CEB-KUL v.v. not valid on PR 709 / 708

Fare conditions:

* Visit Asean Air Pass can be purchased in any participating airlines.
* All travel must commence within the period: April 1 2009 — 30th of November 2009.
* Visit Asean Air Pass is subject to child and infant discount.
* Minimum stay — 5 days, maximum stay — 1 month.
* Minimum number of flight coupons — 3 coupons. Maximum number of flight coupons — 5 coupons.
* Airport taxes and surcharges are not included.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #123
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Lufthansa Technik signs 12-year contract with PAL


Philippine Airlines has signed a multi-million-dollar contract for the engine repair of its Airbus fleet at the facility of Lufthansa Technik AG in Germany.

Lufthansa Technik, a global leader in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of commercial aircraft, engines and components, said in a statement it sealed a 12-year engine maintenance contract with the Lucio Tan-owned carrier.

Liza Martija, senior marketing officer of Lufthansa Technik Philippines based at the MacroAsia Special Economic Zone in Pasay City, did not cite the cost of the contract, but said an engine overhaul cost up to $100 million.

“This is a side contract for engine repair, aside from our off-wing support services contract with PAL,” Martija said.

Under the new contract, Lufthansa Technik AG will perform repair and overhaul of CFM56-5B engines removed from PAL’s A320 and A319 aircraft.

Its Philippine subsidiary, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, will provide off-wing support services, including engine shop visit support, engine preservation and fan re-lube.

Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista said that with the new contract, the airline would be able to concentrate in fulfilling its goals, including the growing network to more destinations throughout the country and overseas.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #124
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PAL refurbishes B747 with world-class amenities
Updated May 17, 2009 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) recently rolled out its second reconfigured Boeing 747-400 that features brand new and luxurious cabin amenities rivaling some of the world’s best airlines.

The upgrading is part of PAL’s US$50-million aircraft refurbishment program. It started last year after the airline management decided to reconfigure its long-haul aircraft to bi-class – taking out the First Class section – in keeping with the trend of major airlines worldwide.

The latest PAL B747-400 to undergo a facelift completed its three-month refurbishment on April 9, 2009 at PAL’s maintenance service provider in Taipei. New business and economy class seats, state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system and a new cabin design were installed in the aircraft.

The new cabin amenities and interior look can be viewed even without boarding the aircraft by taking the B747 cabin virtual tour at PAL’s website (philippineairlines.com) where an interactive 360 degree view of Mabuhay (lower and upper deck) and economy class can be accessed. The virtual tour is available on the website starting May 18.

Renowned aircraft seat manufacturer Recaro of Germany supplied the 391 seats (56 in Mabuhay and 335 in fiesta), offering generous seat pitch (60 inches in Mabuhay and 32 to 34 inches in economy). Luxurious Mabuhay seats are ergonomically designed and can be transformed into a lie-flat bed complete with a cocoon-type privacy shell.

Each seat has audio/video on-demand capability, including a personal TV (10 to 15-inch monitors for Mabuhay and nine-inch monitors for economy). The state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system allows passengers to choose from a library of video and audio content, including 18 movies, 8 TV programs, 12 radio channels and 50 CD albums. Digital games are also available for young passengers while in-seat power for laptops is provided in Mabuhay class.

Passengers are also welcomed by the cabin’s new look and feel – coastal-themed interiors characterized by palm-tree landscape design at the fore and aft sections of the aircraft, deep-blue seat upholstery with silvery-copper threads in Mabuhay class and undulating wave-pattern of blue, aqua and terracotta palette in Economy. To complete the airy, spacious feel, curtains, carpet and surfaces are in shades of blue, white, gray, silver and tan.

The refurbishment/reconfiguration of the B747s is capped by a new type of Mabuhay Class meal service called “One-by-One” – a la carte service where passengers select their own meal from a variety of choices. Each dish is individually plated, giving each meal a tailored touch, in the tradition of fine-dining restaurants. On-demand service means passengers can take their meals anytime during the flight.

Refurbishment of the first PAL B747-400 was completed in October 2008, signaling the start of a $50-million refurbishment program of PAL’s flagship aircraft. RP-C7471 was also equipped with the same world-class amenities.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #125
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Philippine Airlines taps Panasonic for IFE
By Mary Kirby


Philippine Airlines has contracted Panasonic Avionics to supply its eX2 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system on six new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and via retrofit on four Airbus A340-300s.

"The decision to choose Panasonic represents a unique strategic direction for Philippine Airlines, as we require a quality IFE solution that provides a simple, powerful, redundant system that will allow growth well into the future," says Philippine Airlines VP marketing support Felix Cruz.

"We chose Panasonic eX2 because it has proven to be the most functional and reliable IFE technology and believe in Panasonic's vision and commitment to help Philippine Airlines deliver significant entertainment value to our passengers."

Deliveries of aircraft equipped with eX2 - which provides full audio/video on demand (AVOD) - are expected to begin in 2009. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

The deal is an extension of a relationship that dates back to the early 1990s when Panasonic supplied S2000e to the carrier. Since 2006, Panasonic has started delivering eFX for Philippine Airlines' new Airbus A319s and A320 with AVOD in business class for a fleet build-up of 15 aircraft.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 05:04 AM   #126
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This will not bide well for PAL, at least in the long run. It will be expensive to run two separate IFE systems on its aircraft, unless the systems are compatible with one another.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #127
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Kuwait Airways told to pay PAL $1M
For unpaid contract obligations

By Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines—Despite the backing of two governments, Kuwait Airways Corp. was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines over $1 million in contract obligations between the two airlines.

The case stems from PAL’s claim that Kuwait Airways should pay for the uplift of passengers and cargo from April 13 to October 28, 1995, after the governments of Kuwait and the Philippines signed a confidential memorandum of understanding granting exemptions to royalty payments effective on the signing of the agreement, April 12, 1995.

In a 23-page decision of the high court’s second division penned by Associate Justice Dante Tinga, the high court dismissed the appeal filed by Kuwait Airways seeking a reversal of the decision by the Makati City Regional Trial Court dated October 25, 2002.

The bilateral agreement, Kuwait Airways had argued in its appeal, in effect terminated the commercial agreement it entered into with Philippine Airlines which specified that the third and fourth freedom traffic rights will be observed, along with the revenue-sharing agreement that go with it.

Freedom traffic rights are the so-called five freedoms in the International Air Transport Agreement (IATA) signed in 1944; each signatory country agreed to grant each other five freedoms. The third freedom is the privilege to disembark passengers, mail, and cargo taken on in the territory of the flag carrier’s country while the fourth freedom is the privilege to take on passengers, mail, and cargo destined for the territory of the flag carrier’s country.

PAL does not dispute the provisions of the confidential memorandum of understanding, but told the court it cannot take effect immediately. It said the termination date of the commercial agreement is October 31, 1995 or the last day of the traffic period for that year.

On the other hand, Kuwait Airways argued that the bilateral agreement is superior to the commercial agreement having signed by both governments. It maintained that the government-to-government accord terminated the airline-to-airline contract soon after the former was signed in 1995.

But the Supreme Court said not even the two governments could immediately terminate the commercial agreement between the two commercial airlines.

The high court explained that even if PAL is subject to the limits of the law, still, the government has to respect the property rights of the airline and cannot arbitrarily confiscate or appropriate any property without due process of law.

“There is nothing to prevent the Philippine government from utilizing all the proper channels under the law to enforce such closure, but unless and until due process is observed, it does not have legal effect in this jurisdiction,” it said.

“Even granting that the ‘agreement’ between the two governments or their representatives creates a binding obligation under international law, it remains incumbent for each contracting party to adhere to its own internal law in the process of complying with its obligations,” the high court said.

It added that the commitment made by the government or its alter ego cannot be considered “divine” so as to exclude the legal rights of private persons.

The high court added that had PAL remained a government-owned and -controlled corporation, it would have had no choice but to abide by the bilateral agreement. In 1992, a private consortium acquired 67 percent of PAL shares.

In its decision, the Supreme Court said that while it sympathizes with Kuwait Airlines for relying on the commitment made by the Philippine government, everyone still needs to “respect the segregate identity of the government and that of a private corporation and give due meaning to that segregation, vital as it is to the very notion of democracy.”

At the same time, the high court faulted the executive department, particularly the Civil Aeronautics Board, for its failure to resort to legal remedies such as annulment or reformation of the contract between PAL and Kuwait Airlines.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #128
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Holdings firm set to prepay PAL notes, debt


By Riza T. Olchondra

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Airlines unsecured zero coupon notes and bilateral loans due in 2011 are set to be prepaid through the controlling shareholder of its parent company, PAL Holdings Inc.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, PAL Holdings said its controlling shareholder, Trustmark Holdings Corp., “proposes to buy a combination of notes and other [debts] up to an aggregate principal amount of $143 million, at its sole discretion.”

The buyback will be undertaken through a so-called Dutch auction, or an open descending price auction.

The aggregate principal amount of notes and loans combined is about $220 million.

The early tender is set on May 19. Those who will tender their notes by this time will receive their purchase price plus an early tender premium.

The offer expires on May 22 at 4 p.m. (GMT). The transaction is expected to be settled on May 29, PAL Holdings said.

JP Morgan Securities Ltd. is the sole dealer and manager of this transaction.

As part of the transaction, Trustmark will become the beneficial owner of the purchased notes and other debts.

PAL Holdings said that Trustmark would use the proceeds for future equity subscriptions.

Trustmark is controlled by PAL chair Lucio Tan.

It is the primary shareholder of PAL Holdings Inc. which, in turn, owns 84 percent of the issued share capital of the flag carrier.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:53 AM   #129
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The Usual Excuse
Cebu Pacific's On-Time Reality

By Katrina Legarda

Before I discuss anything legal, allow me to vent. I do not think I will ever travel on Cebu Pacific again. Cebu Pacific has taken the place of the once-well- entrenched-plane-always-late position of PAL.

We booked on Cebu Pacific as their fares seemed so much cheaper than PAL. It was only when the ticket was printed out that I saw all the hidden costs. Not cool.

There was chaos in terminal 3. Once that was suffered through, we had to wait (and wait and wait) in hot holding areas, like pigs in pens. Worse, we received only extraordinarily inaccurate information from ground staff about times of departure. The staff assure that the plane will leave on time, only for us already harassed travelers to be told, less than 2 seconds later, that we have to wait another two hours.

I want to know: how difficult is it to know when a plane left a destination and when it is due to arrive in Manila? Do not tell me, two hours later, that the “turn-around flight was delayed.” Even more heinous, you check in a little late, and you are fined. Do you get the fine back if that flight is delayed? Take a good guess.

Anyway, we arrived safe and sound, but because of the delay, could not find a place open to serve dinner. (Unlike PAL, that immediately arranges a little snack when the plane is delayed during breakfast, lunch or dinner times).

I could not believe it when, on our journey back, we bumped into Raul Manzano of Metro Society who was forced to pay for a coaster for his crew and who was forced to travel FIVE hours from Caticlan to Iloilo as Cebu Pacific was not going to fly them out of Caticlan that day. Sigh…. I bet you have worse stories.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:01 AM   #130
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PAL provides a new edge when traveling on Mabuhay Class

Philippine Airlines is now offering a new flying thrill for its Mabuhay Class passengers travelling on long-haul flights. Aside from the world-class in-flight products, personalized “One-by-One” Service, and luxurious amenity kits, a new Preferred Seat Program is now available.

The Preferred Seat Program entitles Mabuhay Class passengers holding premium tickets (“J” or “C” booking classes) to the forward cabin seats of PAL’s tri-class-configured aircraft on selected long haul flights. The forward cabin used to be the First Class compartment. The seats in this section provides more spacious legroom and generous recline. They are styled for comfort, engineered for relaxation, and designed to rest your body during long flights.

Choose Your Seat!

Mabuhay Class passengers holding “J” or “C” booking class tickets are entitled to be seated in the forward cabin of tri-class-configured aircraft (Airbus A340s and selected Boeing B747s) for flights between Manila and the following destinations: Honolulu, Vancouver, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Advanced Seat Reservations may be availed at point of purchase in any PAL Ticket Office or by calling PAL Reservations Office.

Mabuhay Class passengers holding “D” and “I” booking class tickets may also request for the forward cabin seats at point of check-in based on a “First Come, First Served” basis and subject to seat availability. For “I” booking class ticket-holders travelling between Manila and Honolulu, Vancouver and Las Vegas, a USD150.00 fee per one-way will apply. Mabuhay Miles members may use their Upgrade Travel Certificate in lieu of the USD150.00 fee.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #131
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PAL Express




PAL Express (short for Philippine Airlines Express) is the low-cost regional airline brand of Philippine Airlines. PAL Express operates from Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu City, with smaller operations from PAL's main hub in Manila, flying primarily intra-regional routes in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as secondary routes to smaller airports in island provinces that are not able to accommodate mainline PAL jet aircraft.

History

On April 10, 2008, Philippine Airlines announced the order for aircraft that will form the PAL Express fleet. It will consist of aircraft from the Bombardier Q family, three from the Q300 series and six from the Q400 series, presently manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace and currently valued at $150 million. PAL announced on April 13 that the new fleet will be based mainly in Cebu City to serve regional routes, while flights from Manila will also be launched.

PAL Express was formally unveiled on April 14, 2008. PAL Express will primarily fly intra-regional routes in the Visayas and Mindanao from its Cebu hub, as well as secondary routes to smaller airports in island provinces that are not able to accommodate PAL’s regular jet aircraft. Service will ramp up dramatically on May 19, when Cebu hub operations commence with flights between Cebu City and five points in the Visayas and Mindanao.

On May 5, 2008, PAL Express began operations by launching flights to Malay. The airline on the same day announced it will serve 22 inter-island routes, including some provincial points currently without air service. Flights out of Cebu City commenced on May 19.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #132
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Due to H1N1 flu PAL Waives Penalties

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is waiving the rebooking and refund penalties for passengers who are apprehensive to travel due to the influenza A - H1N1 (swine flu).

PAL will rebook flights or refund tickets without penalties on international sectors only and within the ticket validity period if presented before 31 May 2009. Such waivers may also be applied to domestic tickets provided these were issued in conjunction with an international flight. Low-priced tickets purchased under PAL's recent Real Deal promo are excluded from the penalty waiver. However, other charges such as non user’s or “no-show” fee will apply.

Passengers may call PAL Reservations – 855-8888 or 855-7888 – for rebooking and other queries.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:06 AM   #133
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PAL on full alert vs. swine flu

Philippine Airlines is taking all necessary measures to avoid the entry of the swine flu into the country by extending full cooperation with the local health and airport authorities in the U.S and other affected countries. This is to prevent the boarding on any PAL flight of any passenger suspected of being a carrier.

PAL staff in Manila and at all international stations are under strict instructions to be extra vigilant in denying the boarding of any passenger displaying high fever and other symptoms of the swine flu.

PAL will also implement the necessary quarantine procedures should a passenger manifest any symptoms of the flu onboard.

Other measures previously implemented by PAL during the last SARS scare are being revived on all inbound and outbound flights to/from Manila.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:59 PM   #134
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Trivia

About Philippine Airlines

PAL is the first commercial airline in Asia and the oldest of those currently in operations, with a long and distinguished history spanning over sixty years. Out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu City, Philippine Airlines serves eighteen destinations in the Philippines and twenty-six destinations in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia, Canada and the United States. Philippine Airlines is owned by PAL Holdings, which is responsible for the airline's operations. PAL Holdings is in turn part of a group of companies owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan.

For more information on PAL, please visit www.philippineairlines.com.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 12:05 AM   #135
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PAL inks marketing deal with Travelport



Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Travelport, one of the world’s largest travel conglomerates, signed a three-year global-marketing agreement that enables Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan connected travel agents to access automated market fares and take advantage of additional functionality until the end of 2011.

The Travelport deal includes two strategic solutions for PAL’s customers with the implementation of Octopus Travel hotel content on the PAL website and the use of Travelport Rapid Reprice, an automated ticket-repricing product.

Octopus Travel, Travelport’s innovative online travel company, provides hotel content on PAL’s web site (http://www.philippineairlines.com/hotels), giving customers’ access to more than 21,000 hotels in 129 countries. The expanded hotel offering provides customers with a wide mix of lodgings at affordable prices ranging from one to five star hotels, international chains to small boutique hotels. Customers can also compare prices, view hotel locations and evaluate hotel amenities.

PAL also becomes the first Asian carrier to implement Travelport Rapid Reprice, which enables PAL to recalculate a ticket reflecting the appropriate taxes, additional collections, refunds, penalties or administrative fees. The automated product minimizes revenue leakage from miscalculated collections and fees that remain inherent in a manual repricing process.

It also virtually eliminates debit memos due to superior data integrity and repricing accuracy. The solution facilitates repricing of tickets irrespective of the booking system that the ticket was issued on.

“We are glad to work with Travelport in offering new cutting-edge, automated services to our customers. It enhances the features of our website through Octopus Travel as well as the convenience of an automated re-pricing tool and refund for our sales offices through Rapid Reprice,” said Enrique Javier, PAL for sales.

“This partnership with Travelport gives our customers a wider choice of hotels while browsing PAL’s web site [Octopus trave], over and above the accommodations included in PAL’s tour packages [PALakbayan and Swingaround],” he added.

Brad Holman, President and managing director of Travelport GDS-Asia Pacific said, “We are celebrating three ‘firsts’ in the Philippines today. This signing represents the first marketing agreement between PAL and Travelport. It also marks Rapid Reprice’s first airline customer in Asia, as well as PAL’s expanded hotel choice for customers with its tie-up with Octopus Travel.”

“Travelport works closely with our airline partners to provide them with products that help them stay ahead of the competition, improve the overall customer experience, grow revenue while also keeping costs as pared down as possible. Airline ticket reissue headaches can be a thing of the past with Rapid Reprice. The product dramatically reduces the number of key strokes involved in repricing a ticket from around 500 strokes to less than 10, thus improving the airline’s productivity, efficiency and accuracy,” Holman added.

Travelport’s Rapid Reprice™ is used by airlines to automate the complex, time-consuming itinerary repricing function. Rapid Reprice automatically integrates fare and rule categories from SITA and Airline Tariff Publishing Co. (ATPCO) including voluntary changes, net fares, private fares and fare-by-rule.

Travelport Rapid Reprice has been delivering financial rewards to some of the world’s largest carriers including United Airlines, Delta and Emirates. The product was first launched in 1999 via the Worldspan GDS platform and more than 27 million transactions were processed using Travelport Rapid Reprice last year.

More than 100 million fully automated transactions have been processed since launch, demonstrating the product’s unique functionality and scalability.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 12:09 AM   #136
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PAL keeps its fingers crossed



UNDERSTANDABLY, Philippine Airlines (PAL) president Jaime Bautista is hoping that the US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) will lift its “cut 2” downgrade of Philippine airports by the fourth quarter of this year.

You see, PAL will take delivery of the first of six 777s in November.

Here’s the problem: unless the FAA downgrade is lifted, PAL will not be able to use its new plane for its transpacific flights (read: it will just be parked in the hanger and not earning its keep). Instead, in keeping with the status quo, PAL will have to continue using its old 747s.

Then again, the last time the FAA downgraded the Philippines in 1995, it only took two years to, uhm, fix the problems cited by FAA. The current downgrade was made in 2007 or two years ago.

****

Did you know 1: Three, not two, international airports have been approved so far this year. There’s, of course, the one intended to service the Mindanao corridor. And then, there are two which hope to make it easier for tourists to visit Palawan (through San Vicente) and Bohol (through Panglao).

****

Did you know 2: The Department of Finance (DOF) still doesn’t own the building where Finance Secretary Margarito Teves holds office. You see, there are still some glitches preventing the transfer of title to the national government.

As everybody knows, the DOF building inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) compound was part of an asset swap arranged by then Finance Secretary Ernest Leung when the BSP needed money from the national government.

****

Did you know 3: With 80 branches, the country’s biggest rural bank is bigger than many savings banks. It’s much the same situation that Planters Development Bank (PDB) finds itself in, since PDB is big enough to compete as a middle-sized commercial bank but has chosen not to do so.

Interestingly, the branch network of the country’s biggest rural bank is mostly in Mindanao although it is based in Makati. Then again, until the 1960s, Makati was considered the boondocks.

****

UNDERSTANDABLY, the increasingly reclusive former senator and former Health Secretary Juan Flavier showed up at on Friday’s get-together of the First Gentleman Foundation project, “Bagong Doctor Para sa Bayan.”

Flavier, who started the Doctors to the Barrios program (why, he even wrote a book about his experiences) 15 years ago, currently spends most of his time being yayo to his grandchildren. Being a diabetic, his health hasn’t been too good lately and his eyesight is terrible.

The First Gentleman Foundation project initially wanted to grant scholarships to 60 students in their last two years of medical school. The number of scholars corresponded with the First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo’s 60th birthday in 2006.

Well, it turned out that finding 60 qualified students willing to commit to spending two years after graduation in the barrios was more difficult than anybody expected. That first year, the foundation granted only 20 scholarships. Batch 2 had 20; and batch 3 had 22 (read: that was the year Arroyo turned 62 years old). This year, the last batch number is 38—making for a total of 100 scholars, with each scholarship valued at P400,000.

Oh yes, this year, the foundation widened its search to include Western State Visayas University. The search was originally limited to the University of Manila-Manila and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 09:56 AM   #137
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Philippine Airlines adds mobile offering

Philippine Airlines flight schedules, promo fares, advisories, products and services, including mileage points earned by Mabuhay Miles members, can now be conveniently accessed through WAP-enabled cellphones as an alternative means of retrieving information posted on the PAL website.

The PAL mobile service can be accessed by holders of WAP-enabled mobile handsets by logging on to philippineairlines.mobi

The PAL Mobile Service includes such information as actual flight status, travel advisories, promo fares (buy one-take one, discount privileges, etc.), Econolight and PAL Express fares and schedules, excess baggage rates, balance check on mileage points earned for Mabuhay Miles members, and other PAL products and services.

Flight bookings/reservations still have to be completed by calling the PAL Reservations (855-8888) or visiting any PAL ticket office.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #138
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Why is the Philippines poor?
Written by Free Enterprise / Zoilo ‘Bingo’ Dejaresco III

THE proud claim of Philippine Airlines of being Asia’s first airline is not an empty boast. For, after all, it was just a few decades ago when the Philippines was the second-biggest economic might after colossus Japan. What has happened since then?

Today, the Philippines is almost the basket case of Asia, with war-torn Vietnam eclipsing our growth rate, and we are now in the league of Bangladesh. It is a source of monumental sadness.

Given our +2-percent population annual growth, it was the Arroyo government that frankly said that only after a seven-percent GDP growth rate for 7 consecutive years will the Filipinos feel economic relief.

But the Philippine economy grew past 7 percent only once during GMA’s long term (2001-2008)—in an election year yet—in 2007,when it posted a 7.3-percent growth rate.

Why indeed has the country remained poor? This is what we found out from sources.

The age of the country does not determine whether a nation become rich or poor, it would seem. For instance, Egypt and India are more than 2,000 years old but are still considered poor, based on per-capita income.

On the other hand, countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand were unimpressive back 150 years ago. Today, they are rich and well-developed nations.

The availability of rich, natural resources is not a determinant, either. Japan, for instance, has a limited territory—80 percent of it is considered mountainous and even unfit for agriculture. Yet, today, despite being destroyed in World War II, it is one of the four major economic powers in the world alongside the US, India and China.

Japan, it is said, is considered a “floating factory importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting them as finished products,” with profits retained at the Land of the Rising Sun.

Singapore is also a tiny island whose economy is rich enough to lend billions to the US. Another example is Switzerland, a nation that does not plant cocoa but produces the best chocolates in the world. It is a small country but transmits an image of security, peace and order, and is among the strongest havens for financial security in the so-called Swiss banks. New Zealand is a tiny island that produces world-class dairy products.

Meantime, in comparing the communication and business skills between the executives of the rich countries and the poor ones, researches found that there are no marked differences. Race and skin is also not important—for how can a colored Kenyan-American named Barack Obama be elected president of the most powerful nation in the world?

Looking at the behavior of people and government in the successful countries, we noticed a certain preponderance of attitudes and culture that could explain some of the puzzles we posed.

Ethics and integrity are cherished benchmarks that everyone respects. Public officials suspected or convicted of graft resign or commit suicide in remorse. In the Philippines, corruption is a way of life, justified by words like S.O.P., et al. Projects have project tongpats ranging between 20 percent to 50 percent on average.

In rich nations, people are largely responsible, governed by mottos such as “Duty first before pleasure.” They have respect for law (and order) because they know they will be implemented.

In our country, the police and the Judiciary do not ensure a level playing field but are instead becoming instruments of making a mockery of justice by bribe-taking and coercion.

In other nations, they are work-loving with strong work ethics, while many Filipinos rely on extended families and a rich habitat where one can fish in rivers and the sea to survive. No ambition is forged, except for daily survival.

Perhaps the problem is really attitudinal—because in many countries, the most dedicated, skilled and hard-working people are our overseas Filipino workers, many of them would rather loaf around if they had stayed in the country.

In other countries, their citizens strive to save for investments, but Filipinos have been brainwashed (by advertising) to be profligate-spending consumers, but will blow out six months of savings to have a grandiose fiesta to show off. The fiesta mentality, you know.

There, they have willpower to do action while many Filipinos daydream and procrastinate as they contemplate their navels over tuba, the Philippine Basketball Association and Manny Pacman.

Punctuality there is observed like it is one of the Ten Commandments, whereas this country has been infamous for our “Filipino time.” There is no sense of urgency, in anything, it seems.

The bahala na and fatalistic attitude also pervade, like leaving one’s fortune and the entire future entirely in the hands of God, psychics, feng shui and superstition, without helping themselves. That is tragic.

Would we alter the course of the nation by changing our attitude and behavior. Can we be the change we want to see? How about it, Juan de la Cruz?

****

Free Enterprise is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, appearing every Wednesday and Friday.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 05:34 AM   #139
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sad...but i agree on this...
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #140
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Sad indeed, but we need to do something....

Hope that the future generation of Filipinos will learn and change.

I think this is an OT.
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