Friday, October 31, 2008

Clark biggest winner in air talks with KL

CLARK FREE PORT, Pampanga—Clark emerges the biggest gainer in the recently concluded Philippines-Malaysia air talks here after the agreement to granted Clark 9,000 seats per week, the biggest seat entitlement secured by the Philippine air panel in the round of air talks held this year.
“We are happy with the outcome of the air talks. This is good news for the overseas Filipino workers in Malaysia as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport [DMIA] was granted the equivalent of seven additional flights per day,” said Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) CEO Victor Jose Luciano.
He added that passenger use of the DMIA is expected to grow next year with the entry of more international and local flights that will contribute to the development of the Clark airport.
Under the agreement, Clark also gets a minimum of 700 tons per week of cargo. In contrast, Manila gets 250 tons of cargo per week from points in Malaysia, while other points in the Philippines, except for Clark and Manila, have been given 450 tons per week.
The agreement also granted 2,300 seat entitlements to Manila from any point in Malaysia, except for Kuala Lumpur, and 2,000 seat entitlements to any point in Malaysia, except for Manila and Clark.
The agreement was signed by the air panels at the Mimosa Leisure Estate. The last memorandum of understanding between the countries was signed in 1995.
Transportation Undersecretary Doroteo Reyes II, chairman of the Philippine panel, said the negotiations were very smooth since both panels “were able to concur at a common point from which our civil aviation will really develop and grow.”
Reyes said the Philippine focus in the air negotiations is for Clark to be developed as the next premier international airport as envisioned by President Arroyo. “We can no longer accommodate more flights in Manila as it has reached its capacity and we must consider the safety and security of our passengers. Clark is the next premier international gateway of the Philippines.”
Luciano commended the Philippine Air Panel, chaired by Reyes, for successfully securing entitlements for Clark at the two-day bilateral air talks. Luciano, along with CIAC executive vice president and chief operating officer Alexander Cauguiran, are members of the RP air panel.
Malaysian Ministry of Transport deputy secretary-general for planning Dato Long See Wool headed the Malaysian panel, assisted by Assistant Secretary for Air Transport Rosida Ismail, Hanniza Borhan and En Mustaffa Kamal of Malaysian Airlines, Senthil Balan Danapalan of Air Asia X, Transmile Airline business planning head Patricia Oh Yin Bee and Embassy Second Secretary Intan Zurina Dollah.
Budget carrier Air Asia is the only Malaysian airline that operates at the DMIA at present with two international flights daily to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
The DMIA also hosts air carriers Tiger Airways of Singapore, Asiana Airlines of Korea, and local carriers Southeast Asian Airlines (Seair) and Cebu Pacific Air.
Cebu Pacific will start four new flights from Clark on November 8 so that it would then be flying daily to Singapore and Hong Kong, and four times a week to Macau and Bangkok.
Local carriers Seair, Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit) and Air Philippines are scheduled to start international flights at the airport before the year-end.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

PAL Pilot may have suffered a Stroke in flight ..

For all you MPL Students, he is a good reason why you need all this training ...

The pilot of a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila with 79 passengers, including Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, on board apparently suffered a mild stroke 37 miles from the Bacolod-Silay Airport prompting his co-pilot to take over and safely land the plane late yesterday afternoon, airport manager Antonio Alfonso said.
The co-pilot called in to inform authorities of the situation and to have an ambulance ready, Alfonso said.
There was no emergency situation as far as flying the Airbus 320 was concerned, no one was injured, and the co-pilot landed Flight 135 at 5:37 p.m., Alfonso said.
The pilot was Capt. Alex Carvajal and the co-pilot was First Officer Donato Cabigo Jr. who is from Murcia town in Negros Occidental, he added.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will investigate the incident, Alfonso said.
Leonardia, who went to Manila to meet with Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, said their plane left Manila at 4:35 p.m. and they did not notice anything amiss except for slight turbulence amid cloudy weather.
He only discovered that the pilot had a stroke when the plane had landed, the mayor said.
Alfonso said PAL was flying in a replacement pilot to fly the plane back to Manila.
Job Lamela, PAL Bacolod manager, said Carvajal did not pass out and was in fact speaking while undergoing treatment at a Bacolod hospital.
“We don’t know yet if you can call what happened a stroke,” he said.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sim Center CAE in KL

A Good Friend of mine works at the CAE Sim Center in KL. Lots of new toys to play with ..

New Airline Starts up in Clark - "Spirit of Manila"

THE Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Taiwan has recognized new carrier Spirit of Manila Airlines (SMA) as the Philippine official carrier to operate international passenger services between the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga and Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) announced.
This is after the Civil Aeronautics Board granted to the SMA the right to operate passenger services at 450 seats per week between the DMIA Clark and Taiwan.
The 450-seat allocation is the maximum seats allowed pursuant to Category II of the Amendment to the Agreement on the Exchange of Traffic Rights between Meco and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) signed on March 10, 2006.
Lee Long-Wen, director general of Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration, which operates under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said since the capacity of Category II has been fully allocated to SMA, then they would recognize the carrier as the only airline of this category.
“Any additional airlines’ operation shall be subject to future consultations between Meco and Teco,” Lee said in a letter to Carmelo Arcilla, CAB executive director, dated October 17.
Lee was earlier informed by Arcilla of the CAB’s designation of SMA for the Category II slot.
Lee said Arcilla’s office should inform the airline company to apply for its operation permit according to the relevant regulations in Taiwan.
“We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Spirit of Manila Airlines to commence services to Taiwan,” said Lee.
Spirit of Manila is the country’s newest airline and operates out of a 10-hectare property at the DMIA in Clark.
The Spirit of Manila Airlines Corp. (Spirit of Manila) is the latest Filipino-owned airline company offering scheduled international passenger services from Manila to key Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
It plans to fly to Bahrain, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Johor Bahru, Kaohsiung, Macau, Osaka, Palau, Taipei, Mumbai, Karachi and the Gulf Region. The airline also offers budget fares and other affordable fare schemes to cater to the overseas Filipino workers market.
SMA acquired at DMIA a 10-hectare property to house its fleet of Boeing aircraft. Together with its technical and investment partners, the company will start soon the construction of large hangars for aircraft maintenance services to DMIA’s regional and international carriers, including the fabrication of airframe and component overhaul on some of the most widely used commercial aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region.
For its start-up operations, SMA will use its family fleet of Boeing 737/767-300ERs aircraft.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trainee pilots 'tried to cover up crash'

How could this happon? Where are the basic ethics, let alone disclipine and professionalism that should be instilled in every cadet from thebeginning.. This is shocking ... Let this be a lesson for all current and future trainee pilots, this is a serious business, not a "game"


Three trainee commercial pilots are under investigation for negligence which allegedly caused the death of their colleague whose light aircraft crashed in the jungles of Terengganu in August. Investigations conducted by the Department of Civil Aviation also revealed attempts by the trainee pilots to cover up events leading to the crash which claimed the life of 20-year-old Muhammad Ariff Ahmad Fuad.
It was revealed that Ariff and his pilot, who were in one aircraft, were involved in a game with a second aircraft which broke all training rules. Both aircraft were Diamond Star DA40 light aircraft.
The two aircraft took off from Sultan Mahmud Airport in Terengganu for "instrument training" but soon after being airborne, took to games in the sky.
The training required both aircraft to cruise at a high altitude but this was allegedly not adhered to.
What was more shocking was that soon after the crash, the second aircraft returned to base and the trainee pilots went missing for three days.
It was only after investigators discovered that there were two aircraft involved in the training did the pilot and the co-pilot of the second aircraft surface to tell what had happened.
Ariff's pilot, who was injured in that incident, was also questioned at length and it is now learnt that the three trainees have been suspended.
A source revealed that instead of helping out in the investigations, the two pilots in the second aircraft went missing for three days.
"Investigations showed that not only were both planes flying very low but also the pilots were believed to have been engaged in some game," said the source.
"It was during one of their manoeuvres that the plane in front crashed into the jungle below.
"The pilots in the second aircraft witnessed the crash but it took them a few days to reveal what happened," he told the New Straits Times.
It is understood that all the trainee pilots would be dealt with under the regulations of the Department of Civil Aviation.
The source did not discount the possibility that the trainee pilots could also face criminal action as their negligence had led to the loss of a life.
The four trainee pilots are believed to be students of a Langkawi-based flying school. Ariff's plane went off the radar shortly after taking off at 4.40pm on Aug 20.
The wreckage was found about 8km from Bukit Bidong Darat, near Setiu.
Ariff, who was pinned to his seat, was believed to have been killed on impact. The pilot Mohd Farid Abdullah, 21, who suffered serious injuries, survived 14 hours of agony before being found near the wreckage the next morning. He had managed to crawl eight metres away from the wreckage.
Rescuers sought help from residents of Rhu Tapai, a residential area for the hardcore poor, about four kilometres away, to locate the crash scene. The residents had earlier informed the rescuers that they saw a low-flying aircraft in the area.
The principal of the flying school refused to comment when asked if the trainee pilots had been suspended.

By Farrah Naz Karim 2008/10/23

Upgrade of Philippine airports’ rating seen in 2009

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines may have to wait until next year to free itself of the stigma of noncompliance with global standards in air safety.
Nine months after the US Federal Aviation Administration rated the country’s air safety system below international standards, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)—formerly the Air Transportation Office (ATO)—has yet to complete the FAA’s safety compliance checklist to qualify for an upgrade.
Under its International Aviation Safety Assessment program, the FAA downgraded the Philippines from a Category 1 to a Category 2 country in its rigid
pass-fail scale because of air safety regulations, practices and personnel that fell below the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Philippines could only return to Category 1 by passing an FAA re-audit.
“It’s going to be a long and hard process,” CAAP director general Ruben Ciron told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview last month.
“We still have many problems because we are in transition, but there are many organizations who are helping,” Ciron said.
“We are hoping that by July 2009, we [will] have been upgraded again to Category 1. The last time we were downgraded, it took two years for us to be upgraded again.”
Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza recently told Senate reporters that the country had already “substantially complied” with FAA recommendations and that an upgrade may be expected by early next year.
Asked how much of the requirements the CAAP had completed, Ciron said this week that the agency was still “recomputing” its compliance performance.
Not yet ready
Ciron said in the September interview that the CAAP had already “completed about 40 percent to 50 percent because we have already passed the law and we are already staffing the new CAAP.”
Philippine aviation was supposed to undergo a separate and more thorough audit by the ICAO in November, but Ciron asked for a reschedule.
The ICAO audit seeks to check the country’s compliance with global standards in safety, airport quality and navigational equipment, among others, according to Ciron.
“We said we are not yet ready because CAAP is still in transition, so the next ICAO audit will be in October 2009,” he said.
New aviation law
In January, the FAA reverted the Philippines to its 1995 air safety rating of Category 2, placing the country alongside Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Nauru, Ukraine and Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia).
The downgrade spurred stringent inspection of the US operations of locally licensed Philippine Airlines (PAL) and barred the flag carrier from expanding its operations in American states and territories.
The CAAP, now a fiscally independent agency that will govern the Philippine civil aviation industry, sprang from the new civil aviation law upgrading the ATO.
Long overlooked, the CAAP bill was signed into law in March following quick congressional action that started after the FAA downgrade.
Backward practices
The FAA had cited the country’s 1952 aviation law as the root of backward aviation practices, particularly regulations that cover crucial oversight functions, such as airworthiness, aircraft and pilot inspections.
The new law still has to be fully implemented and the CAAP has yet to fulfill technical requirements in areas where the FAA found it remiss, a source privy to the compliance process told the Inquirer.
Besides the creation of the CAAP, the aviation veteran said many of the FAA requirements were still on the to-do list.
“They are doing it little by little. We don’t understand anymore if they want an upgrade or they want to remain in Category 2 forever,” the source said in an irked tone.
Lack of manpower
He said the critical areas of compliance, such as practices and personnel qualification for pilot licensing, airworthiness certification and aircraft and pilot inspection had yet to be achieved. Still problematic are the CAAP’s record-keeping, particularly documentation of oversight processes and plane and pilot records.
In the source’s words, ICAO consultants working with the CAAP for months have become “very, very frustrated” with how the country’s officials have been handling the problem.
The source said CAAP people had been dismissive of ICAO recommendations and questioned the United Nations agency’s authority to propose ways on how the agency might overcome the downgrade.
In response, Ciron said in the September interview: “We consider their suggestions but it’s taking time because we have yet to finish manning CAAP. We are still short in people. We can’t rush this.”
Such exasperation was apparent in comments that James Hooker, former chief of the ICAO flight safety consultancy panel for the Philippines, wrote in a document dated April 8, 2008.
Foreign assistance
Referring to the CAAP’s inspectorate branch, the heart of the agency’s safety oversight system, Hooker said: “It makes no sense at all to this writer to have hiring standards lower than what would be required for one to be a qualified inspector ... This is an across-the-board statement that encompasses all of the flight operations inspectorate.”
Ciron said the agency was already recruiting qualified personnel, among them former airline pilots who would only need refreshers to get back in working condition.
He said the CAAP had been working closely with the FAA to satisfy conditions for an upgrade. Aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus have also pledged to give technical assistance to pull up the country’s air safety rating.
“In sum, foreign and local groups are assisting in [our bid for a] Category 1 upgrade. ICAO foreign technical consultants are with us now. FAA offered to train our team for a week in Washington ... With these we hope to attain upgrade in less than a year,” Ciron said.
On Sept. 13, the CAAP sent a five-man team to the FAA headquarters in Washington DC for an orientation on Category 1 standards, Ciron said. The team was tasked to guide their CAAP colleagues into complying with the FAA Category 1 checklist.
“When we are ready, we will request FAA to send a technical team to check our preparation. Then FAA will re-audit,” Ciron said.

By Tarra Quismundo
First Posted 03:32:00 10/22/2008

Checking RP pilots: ‘Comedy of errors’

MANILA, Philippines—An amateur driver appraising the chops of a veteran chauffeur, or perhaps a weekend rower rating the skills of a ship captain.
When the country’s fliers unwind, talk is rife about the “comedy of errors” that is the country’s pilot inspection and licensing system, one that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found flawed along with other air safety requirements the country flunked during an American audit last year.
“Imagine, a helicopter pilot checking a (Boeing) 747 pilot?” said an aviation insider privy to pilot check practices by government flight inspectors.
“All the flying experience they have is ‘bunk’ flying. They fly in their dreams,” another sky veteran said before breaking into laughter.
Nine months since falling into Category 2 under FAA’s two-grade safety rating scale, seven of eight check pilots of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) failed the very same test they were supposed to administer, aviation sources told the Inquirer in interviews last month.
Pressed to win an FAA upgrade following a presidential directive, the CAAP sent eight longtime officials to Korea and Hong Kong in July for certification using Airbus widebody simulators, sources privy to the compliance process told the Inquirer.
The FAA had found in its audit that the government check pilots—those tasked to assess the skills of already qualified airline fliers—lacked simulation training and thus questioned their qualifications to conduct the pilot inspection.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires check pilots to have 5,000 flying hours as pilot-in-command of civilian or military aircraft, roughly 10 years worth of flight as captain. They must also know how to fly the type of aircraft to be used in a particular check ride and be familiar with the flight route they are inspecting.
The CAAP’s check pilots are, however, mostly rated to fly light planes and helicopters, not today’s jets of high-tech avionics, the sources said. In their view, no more than weekend pilots of single-engine propeller planes checked the skills of airline-certified pilots of wide bodies and jumbo jets.
“They are pilots of light planes or washouts of the Air Force who couldn’t make the grade in airlines,” the source said, adding that the government could not attract qualified pilots into its plantilla as it offered much lower pay than commercial service.Odd man out
Documents obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed that one of the check pilots had zero skill in flying the Airbus A-340, a single-aisle widebody used in long-range flights.
The proficiency test report graded the check pilots’ skills in preflight procedure, takeoff and approach, in-flight skills (climbing, cruising and navigation) and emergency procedures.
“Candidate was not ready for the evaluation check. Maneuvers and procedures below standard,” said the longtime airline pilot who assessed the CAAP check pilot.
Another flunker succeeded only in the preflight steps; the simulated takeoff, climb, approach and emergency flight procedure were all problematic.
The odd one out, the check pilot who passed, was given a “standard” or passing rate during the Airbus A-320 simulation. His checker however noted, among other shortcomings, his “unstabilized approach.”
‘They got personal’
CAAP Deputy Director General Daniel Dimagiba, the official in charge of the agency at the time of the downgrade, confirmed that seven of eight check pilots indeed failed their July test rides.
“We admit that of the eight, there were seven check pilots who were not qualified. But there were some who were given a hard time by the pilots who checked them ... These airline pilots got back at them because of their experience when our check pilots assessed them,” Dimagiba said.
While the tests heavily depended on rig-proof simulators, Dimagiba said the checkers “got personal” with CAAP check pilots.
Dimagiba, however, conceded that the CAAP’s check pilots were proficient only in flying single-engines and propeller planes.
CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron had different figures. Ciron told the Inquirer that 12 check pilots underwent retraining and seven passed their tests.
“The rest (five others) are in various phases of retraining,” Ciron said.
“We have also recruited five widebody Airbus and Boeing check pilots who don’t need anymore training, just recurrency. And more of them have signified [their intention] to join us because of increased pay under a corporate entity, [that is the] CAAP.”
Retired pilots aboard
Dimagiba called this “Plan B,” the CAAP’s way of reaching the standards, for lack of qualified personnel.
He said retired airline pilots, aged 55 to 60 with around “10,000 flying hours of experience,” had come aboard the agency as check pilots “who will make the FAA type-rating.”
With the virtual lack of check pilots, airline check pilots have been deputized to do the job for the CAAP, Dimagiba said.
“For instance, the Boeing 747 pilot of this airline will check the pilot of the same airline graduating from a widebody to a jumbo jet. That is allowed until the CAAP meets the rating,” Dimagiba said in an interview in September.
But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of check and balance? Dimagiba answered: “No, because airlines have very strict policies in checking their pilots. They can’t cheat.”
The ICAO Philippine consultancy project also noted the CAAP’s below-par pilot check system in a document laying down its recommendations for the upgrade of CAAP’s Flight Standards Inspectorate Service (FSIS), the office concerned with pilot inspection and licensing.
“The current standards for ‘check pilot’ in ATO (the former Air Transportation Office, which is now the CAAP) do not comply with the minimum qualifications and experience required to be hired for a position as a flight operations inspector for small or large aircraft,” ICAO flight safety consultant James Hooker said in a document dated April 8 of this year.
Light planes to jumbos
Hooker noted that the CAAP lacked the means for its check pilots to graduate from flying light planes to jumbo jets, as required by the ICAO.
“There is no reasonable method available where a ‘general aviation inspector’ could gain the experience needed to move from ‘little aircraft’ to the large turbo jet aircraft,” Hooker said.
In an apparent reference to the CAAP’s roster of pilot inspectors, Hooker said that “a check pilot holding only a commercial pilot license cannot perform a certification function on an airline transport pilot license holder for a proficiency check.”
The document also noted the questionable aircraft type ratings—the qualification to fly particular types of planes—of the CAAP’s check pilots that FAA inspectors found during its audit.
The US auditors were given presentations showing that the then ATO’s check pilots “had ‘type ratings’ in several or many aircraft,” according to Hooker.
But he said: “These type ratings could not be supported by an examination of the records of the FAA that resulted in [its] comments concerning a lack of technically qualified personnel.”
Hooker added: “These ‘type ratings’ were based on a false belief that one only had to have computer-based instruction to become ‘type rated’. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

By Tarra Quismundo
First Posted 06:01:00 10/24/2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

RP air traffic controllers’ woes - Overworked, underpaid

MANILA, Philippines—Working 16-hour days has become routine for air traffic controller Marlene Singson, as ordinary as squeezing in up to 54 takeoffs and departures in an hour at the crowded Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“That means we break some rules every now and then, but we make sure that we comply with the minimum safety requirement,” Singson said.The Manila Control Tower’s overworked cast of air traffic controllers continues to cope with the daunting task of operating below safety margins, grappling with a busy airspace despite unpaid overtime, understaffing and old equipment.
Tasked to guide planes for safe landings and takeoffs, air traffic controllers at the country’s main international hub say they have yet to see changes promised by the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Established to supplant the outdated ways of the Air Transportation Office (ATO), the CAAP has been touted as the country’s hope to redeem its standing in the eyes of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which flunked the Philippines in January for substandard air safety practices.
But reality has not changed for the air traffic controllers despite the new authority, and an average day still involves too few controllers handling too many flights.
“The CAAP without expert leaders is still a dismal failure,” said Nickson Morada, chair of the Philippine Air Traffic Controllers Association.
Heavier traffic looms
“It failed on meeting its underlying objective to sustain our air traffic controllers through competitive salaries. Safety is still at risk due to the same problem of equipment, procedures, training and lack of qualified personnel,” Morada told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of international standards require seven controllers to handle the average 45 to 50 flights per hour, the Manila tower is still understaffed, with mostly six—at times even four—controllers manning a given shift, sources from the tower said. They asked not to be identified, saying they had no authority to talk of sensitive information.
It was one in a long list of findings the FAA released in January when it decided to rate the country below accepted safety standards in civil aviation. FAA inspectors visited the tower in 2007 as part of its audit at the then ATO.“We need at least five more people to comply with the requirement ... Now, especially with the peak season approaching, we are bracing ourselves for heavier traffic,” said one of the air traffic controllers.
What should be a matter of clockwork efficiency has become a matter of talent and experience for the controllers, who have become accustomed to ways of cramming flights up to twice the number that should be cleared for landings or takeoffs under the safety rules.
The Manila airport’s single international runway should be handling at most a total of 30 flights per hour if the two-minute aircraft spacing rule is to be followed, the controllers said. But traffic reaches even up to 65 at holiday peak hours.
Unpaid overtime work
“We have all developed our own timing. We can even space planes by 15 seconds, around 1 kilometer apart in the runway, if we feel confident that we can do that safely,” said another air traffic controller.
Much of the air traffic controllers’ overtime work has yet to be paid and a promised salary increase has yet to be given, the controllers said. Low pay has been the chief reason for quick personnel turnover at the tower, and it has become almost seasonal for controllers to lose a colleague to better paying jobs.
CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron said the agency had been working to fully implement the law and allow benefits to trickle down to workers.
“We will increase their [technical personnel] pay so they won’t have to leave,” Ciron said, as he admitted the heavy task at hand.
A recent survey by the Department of Labor and Employment listed air traffic controllers as among the hardest to fill occupations in the country, along with highly technical jobs such as pilots and navigational engineers

By Tarra Quismundo
First Posted 05:46:00 10/23/2008

More flights out of Clark approved by the Philippine CAB

THE Civil Aviation Board (CAB) has approved the applications of local airlines to mount more international and domestic flights out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at Clark Field, Pampanga.
Seair was granted 1,260 seats, the equivalent of daily flights, to service the Clark-Hong Kong route. The CAB further allocated 2,520 seats to Seair to mount flights to Macau from Clark. The seats are equivalent to two flights daily.
Seair will also fly to Thailand out of DMIA. It was awarded 1,260 seats, the equivalent of four daily flights to Bangkok.
Seair told the CAB that it has plans to service Palawan and Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei and another new route from Zamboanga to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
Zest Air, formerly Asian Spirit, was granted 1,260 seats to service Clark-Hong Kong; 2,520 seats for Clark-Macau and Clark-Thailand with 1,260 seats.
Air Philippines also got two flights to Macau from Clark.
“The latest developments are a result of the success of the series of air consultation talks between the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau, which granted more air entitlements for Clark,” said Victor Jose Luciano, Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer.
“Clark will now be linked not only to Mindanao but also to Brunei and Malaysia.” CAB board member Rene Diaz said the Philippine air panel had successfully concluded air talks with Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau, Canada, Finland and Cambodia since the start of the year.
“This is very important because this dramatizes that the policy of President Arroyo of trying to offer more opportunities for the region to attract tourism, trade and investment are beginning to pay off,” Diaz said.
Diaz, at the same time, commended Transportation Undersecretary Doroteo Reyes II, head of the Philippine air panel, for having initiated the conduct and successfully concluding air-consultation talks with Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau, Canada, Finland and Cambodia, among others.
He pointed out that after securing entitlements, more flights could be expected at Clark in the coming months

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yao undertakes Zest Air refleeting plan

ZEST Airways Inc., formerly Asian Spirit, has taken delivery of five new aircraft as part of a refleeting program that aims to capture a 10-percent share of the low-cost air travel market.
Banker and juice magnate Alfredo Yao, who also owns Zest-O Corp. and Philippine Business Bank, told reporters the budget airline will also receive five more brand-new aircraft next year as the airline beefs up its fleet to become a significant player in industry.
“We are rationalizing the fleet. Five MA-60 aircraft were already delivered and two more Airbus jets are coming in next month,” said Yao. All seven aircraft came from Canada.
The Airbus A-320s are ideal for regional and high-traffic domestic destinations, while the five 60-seater turboprop MA-60s will be used for short distance flights.
Yao supposedly earmarked in excess of $200 million for the ambitious refleeting program.
By the end of the year, he said the carrier would have a fleet of 10 to 11 after his group disposed of the aircraft that used to be part of Asian Spirit’s fleet.
The airline has also been adding the number of frequencies to existing destinations as well as flying new routes in recent months as part of its expansion program.
“Hopefully, we can get a 10-percent market share after a year of operations,” said Yao, noting the changes in the airline industry.
He said destinations like Caticlan in Aklan used to be dominated by small carriers like Asian Spirit and SEAIR, but even Philippine Airlines is now flying to that destination.
The company is eyeing the usual regional destinations like Hong Kong after inaugural flights to Inchong, Korea, Sandakan, Malaysia, and Macau. It is also looking at flying new domestic routes like Busuanga in Palawan.

By Elaine R. Alanguilan

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Baby with Mt Pinatubu under the Cloud ...

My Baby with Mt Pinatubu under the Cloud ...

Elmo - I miss my Daddy ..

If you do not know Elmo, he is a cute little chap. I am baby sitting him for Rick, he just sits and stares whistfully out the window over "02" Omni waiting, waiting, waiting, .....

This has nothing to do with Philippine Aviation, but if you know an Aussie, read this ..

An Australian guy is travelling around the Greek Islands . He walks into a bar and, by chance, is served by an Australian barmaid. As she takes his order, a Foster's, she notices his accent.

Over the course of the evening they get chatting. At the end of her shift he asks if she wants to come back to his place. Although she is attracted to him she says no.

He then offers to pay her $200 to sleep with him. As she is travelling around the world, and is short of funds, she agrees. The next night the guy turns up again. Again he orders Fosters and after showing her plenty of attention, asks if she will sleep with him again for $200. She remembers the night before and is only too happy to agree.

This goes on for 5 nights. On the 6th night the guy comes in again, orders Fosters but goes and sits in the corner. The barmaid thinks that if she pays him more attention then, maybe she can shake some more cash out of him. So she goes over and sits next to him.

She asks him where he's from in Australia ..
' Melbourne ', he tells her.
'So am I. What suburb?' she enquires.
'Glen Iris' he replies.
'That's amazing,' she says excitedly, 'so am I - what street?'
' Cameo Street ' he replies.
'This is unbelievable.........' she says, her voice quavering; 'What number?'
'Number 20', he replies.
She is totally astonished. 'You are NOT going to believe this,' she screams, 'but I'm from number 22! My parents still live there!'
'I know...' he says, 'Your Dad gave me $1,000 to give to you'


Cebu Pacific in Clark ...

This sign is posted at the main gate of Clark Freeport Zone ...

Click on the image to see a larger version ..

Monday, October 20, 2008

Philippine CAAP Aerodrome Standards available for Download

The Philippine CAAP has made available a new set of standards for Aerodromes.

Download the Pdf here!

Philippine CAAP Approved CAR's available for Download

The approved CAR's from the Philippine CAAP (previously the ATO) dated 23rd June 2008 can be downloaded here:

Table of Contents
Part 1 - General Policies, Procedures and Definitions
Part 2 - Personnel Licensing
Part 3 - Approved Traininmg Organizations
Part 4 - Aircraft Registration and Marking
Part 5 - Airworthiness
Part 6 - Approved Maintenance Organization
Part 7 - Instruments and Equipment
Part 8 - Operations
Part 9 - Air Operator Certification and Administration
Part 10 - Commercial Air Transport By Foreign Air Carriers Within Republic Of The Philippines
Part 11 - Aerial Work Aand Operating Limitations For Non-Type Certificated Aircraft

We are still waiting on the implementation date ..

Friday, October 17, 2008

Guards caught stealing PAF fuel

A Lesson for us all ...

ROXAS CITY — The Air Transportation Office (ATO) in the city has ordered the relief of two security guards assigned at the Roxas City Airport Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after they admitted stealing a drum of aviation fuel from the stock of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) last June. ATO Roxas chief Cynthia Aspera said on Tuesday she asked the Eagle Metrix Security Agency based in Iloilo City to relieve security guards Rex Villanueva and Joenel Cabantug starting Oct. 16, 2008. Aspera said Villanueva and Cabantug both admitted that they siphoned last June 21, 2008 the fuel intended for the helicopters of the Philippine Air Force and sold it, saying that they needed the money for their families. The two, however, refused to disclose who bought the fuel from them. The Air Force delivered some 20 drums of fuel to the airport to be used by their helicopters in the relief operations in Capiz after the Typhoon Frank. The emptied drum was discovered only sometime in July by an Air Force personnel. Cabantug and Villanueva asked Aspera to give them another chance since they were willing to pay for the cost of the stolen fuel estimated at P15,000. But Aspera, a cousin of Villanueva, stood firm on her decision not to allow the two to work at the Roxas Airport again. Aspera said they would not file criminal charges against the two if they would pay for the cost of the fuel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joint RP-US military exercise starts at Clark

An estimated 4,000 Filipino and American soldiers will gather today at Clark Field in Pampanga for the opening ceremonies of the annual Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercises, a bilateral military training between the Philippines and the United States that will end on Oct. 27.
The two-week military exercises, officially called the Philippine-US Bilateral Exercises (Phiblex), are designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness, and continue professional relationships between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and US military, said 2Lt. Cherryl Pontillas, Phiblex spokesperson.
Pontillas said about 2,000 US Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and American sailors from the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group will join US Air Force pilots in ground, air, and naval integration trainings.
From the Philippine side, an estimated 2,000 soldiers from various AFP units will also participate in the military exercises that will be held simultaneously in military camps in Cavite, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and Pampanga.
"Aside from these exercises, the Philippine Marines together with other AFP units will join US military personnel in joint community relations activities," Pontillas said.
"Earlier this week, 14 Marine and Fleet Officers left for Okinawa, Japan to participate in training-related activities aboard the USS Essex on Oct. 9," the Phiblex spokesperson added.
Other activities lined up during the joint exercises include medical and dental missions, school construction, classroom repairs and painting, and community beautification projects in selected local communities in Northern Luzon, she said.
Meanwhile, Pontillas said small US boat units carrying Marines and sailors started conducting community relations projects after completing their amphibious landing exercises yesterday in Ternate, Cavite.
"These boat raid exercises form part of the civil military operations that will be conducted in Ternate, Cavite in which the local populace would benefit from the healthcare services and community relations projects," Pontillas said.
"Similarly, the said exercise improves the operational readiness and amphibious capabilities of the Philippine Marines and sailors and their US counterparts," she added.
The Philippines has been receiving a significant increase in US foreign assistance in the East Asia Pacific region, particularly in the field of military training and financial support, since 2001.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CAAP Stronger civil aviation rules issued

THE CIVIL Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Act, which are expected to help the Philippines regain its category 1 safety rating from the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
The law, which abolished the Air Transportation Office (ATO), is expected to help modernize the country’s civil aviation system to bring it up to par with international standards.
"All powers, duties and rights vested by law and exercised by the ATO is hereby transferred to the" CAA, section 59-C of the IRR read. The provision took effect last March.
Under the new law, the CAA will be an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers, and with corporate features.
The implementing rules come six months after the CAA law was signed by President Gloria M. Arroyo last March.
The US FAA last January downgraded the Philippines aviation status from Category 1 to Category 2 over concerns about the safety of the country’s airports and air carriers.
Under the category 2 rating, local carriers are barred from adding more routes to the US, even if these airlines are already flying to the US.
CAAP Director General Ruben F. Ciron was not available for comment as of late yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority Assistant General Manager of Airport Development Tirso G. Serrano said "definitely, the upgrade will be a shot in the arm." "If we get it [FAA upgrade] right away, the airlines will rejoice," he added. "[Airlines] have said this will improve their bookings."
Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s only carrier which flies to North America, said the upgrade will allow it to use its new planes, the first of which is expected to be delivered by the third quarter of next year.
"This is a very positive development; this will let us use our new Boeing 777-300s to the US," PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said in a phone interview.
The Lucio Tan-led carrier has daily direct flights from Manila to Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. The company also flies to Las Vegas, Nevada, which stops in Vancouver, Canada.
The airline has said it is considering flying to new routes, which include San Diego in California, and even to New York in the US east coast.
However, Mr. Bautista said the new rules will not solve all of the CAAP’s problems. "If the IRR becomes acceptable to the FAA... mababawasan na issues ng CAAP (the CAAP will have less issues)."
Among the issues that the CAAP has to address, Mr. Bautista said, is recruitment of qualified personnel.
If all goes well, he said, the Philippines’ status may be upgraded by July next year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

RP to build aviation library for FAA compliance

THE Philippines will build a library for the airline industry as part of efforts being made to convince the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that the country deserves Category 1 status.
Secretary Leandro Mendoza of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that Malacanang has approved at least P80 million to construct the library.
The FAA has concerns about the library as the Americans want all activities of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) nationwide computerized. “And we’re doing this right now,” Mendoza told reporters.
The library will contain all information the CAAP needs to function properly in doing its job.
Mendoza said the library will contain data on airline companies, crewmembers, as well as periodic maintenance checkups and which aircraft needs period upgrades.
“We have a record of each airplane that includes its airworthiness and number of flying hours,” Mendoza said.
All information the FAA wants “should be contained in an infrastructure or machine that we can access immediately” through the library, he added.
The library would be completed next year, or at the same time flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) would have expanded its fleet.
PAL is waiting for the delivery of two new Boeing 777 planes that are expected to arrive in September 2009. The planes will be used for medium- and long-haul flights. PAL is expected to expand flights to some parts of the US and Europe next year.
The lack of a Category 1 status has impacted on PAL’s expansion plans.
“But we are confident that upon the arrival of PAL’s 777s, we are already upgraded,” Mendoza said.
PAL was supposed to increase flights to the US and its territories early this year but the FAA downgraded the Philippines into Category 2 status that barred the flag carrier from increasing its 33 flights a week and from changing the type and adding aircraft on these routes.
Since January, officials have been hard at work in trying to regain the coveted Category 1 status. They decided not to rush things and targeted compliance with the FAA later this year. It was then decided that the Philippines would have a better chance at meeting FAA standards next year.
The FAA required the Philippines to revamp its system of regulation and for the country to write its own civil aviation law, which lawmakers have already passed. The implementing rules and regulations of the said law have already been published in major newspapers last week. That meant that the new CAAP would soon be fully activated.
The CAAP was created after the FAA downgraded the Philippines last year to Category 2 on safety concerns.
The CAAP aims to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting domestic and international civil aviation, with particular emphasis on aviation safety and security.
The new law that created the CAAP converted the Air Transportation Office into an autonomous body with quasilegislative and quasijudicial powers while possessing corporate attributes. It will be an attached agency of the DOTC.
Category 1 status is given to countries where civil aviation authorities give licenses to and oversee air carriers in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (Icao) aviation safety standards.
Category 2, on the other hand, means a country’s aviation authorities do not exercise safety oversight over airlines in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards of Icao.
Flaws the FAA found during a safety audit from July 23 to 27 last year include lack of record-keeping, poor and aged equipment and problematic procedures for the licensing and certification of aircraft, airlines and pilots and inspectors.
Philippine officials claimed that the country has already complied with nearly all the requirements asked by US authorities.

Climate Change - It affects all of us! - New NASA Site

NASA has just released its new site on Climate Change. A great Educational Site for your Kids and yourself on the history and where we are headed.

Have a Look ... It is worth it ..

747 Hit just after takeoff by Lightning

This is worth a look ... Thanks Rick ..

747 Struck By Lightning - Watch more free videos

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heads up for those of you flying out of Omni now ..

The PNP ASG (Aviation Security Group) has an officer at Omni every day now to stamp flight plans. FOBS will not accept them without the stamp. There Officer is conducting inspections of aircraft prior to stamping at the moment ..

I have a number for him if you need to arrange an early departure, etc. Sgt Alipo 0919 9322294

He needs a copy of the flight plan left with him

After it is stamped, you can fax to FOBS at 045 599 2897 ext 625 The FOBS Voice Number is 045 599 2897 ext 603

PAL launches P88-M Mactan fleet maintenance facility

CEBU CITY, Oct. 11 -– Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its maintenance-service provider, Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), on Friday launched the development of an P88-million maintenance facility at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) for the flag carrier’s rapidly expanding fleet in Cebu.
Top executives of PAL and LTP, along with ranking officials of Lapu-Lapu City and the MCIA Authority broke ground for the facility within the Mactan airport complex.
The facility will rise on a 1.2-hectare lot that is part of LTP’s 2.6-hectare leased area at MCIA, PAL’s statement said.
It is adjacent to the longstanding, 1.4-hectare maintenance facility where PAL’s narrow-body fleet of Airbus A320s and A319s are checked.
When completed in February 2009,the facility will enable LTP to perform line maintenance checks on PAL’s turbo-propeller fleet of Bombardier Q400 and Q300 aircraft that fly under the brand PAL Express.
The expanded area can also, in the future, accommodate PAL’s forthcoming long-range, wide-body flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER.
LTP is applying as a locator at the nearby Mactan Export Processing Zone to gain “ecozone” status that will enable it to ship aircraft parts and materials directly to Mactan.
On hand for the ceremony were PAL deputy chief executive officer Henry So Uy, senior vice president for operations Capt. Beda Badiola, vice president for airport services Francisco Yngente IV, and special assistant to the chairman Emilio Yu.
LTP was represented by its president Bernhard Krueger Sprengel and chief finance officer Edison Que.
MCIAA general manager Danilo Augusto Francia and Lapu-Lapu city administrator Teodulo Ibanez also took part in the ceremony.

RP and US Joint Military Exercises in Clark Start Soon ....

The Philippines and the United States will hold a two-week joint bilateral training exercise from Oct. 15-28 called the "Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise" in various parts of Northern Luzon.
The opening ceremony will be held on Oct. 15 in Clark Field, Pampanga.
It will improve interoperability, increase readiness, and further deepen the relationship between US and Philippine security forces, the United States Embassy in Manila said in a statement emailed Friday night.
The two-week training exercise will be participated in by US Marines from the Japan-based 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and US sailors from the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group.
They will participate in ground-air and naval integration training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the US Embassy said.
US and Philippine military personnel participating in the exercise will also conduct joint community relations activities in selected local communities, it said.
Among them are medical and dental missions, school construction, classroom repairs and painting, and community beautification projects, the US Embassy added.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

RP expects FAA to upgrade safety rating

MANILA, Philippines -- The US Federal Aviation Administration is expected to reverse the downgrade it slapped on the Philippine aviation safety rating by early next year, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza said Wednesday.
During a budget hearing, Mendoza told Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Edgardo Angara, chair and vice chair of the Senate finance committee, respectively, that the country had already “substantially complied” with the international safety precautions suggested by the FAA.
Mendoza said this after Enrile inquired into the status of the downgrade of the Philippine aviation rating from Category 1 to Category 2, which was imposed by the US aviation watchdog on January 8 over concerns about the safety of the country's airports and air carriers.
“Once upon a time, we were being rushed to pass the law to create the Civil Aviation Authority in order to address the problems at the time. What happened to that problem?” asked Enrile.
“The major one is the passage of the law,” Mendoza answered, referring to the legislation creating the CAA which was signed into law by President Gloria Arroyo on March 4.
“We have a team that went to FAA headquarters in Washington early this month. We were given some checklist on some recommended action programs. We are complying with it, and by early next year, we believe that we can be upgraded already,” said Mendoza.
The downgrade prevented Philippine carriers from expanding operations in the US.
Aviation systems of a country given Category 2 status are subjected to heightened FAA surveillance.
A Category 2 rating shows that the country lacks laws or regulations necessary to support the certification and oversight of air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards.
The Philippines also lacks the technical expertise, resources and organization to license air operations, does not have adequately trained and qualified technical personnel, among other steps to ensure enforcement of minimum standards.
With this assurance from Mendoza, the committee approved the proposed P23.6-billion budget of the Department of Transportation and Communications for 2009, a mere 3-percent higher than this year's P22.9 billion.
Angara reminded Mendoza of the need for qualified test pilots.
“We got to have more test pilots which we lack. It's one of the safety precautions that the FAA is requiring us,” said Angara.
Mendoza replied, “With the new law and the new budget for CAA, we are already hiring competent, check pilots.”
Angara earlier stressed the need to create the CAA after US aviation officials expressed concern over the Air Transportation Office's inability to conduct consistent, effective safety checks, thus failing to meet the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Senator Mar Roxas, chair of the trade and commerce committee, had said that the FAA downgrade was “a critical issue that affects all Filipinos worldwide.”
“Aside from examining what went wrong, we also need to discuss how to cushion the effects of the downgrade, among them the potential loss in revenues for private airlines and concurrent decline in investments and tourism," Roxas added.
Roxas said that a slow and incoherent response to the requirements set forth by the US FAA would further exacerbate the problem and may cause irreparable harm to the country's image abroad.
"Government needs to exercise enormous political will to resolve this problem. The repercussions are too great, and the damage to the country's image is very serious," he had said.
President Arroyo signed into law the CAA Act of 2008 to update and strengthen the international framework of the country's civil aviation industry and meet the standards set by the ICAO.
CAA is now an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers with corporate attributes.
But the CAA shall be an attached agency -- for the purpose of policy coordination -- of DOTC.

By Michael Lim UbacPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 21:53:00 10/08/2008

A plane with doors? What Now?

A Good read ... enjoy ......

By George E. Beetham Jr.
The last time I had flown in a commercial aircraft was in 1964, when I returned from the Philippines while serving in the Army. With all the security issues, I was more than a bit nervous when I went through the security check down at the airport on my way to Alaska.The gentleman manning the metal scanner was patient and seemed to sense my nervousness.
"Is this your first flight?" he asked as I held my pants up with my hands and walked in my stocking feet through the detector.
The first time through set off the alarm. I had to remove my belt because of the buckle.
"No, I flew back in 1964," I said. "I think the plane had two wings and the pilot wore a leather helmet."
He chuckled and waved me through.
I was amazed at how professional and friendly the Transportation Security Agency people were. The security check is one of the necessary things we do to deal with the terrorism threat. We may not like it, but we really need to blame Osama bin Laden for the process. The TSA folks are doing a necessary job.
My flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta was pleasant with no problems. At Atlanta, the captain of the next flight to Seattle addressed the passengers before boarding the plane.
It seemed the fellow operating the jetway had some problems getting it to the plane's door, which was damaged and off its hinges. Flying a plane without a door is not exactly a good idea, so the airline was scrounging around the Atlanta hangars to find a plane that had all its doors, wings, wheels, and a working tail.
They finally found one, and off we went to Seattle.
I was boarding the Alaska Airlines plane in Seattle when the captain joked that I could not take flash photos with my camera. I responded by asking him if the plane had all its doors.
When he looked at me quizzically, I told him about the plane in Atlanta.
"You're kidding," he said. "No, not kidding at all. That's why I got to Seattle so late and barely made this flight on time."
Things went fine the rest of the way, and on the return trip for most of the way. Going into Atlanta, we encountered turbulence that tossed the plane around like a cork riding through rapids.
Even the flight attendants had to strap in as the plane heaved and bounced. A glass of water sitting on the fold down table tipped and doused the woman who had unthinkingly left it there.
Only the seat belts kept us from hitting the ceiling of the plane.
As we disembarked, I told the captain, "You bounced that sucker in nicely." He thanked me for the compliment. Nobody was more concerned about wind shear smacking the plane down too hard than him.
The next leg proved uneventful all the way to Philly. The plane taxied up to the jetway, and there we all sat waiting for the jetway to come out and get the door opened.
It turned out the plane was too far from the jetway. They had to get the tractor that tows planes to come out, back us up, and pull us in closer to the jetway.
As we disembarked about a half hour later, passengers razzed the folks manning the jetway. It turned out the operator was long gone. He had beat a hasty retreat as soon as the door opened.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

F-35B-B1-F First Flight - Cool Video

This is Cooooool

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Flight Instructors/Pilots in Asia, once like Hens Teeth, now, seems the Hens have plenty of teeth to go around!

AVIATION: Admissions halve as airlines cut back recruitment citing low deployment.

Gautam Nair (name changed), a doctor, quit his profession and got a commercial pilot’s licence in February last year. He was absorbed by a Delhi-based low-cost carrier within two months.
His brother Siddharth, however, was caught on the wrong side of the aviation business cycle. He completed his training in January this year and is still looking for a job.
The downturn in the aviation sector has led to significantly lower demand for pilots. This has adversely affected the businesses of more than 50 flying training schools, which had come up during the last two years on the back of an unprecendented growth story. Admissions to these institutes have now hit an all-time low.
Mamta Kota, director, Flytech Aviation Academy, Hyderabad, says: “It is a cyclical trend. There was a similar trend after 1998 which lasted up to 2000, when aviation was on a downturn.”
Flytech imparts an 18-month course in flying training and conducts admissions twice a year. Kota said that admissions this July have been at least 50 per cent lower than in July 2007. Flying school agents who have tie-ups with foreign schools also have similar numbers to narrate.
Anand Mishra, chairman, Griffin Aviation India, says: “Last year, we sent 20-25 students every month. Now we are happy to get even one.” The institute has a tie-up with the Griffin Flying School in the Philippines.
Mishra adds that though the course fee will not be slashed, it will have to compromise on the commissions from the foreign institutes.
“We used to charge around Rs 14.5 lakh for a full course. Of this, our commission was around Rs 50,000. We have had to slash this to around Rs 20,000 now,” says Mishra.
Airlines maintain that pilot recruitment is low as capacity deployment is low. Sandeep Chalke, human resources head, Jet Airways, says: “We recruited our last batch of 40 officers in May. Last year, we recruited around 20 pilots per month. Now, we recruit every three or four months.”
The supply of pilots exceeds supply. Jet Airways received 600 applications this May, for 40 vacancies. In 2006, the airline had received 30 applications in all.
Jobless pilots are keeping their fingers crossed. They are taking up jobs as flying instructors. They want to gain experience by teaching in a flying school before there is an upswing and they can apply for jobs again.
Flytech now gets one application everyday from commercial pilot licence holders wanting to become assistant instructors. Indore-based Yash Air has received around 60 such applications in six months. The instructors have begun to offer their services relatively cheaply, a major change from last year, when salaries were almost on a par with airline pilots.
“A year back, instructors demanded close to Rs 3 lakh per month, level with an airline pilot. Inability to pay would make us lose them to airlines which were recruiting pilots in huge chunks then,” says Kota.