Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The franchise is expected to boost Seair’s value, making it more attractive to potential buyers, according to an airline official and a legislator who coauthored a bill granting the franchise.
Seair owners, led by the foreign partnership of Iren Dornier and Nikos Gitsis and the Filipino group of Tomas Lopez Jr., have been trying to negotiate for a buyout of their shares with prospective investors, after their talks with Filipino-Chinese businessman Alfredo Yao fell through in May. Dornier and Gitsis own 40 percent of Seair while the rest of the shares are owned by Lopez’s group. Yao wanted to merge the operations of Seair with that of Zest Airways, formerly Asian Spirit, which he acquired in March 2008.
As this developed, a Seair official said the airline is still on an expansion mode and unaffected by the current global economic crisis which is seen dampening tourism worldwide. In its October 2008 report, the World Tourism Organization projected global tourism growth slowing down to a range of zero percent to 2 percent for 2009, from a revised growth of 2 percent to 3 percent in 2008. Average tourism growth from 2004 to 2007 was 7 percent.
Interviewed over the weekend, Seair president Avelino Zapanta said the law granting the carrier’s congressional franchise was recently signed by Sen. Manuel Villar, “among his last acts as Senate President,” and is now in Malacañang “awaiting the signature of President Arroyo.”
He said the Senate virtually adopted House Bill (HB) 3788, coauthored by Reps. Eleajandro Jesus Madrona, Ferjenel Biron, Teodoro Locsin Jr., et al.—who comprise the House Committee on Legislative Franchises—which is “more complete than that of the Senate’s bill.”
Through Committee Report 97, HB 3788 was endorsed for approval by the Senate Committee on Public Services, chaired by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, on August 28, “without amendment, taking into consideration Senate Bill (SB) 2376.” The latter was coauthored by Senators Ponce Enrile and Juan Miguel Zubiri. SB 2376 is likewise a proposed legislation granting Seair the “franchise to establish, operate and maintain domestic and international air transport services, with Clarkfield, Pampanga as its base.”
Seair’s congressional franchise has a term of 25 years upon the law’s effectivity.
Meanwhile, in a text message from London, Locsin said the congressional franchise “gives Seair permanency,” such that its operations cannot just be indiscriminately cancelled by any government agency without due cause.
This was echoed by Zapanta, who said the franchise gives the airline “a sense of legitimacy; that we’re not operating like a colorum anymore.” Colorum is a Filipino term usually applied to jeepneys and buses which do not have the license to ply certain routes. While it flies without a congressional franchise, Seair has a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), allowing the carrier to operate scheduled flight services.
Locsin added that with the franchise, the airline “can also borrow [loans], as well as sell its equity at a premium.”
Asked about the advantage of having a congressional franchise, considering that Seair has been operating and expanding since 1995, Zapanta explained that while “some banks will probably consider that [an airline’s franchise] before extending a loan, until you sell that airline, that value [of having a congressional franchise] is not actually manifested. It strengthens your value.”
The airline executive agreed that now that Seair has acquired its franchise, its owners could demand a higher price from potential buyers. When Yao group’s offered to buy out Seair’s owners, the latter were only offered $2 million (worth P84.63 million in May) in cash. With the congressional franchise, industry analysts estimate that Seair owners can now command even “three times that amount.”
Zapanta said the congressional franchise also gives the airline tax incentives such as duty-free importation of capital equipment and income tax holidays.
Locsin, meanwhile, said the franchise would enable Seair to continue flying, fostering competition among the airlines. “I believe that when you have more competition in the industry, it can only result in better service for the airline travelers.”
Meanwhile, Zapanta said Seair remains optimistic about the local and regional tourism market despite projections that the global financial crisis will slow down international travel beginning next year. “We’re bullish and even expanding our routes. We recently were allowed to operate in Singapore, for instance.”
On November 28, the airline will commence flights to Kota Kinabalu; in April 2009, Singapore and Macau; August 2009, Bangkok and Hong Kong, as well as Cebu and Davao; and in September 2009, “we’re looking at Inchon, Kuala Lumpur and Kaohsiung,” he added. All new flights will be out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga, which has more liberal aviation policies.
He stressed that the regional flights are “basically a Seair operation,” but using two aircraft, Airbus 320s, leased from Tiger Airways, a budget carrier based in Singapore. On July 31, the CAB approved the lease agreement between Seair and Tiger Air, two years after both carriers signed it. Local airlines had been opposing the agreement, saying it was a prelude to granting fifth freedom rights to Tiger Air, which they claimed would fly local destinations using Seair.
Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to pick up passengers from one country, transport them to another country, pick up passengers there, and fly to yet another country, like Philippine Airlines’s Manila-Vancouver-Las Vegas-Manila route.
Under the terms of its congressional franchise and in accordance with provisions in the Philippine Constitution on public utilities, Seair is also mandated to offer at least 30 percent of its outstanding capital stock to the public, “within five years from commencement of its operations.” But under the rules of the Philippine Stock Exchange, a company may list its shares in the market after three years of continued profitability. However, in certain instances, this requirement has been waived, as in the case of mining companies and small and medium enterprises.
In May this year, Seair owners rejected the offer of Yao to purchase 60 percent of the airline, because they felt it was a very low price for their shares. While the agreement between both groups was for Yao to purchase Seair for $3.75 million (P158 million then), the actual cash involved would only be $2 million.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
FedEx will transfer to its new Asia-Pacific hub at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in southern China.
"Now in the testing phase, the new Asia-Pacific Hub is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2009," the subsidiary of FedEx Corp said in a statement.
Its operations in Subic Bay will continue as it checks the Guangzhou hub's ability to process Hong Kong-Guangzhou cross border transportation, and its sort systems and flight operations.Hub in SubicFedEx's has been one of the first locators in Subic Bay in Zambales province since the former American base was rehabilitated after the Mount Pintubo eruption in 1991 engulfed it in ashes. Former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman, now senator, Richard Gordon helped pave the way for FedEx's investment in Subic in 2005.FedEx's move to choose Subic became the export processing zone's carrot to invite other investors, mostly export manufacturers who would like to benefit from Subic's logistical advantage. Subic eventually became one of the Philippine's success stories on transforming what could have been a wasteland into revenue generating zone.
From its strategically located main hub in the Philippines, FedEx served more than 14,000 stations across Asia.
However, the protracted effort to expand the runway allocated to FedEx so bigger cargo planes could fly into the hub, and the infighting among SBMA leaders who also wrestled with leaders of nearby Clark airbase that is best designed for aviation-related operations, have influenced FedEx to consider alternatives.
In 2005, FedEx announced it will transfer its operations in China, which has dangled sweeteners, including tax incentives. It is investing about $150 million in the 82,000 square meter Guangzhou facility, which sits on 63 hectares.
FedEx was originally targetting to start its hub operations in China by 2008, but it moved schedules to fully test all systems and processes.
New China hub
It said that over the past several months, significant progress has been made in key areas, including construction, IT, employee training, and the installation of the hub’s unique package and sorting system, comprised of 16 high-speed sorting lines, seven round-out conveyer belts, as well as a total of 90 primary and secondary document-sorting splits.
"This advanced system will enable FedEx to sort up to 24,000 packages an hour at the start of operations," the company said. The Guangzhou hub features a ramp control tower—a first for an international air express cargo company facility in China.
“Since we announced plans for a new FedEx Asia-Pacific Hub in Guangzhou in 2005, we have achieved many important milestones toward our vision of delivering growth while providing our customers with expanded access to the global marketplace,” said David Cunningham Jr., president of Asia Pacific, FedEx Express.
“As the largest FedEx hub outside of the United States, it will help stimulate business both in southern China and globally, and will enable us to meet the growing demands for air express services in the region over the next three decades,” Cunningham added.
It said it moved the new hub because of several factors including an exhaustive series of feasibility studies which forecasted manufacturing and trading trends, both within Asia and internationally, for the next 30 years.
Meanwhile, FedEx said it will continue to maintain its presence in the Philippines, with its Manila and Cebu facilities remaining integral parts of the FedEx AsiaOne network.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Jakarta, Nov 18 (ANTARA) - Indonesia's transportation ministry is ready to cooperate technically with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) whose president is to visit Jakarta soon, a senior ministry official said.
"This is a follow up to a management service agreement concluded in September 2007 in Montreal, Canada , with ICAO President Robert Kobeh Gonzalez," Budhi Muliawan Suyitno, the ministry's director general of air transportation, said here Tuesday.
Suyitno said to realize the technical cooperation with ICAO, the transportation ministry would allocate seven million US dollars from its budget for two programs over a period of three years.
Under the first program h was for provision of special experts' assistance for aviation operations. Indonesia would prepare five operation inspectors to join the program which would be launched on November 27 in conjunction with the ICAO president's visit to Indonesia.
The second program was the formation of a Civil Aviation Transformation Team (CATT) for the transformation of civil aviation consisting of international regulators -- ICAO, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Japan and the EU, industry practitioners (Boeing and Airbus), and some aviation experts including from Indonesia.
"The team will be based at Indonesia's Transportation Ministry and be able to directly watch our work and be responsible to the director general of air transportation. They are expected to give strategic suggestions for improvements in the future," he said.
He added ICAO would use the pattern of solving Indonesia's aviation problems through CATT as a model for other countries such as the Philippines and Cambodia.(Antara)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Authorities said Asian Spirit, the only airline utilizing the local airport in this mountain resort city, stopped its operations due to a reported change in management, leaving the city with no commercial flights to ferry tourists who want to travel by air.Mary Sulyn Sagorsor, the airport’s officer-in-charge, said Asian Spirit is now called Zest Airways but its management has not yet decided whether or not to continue servicing the Baguio-Manila-Baguio route.Sagorsor said Loakan airport will still be open to chartered flights and military planes until such time that other commercial carriers consider servicing the abandoned route.Local tourism industry stakeholders fear the decision to stop Asian Spirit’s operations will cause a big setback in the city’s booming tourism industry which is giving life to local businesses.Purifacasion Molintas, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Cordilleras, said the absence of flights to the city would mean heavy losses for both the private and government sectors in terms of income, tourism and business operations.Molintas said each tourist spends an average of P2,500 per day. Tourists start flocking to the city starting November until May because of the conducive weather condition that is ideal as an escape from the tremendous humidity in the lowlands.Sagorsor denied that Asian Spirit stopped its operations in the city because it was a losing venture. She claimed the airline was actually earning but the lack of smaller aircrafts that can cater to the demand of more flights prompted management to give up the route.Another airline, Sea Air, has reportedly agreed to service the Baguio-Manila-Baguio route but it requires a general sales office in the city which is still not available as of presstime.Under existing airline policies, at least ten seats must be paid by the general sales agent but the actual condition in the city could not meet such requirement. Still, stakeholders are clamoring for a regular flight here to ensure the continuous influx of tourists to spice up the local economy of the Cordillera as a whole.
In a disclosure to the local exchange, Cebu Pacific’s holding firm, JG Summit Holdings, Inc. said the airline had lost P1.87 billion in the nine month period — a turnaround from the P2.53 billion profit the company made in the same period last year.
"[These losses were] due to higher operations-related expenses, particularly, fuel cost which posted a 96% increase" to P6.53 billion this year from P3.33 billion last year, the parent firm said.
Jet fuel prices peaked at $180 per barrel in July, or near double its price from a year ago.
Today however, jet fuel, which is more expensive than regular gasoline, has gone down to $84 per barrel, or just under 20% lower than its price a year ago.
"Cebu Pacific recognized a foreign exchange loss from its dollar denominated obligations amounting to P1.57 billion during the period compared to a foreign exchange gain of P1.06 billion recorded last year," the company said.
Excluding the foreign exchange and mark-to-market effect, the airline would have posted a net income of P187.71 million for the nine months.
The airline’s costs and operating expenses went up 47.33% in the nine-month period, to P13.23 billion from just under P9 billion last year.
The airline posted a 28.3% increase in revenues for the nine-month period to close to P14 billion, from just under P11 billion in the same period last year, "brought about by additional routes and flights."
The company is looking to grow its passenger base to 7 million passengers a year by the end of 2008, from the five million passengers it carried all of last year.
The Gokongwei-led carrier plans to do this by expanding to more routes and fielding a total of six aircraft — four 72-seater ATR Turboprops and two 180-seater Airbus 320s — which the company expects to be delivered next year.
Nov. 14 — The Tourism and Promotions Office (TPO) of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) announced that at least 25 countries are expected to participate in the 14th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF).
TPO Manager Noemi Garcia said the CDC and Hot Air Balloon Club of the Philippines, on November 12 signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the holding of the event from February 12 to 15 next year.Garcia added that the MOA was signed by CDC President Benigno N. Ricafort and Joi Roa, president of the Hot Air Balloon Club of the Philippines at the Café Mesa here.She also said more than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the four-day event that would be held at Clark’s Civil Aviation Complex just beside the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.Last year, Garcia said 19 balloons flew Clark skies during the previous hot air balloon fiesta. The four-day event brought in more than 21 pilots, 19 of which were flown by foreign pilots from 13 countries while the other two were flown by Filipino pilots.Garcia added that last year’s event was joined by pilots from the Philippines, Sweden, United States , Hungary , Thailand , Malaysia , Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Finland, Japan , Switzerland, England, and South Korea.Last year’s event also featured four paragliders, three from Malaysia and one from France, who flew thrice daily for the whole duration of the event.“This early we are already drawing plans to make the next hot air balloon fiesta a bigger and spectacular event as part of the Clark Development Corporation’s bid to transform Clark into a tourist haven north of Manila,” Garcia said. (PNA)
Friday, November 14, 2008
The Gokongwei-owned airline is being barred, however, from using the airport's rehabilitated terminal building since it stands on property owned by rival carrier Philippine Airlines.
Because of this, Cebu Pacific has had to locate its terminal operations--like passenger check-in, pre-departure, and arrival services--under a tent adjacent to the newly refurbished passenger terminal, which is owned by the state-run Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
At present, passengers waiting to board Cebu Pacific's Monday-Wednesday-Friday ATR 72 turboprop ferry flight between Cebu and Ozamiz sit on benches outside the airport's perimeter fence while waiting to board the aircraft.
"What we don't understand is why we're not being allowed to use a facility that was built using public funds," said Cebu Pacific vice president for commercial planning Alex Reyes.
Nonetheless, he expressed optimism about the potential of passenger traffic between both cities, given the traditional trade links of Cebu with Visayan-speaking residents of Ozamiz in Misamis Occidental.
Both inbound and outbound inaugural flights last Wednesday were fully booked, despite the conditions at the Ozamiz airport.
During ceremonies to mark the inaugural flight, Misamis Occidental governor Loreto Ocampos vowed to remedy the situation, saying that the current condition--where one airline uses a government facility and another uses makeshift tents--was unacceptable.
"What we will do is that [the provincial government] will just buy this property so that everyone can use it," he said in Visayan.
Ocampos pointed out, however, that the provincial government presently does not have the funds for such an undertaking, adding that he would ask President Macapagal-Arroyo for additional resources to boost the budget of the local government.
The CAAP expressed resignation over the issue, saying PAL's stand was affirmed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.
"CAAP did not bar Cebu Pacific from using the Ozamiz terminal building, but they were made aware that CAAP sought the legal opinion of the OGCC on the legality of allowing them to occupy a space in the terminal building," the agency's legal chief Deo de Ocampo told the Inquirer.
"Records appear that the terminal building was constructed at the time when PAL was majority-owned by the government," he added. "PAL is claiming ownership over the terminal building based on legal principle. The accessory, terminal building, follows the principal, land."
Philippine Airlines' subsidiary Air Philippines operates flights between the city and Manila using a Boeing 737--a service that Cebu Pacific, so far, cannot match because the 1.8-kilometer runway of the Ozamiz airport is not designed to to handle the weight of an Airbus A320.
Philippine Airlines did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.
By Daxim Lucas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:59:00 11/13/2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
SUBIC BAY, Philippines -- U.S. property tycoon Donald Trump is eyeing up a move to develop part of a new complex in the Philippine freeport of Subic Bay into a tourist center, a Trump company official said Wednesday.The flamboyant billionaire is looking at joining a South Korean company that is already building a major complex in Subic Bay, which is located north of Manila.Trump Organization executive vice-president Michael Cohen said he had met officials of the Heung-A Property Group to discuss the plan.He said the two sides were working on “a definitive agreement” where the Trump group would be a key developer of the beachfront but added that no formal accord had been signed.Heung-A Property owns Subic Neocove Corp., a venture that is developing a tourism complex. The company is planning an initial 250 million-dollar investment to build hotels, golf courses, a casino and residential areas.
”It is just a reminder and that BFP is just updating us in order for us to comply our commitment,” Lansang told the Philippines News Agency.
He said that Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)CAAP Director General Ruben F. Ciron is now working on the payment for the administrative fine amounting RR6,000 to prevent the implementation of the closure order.
He cited that BFP-Region 4-B Director Senior Supt. Norman V. Pinion last Oct. 7, issued a letter to ATO reminding the payment of the administrative fine.
He admitted that to date, ATO or PPCA has not complied in relation to the BFP’s imposition of administrative fine.
The imposition of the fines is based on an order of payment issued by the BFP-Region 4-B to Lansang pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1185, otherwise known as the Fire Code of the Philippines.
It was recalled that in January, 2007, the fire safety inspectors (FSI) of Puerto Princesa City, equipped with Mission Order (MO) No. 1087-07, inspected the PPCA to determine the airport’s compliance with fire safety standards.
They discovered major violations and deficiencies, which included non-existence of fire alarm and warning system; non-installation of wet standpipe system; non-availability of emergency lights; absence of pre-fire and exit plans at the airport’s hallways and passengers lounge; non-availability of any firefighting equipment; and failure to conduct fire safety seminars.
Lansang assured that fire safety equipment are all incorporated in the airport terminal building which is presently undergoing major rehabilitation under the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), as implementing agency. (PNA)
Airline companies seek assurance that flights mounted to and from the airport would be sustainable, Bada said.
Flights to the airport declined in the 1980s owing to low passenger volumes. Although Asian Spirit mounted a regular service to the airport during the past few years, it was temporarily suspended after expansion was undertaken.
Although intended to boost commerce and tourism in Region 1, especially in Baguio City and La Union, the airport is currently being used for chartered flights of private and government corporations. These entities include the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co., and various exporters at the Poro Point Freeport Zone. The airport is also used by flying schools.
Approximately P565 million was spent for the airport, which is currently under the supervision of the Poro Point Management Corp. (PPMC), a unit of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
The facility’s enhancements include runway extension and widening to 2,120 from 1,320 meters and to 45 from 36 meters respectively. A new control tower was also built while airside facilities, air navigation systems and support facilities were enhanced and constructed based on the requirements of the International Civil Aeronautics Organization.
Before its rehabilitation, the San Fernando facility was considered as a secondary airport. Besides serving as an alternative to the Loakan Airport in Baguio City, the airport could only accommodate turbo prop planes and the C-130 cargo plane of the Philippine Airforce.
Although the BCDA is bankrolling the airport’s entire upgrade—worth P1.8 billion—it is still is holding some P1.2 billion for the construction of the passenger terminal building, among other structures, as it waits for the airport’s operations to become viable
More flights and choices for travellers will come only when the 10-member countries--Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam--ratify the agreement.
Some, like Indonesia, are still undecided.
Tri S Sunoko, the Transport Ministry's director of air transportation, told The Straits Times in a telephone interview that no decision had been made on when an existing ban on foreign budget carriers would be lifted.
He said: "We support the principles of liberalisation but this is something we will embark on step by step. I cannot say at this time when we will open up more routes to foreign airlines.
"We first have to ensure that our national carriers are in a position to compete effectively with the other regional airlines."
The need to protect its fledgling air transport industry was cited by the Indonesian authorities in 2005 when they banned foreign low-cost airlines from flying to four key cities--Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Denpasar (Bali).
On whether the current global financial turmoil, which has hit airlines everywhere, would delay the process of liberalisation, Sunoko reiterated that the government will have to consider the health of its national carriers before making any decisions.
An Asean spokesman told The Straits Times in an e-mail response to queries that while member states are urged to ratify the Asean agreement "as soon as possible", the reality is that some "may take more time than others to ratify, as domestic procedures for ratification differ".
It does not, however, stop individual countries from liberalising their air links.
Singapore and Malaysia, for example, have decided to fully open the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air route next month.
More flights are also progressively being added between Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Industry talk is that Penang is next.
Singapore carriers are also hoping that new opportunities will open up in the Philippines as well as in Indochina.
Jetstar Asia chief executive officer Chong Phit Lian said liberalisation had been good for consumers, adding that the airline looks forward to "official news of new points and opportunities that will be available within the region".
Her wish list? "More flights to and from Singapore and other points in Malaysia, as well as more rights to the Philippines and Indonesia."
The liberalisation between capital cities is the first step in a long-term plan to create the Asean Single Aviation Market by 2015.
When that happens, all carriers of member states will be able to criss-cross the region's skies without any restrictions. (By KARAMJIT KAUR/ The Straits Times/ ANN)
The memorandum of agreement, involving the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is expected to pave the way for a "unified aviation market by 2015".
"This will extend traffic rights between the 10 countries ... The trend, as it is with trade, is towards opening up the market," Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said in a telephone interview yesterday.
"This will enhance market access for people in the region."
ASEAN — which comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — endorsed the signing of the Multilateral Air Services Liberalization deal in May, after signing a separate aircraft safety agreement.
Bilateral air deals are currently the norm among ASEAN members. These agreements are often restricted by having a predetermined number of entitlements for passengers and cargo that may be transported.
Under the new deal, airlines in the region may fly to any major destination within Southeast Asia for as much as they want, as long as the facilities in a particular terminal will be able to handle the flights.
The agreement allows for unlimited third, and fourth air freedom rights between ASEAN countries, or the right to fly passengers to from one country to another and back again.
"[The deal] aims to liberalize passenger and cargo services in the ASEAN region ... with a view to build a single, unified aviation market by 2015," the Department of Transportation and Communications said in a statement.
As of the moment, only ASEAN capital cities will be covered.
For the Philippines this would be the Manila Airport System: the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and the Manila domestic terminal.
For other international terminals like Clark, Cebu and Davao, the country will have to work on bilateral deals between its ASEAN neighbors for the moment.
Local airlines, meanwhile, were cool to the deal.
"We will abide by whatever is signed," Philippine Airlines Vice-President Rolando C. Estabillo said in an interview.
The flag carrier had opposed the agreement.
Cebu Pacific spokesperson Candice A. Iyog said "As long as we (the Philippines) get the same benefits as they get, then it is fine with us."
CLARK FREEPORT -- The SIA Engineering Philippines, in partnership with Cebu Pacific Air, will lead Thursday the groundbreaking rites for the establishment of a US$100-million Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Clark Civil Aviation Complex here. Officials of the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) led by president Victor Jose Luciano, SIA Engineering Company headed by president William Tan and Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei will lead the ceremony as well as the time capsule-laying for the multi-million dollar project.
The MRO facility will service long-haul commercial aircraft at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), which is being eyed as the next premier gateway of the Philippines. "The MRO fulfills the vision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to make Clark a leading world-class service hub in the Asia Pacific Region," Luciano said. Gokongwei said the world-class MRO facility at Clark will further enhance aerospace in the Philippines. "With SIA Engineering Company's MRO proficiency, we will certainly develop the local talent pool of aerospace management and engineering personnel," he said. He added that a heavy maintenance facility in the Philippines will significantly enhance Cebu Pacific Air's dispatch reliability and engineering quality. SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corporation is 65-percent owned by the SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC). Cebu Pacific Air has a 35-percent stake in the joint venture. Expected to attend the ground-breaking ceremonies are SIAEC Senior Vice-President (SVP) for Services Chan Seng Yong; SVP for Line Maintenance and Business Development Jack Kho; SVP for Aircraft and Component Services Ivan Neo; General Manager for the Philippines Lim Kim Yong; JG Summit Chairman Emeritus John Gokongwei; and, JG Summit Chairman James Co. Other CIAC officials who will accompany Luciano are Executive Vice-President Alexander Cauguiran; Vice-President for Operations and General Manager Bienvenido Manga; Vice-President for Administration and Finance Romeo Dyoco Jr.; and CIAC Board Chairman Nestor Mangio. The project involves the construction of three large hangars that will service long-haul commercial aircraft at a 10-hectare property inside the airport. The first hangar will service narrow-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus 320 while the second and third will service wide-bodied aircraft like the Boeing 747s and 777s. The facility will generate at least 1,000 jobs in the construction phase. It is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2009. The MRO will complement the development of the DMIA as a logistic and service hub as envisioned by Arroyo. Luciano stressed that the MRO is an integral part of the operations of the DMIA because it can now handle the maintenance, repair and overhaul of legacy carriers in the Asian region. A part of the Singapore Airlines Group, SIAEC provides maintenance services for the more than 60 international carriers operating at Singapore's Changi International Airport, including airframe and component overhaul on some of the most advanced, widely-used commercial aircraft in the world. SIAEC's line maintenance support extends to more than 40 countries such as Australia, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. SIAEC services at least 80 international carriers and aerospace equipment manufacturers. It has 20 certifications from airworthiness authorities around the world with six hangars and 22 in-house workshops in Singapore, which provide complete MRO services in airframe, component, engine, aircraft conversions and modifications for major airlines from four continents. In April 4, 2008, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between CIAC, SIAEC, and Cebu Pacific Air for the establishment of a world-class MRO facility at the Clark airport. The agreement was signed during the inauguration of the expanded DMIA Passenger Terminal in the presence of the President.
BUDGET CARRIER Cebu Pacific will break new ground today for a $100-million aircraft maintenance facility that the company is building with a Singaporean firm at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga.
"We are positive that a world-class maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Clark will further enhance the aerospace industry in the Philippines," Cebu Pacific Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei said in a statement yesterday. The airline has partnered with SIA Engineering Corp., part of the Singapore Airlines group, to build the facility. Cebu Pacific will own 35% of the company, while 65% will be held by the Singaporean firm.
Representatives from the Clark International Airport Corp., Cebu Pacific and its foreign partner are expected to attend the ground-breaking and capsule-laying ceremonies today.
"With SIA Engineering Company’s [aircraft maintenance] proficiency, we will certainly develop the local talent pool of aerospace management and engineering personnel," Mr. Gokongwei said.
He added that a heavy maintenance facility in the Philippines would enhance Cebu Pacific’s reliability and engineering quality.
The project involves the construction of three large hangars that will service long-haul commercial aircraft at a 10-hectare property within the airport. The first hangar will service narrow-bodied aircraft like the Airbus 320, while the second and third will service wide-bodied aircraft such like the Boeing 747 and 777.
The facility is expected to generate at least 1,000 jobs during the construction phase. Officials expect it to be completed by the second quarter of next year
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
One of the biggest passenger and cargo airlines in Asia will soon be flying to and from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga province, north of Manila.
Officials are mum on the identity of the carrier, but sources said this “light blue” carrier would use “the largest narrow-bodied jet” (probably a Boeing 737-900) for the service, which is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2009. Daxim L. Lucas
Speaking of the DMIA, the battle for the right to build the passenger terminal of the country’s next aviation hub is about to heat up some more, after Clark International Airport Corp. disqualified Admiral Energy LCC, which earlier hurdled the government’s eligibility requirements, to join the bid.
According to our source from Pampanga, the US-based firm had passed all the benchmarks set by the government—except for the crucial one that required the company to have as a partner a firm that has a solid track record in operating airports (think: Changi Airport, BAA, Fraport AG).
Admiral failed to present partners with sterling records, so it was “sorry guys, you’re out” for them.
This move is bound to worry the US government whose officials were driven up the wall when the government earlier signed a deal with a Chinese firm for a feasibility study on this $185-million project.
But with the Chinese now out of the picture, this mega-deal (hopefully, not the next scam) is still up for grabs. Daxim L. Lucas
PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) has introduced a new product, called PAL EconoLight Class, aimed at the budget segment of the market, on all its domestic jet routes as well as selected short-range Asian routes.
The selling period starts Wednesday (November 4), while the travel period starts on November 10, 2008.
PAL will allocate seats on these flights for the new product, which is priced lower by up to 93-percent off regular Fiesta Class (economy) fares, but designed with less passenger amenities than Fiesta Class.
Still, EconoLight Class offers more than competing budget carriers.
Passengers will continue to enjoy PAL’s comfortable aircraft cabin with generous legroom, convenient schedules and seamless connections at Naia Centennial Terminal 2 in Manila, now boasting an on-time departure average rate of 91.3 percent.
While snacks are not served, water is available upon request on domestic flights. On the international sectors, unlimited nonalcoholic beverages, such as soda, juice, water, coffee and tea, are served with peanuts.
Passengers also receive a free baggage allowance of 15 kilograms each.
Tickets for EconoLight Class are available for purchase year-round only through PAL’s web site www.philippineairlines.com on a “book and buy” basis.
PAL EconoLight Class is currently offered on PAL flights between Manila and Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga.
EconoLight Class is not available on routes served by PAL Express.
Asian routes cover flights between Manila and Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei.
One-way fares of as low as P488, inclusive of all fees and surcharges, are available on domestic flights. International roundtrip fares start at $48, excluding surcharges.
The first jet will be delivered in 2013.
COMAC Chairman Zhang Qingwei told media persons that this was the first time Chinese-developed and manufactured regional jets have entered western airline markets.
ARJ21 (Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century) was developed independently by China. It has between 78-90 seats and a standard full-passenger flight can go 2,225 kilometers.
The regional jet will make its maiden flight in Shanghai within this month.
A total of 206 ARJ21-700s jets have so far been ordered.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008