Saturday, May 30, 2009

Airport officials said on Friday that the Philippines is also affected by the worldwide decline in international passenger and cargo demands

Airport officials said on Friday that the Philippines is also affected by the worldwide decline in international passenger and cargo demands as reported by International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Civil Aviation Board (CAB) deputy executive director Porvenir Porciuncula told BusinessWorld in a phone interview that the devaluation of the Korean won against the dollar has impacted travel especially in the country since Koreans comprise a significant chunk of international passenger traffic."Other airlines such as Northwest Airlines and Philippine Airlines have also experienced major drops affecting the Philippine international traffic in general," he added.International passenger traffic went down to 2.9 million compared to over 3 million last year."

The decline is more substantial in international cargo traffic, reflecting trade slow down," Mr. Porciuncula said. Cebu Airport General Manager Danilo Francia said in a separate phone interview that "in Cebu Airport alone, there was a 38% and 8% decline year-on-year recorded in international cargo and passengers, respectively."However, he said that domestic passenger traffic went up by 45% as local carriers continue to offer lower rates, while domestic cargo only experienced a 10% drop."

We expect that international traffic will only experience flat growth, if not continuous decline this year," Mr. Francia said.Meanwhile, IATA released international traffic data for April showing a 3.1% decline in passenger demand and a 21.7% fall in cargo demand compared to April 2008."

The demand improvements that we saw in April are welcome. But the 3.1% decline in passenger demand still outstripped the 2.5% cutback in capacity. The worst may be over, however, we have not yet seen any signs that recovery is imminent," IATA’s Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Deals to get to Singapore

WHILE many seasoned travelers and foreigners worldwide are delaying their overseas travel plans either due to the global outbreak of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 infection or the raging financial crisis, Singapore Airlines (SIA), in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is seizing the moment to attract more tourists through exciting five-month special promotions.

Ongoing until September 2009, stopovers in Singapore via SIA start at $1. This promo includes first night in a hotel for $1, airport transfers and entry to the country’s leading tourism attractions such as Sentosa Island, Singapore Zoo, Malay Heritage Centre, National Orchid Garden, Peranakan Museum, Singapore River Bumboat Tour and Jurong Bird Park.

“The current economic situation is an advantage to create value-for-money offerings and give people a chance to travel,” explains Lynelle Seow, Philippines area director of STB. “Singapore is even H1N1-free, so there’s nothing to be worried about.”

The $1 Fabulous Singapore Stopover may be availed upon arrival at Changi Airport. Travelers will be given a special identification card at the SIA Singapore Stopover Holiday counter.

For holiday planners who wish to book with SIA and fly from June 1 to September 30, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, together with STB, offers free one-night hotel stay with a 50-percent discount on food and beverage in designated F&B outlets of the participating hotels. This SIA Holiday treat is good for two persons who will travel from Manila at a rate of $378. The fare includes all-in airfare on Economy Class, two nights hotel accommodation (first night free), roundtrip airport transfers, discounted entry to selected leading attractions in Singapore, and unlimited free rides in Singapore Airlines’ “Hop-On Bus”.

A romantic rendezvous for couples in the City of Light is now possible as SIA will fly the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, starting June 1. The award-winning carrier noted that “passengers from Manila, Cebu and Davao taking Singapore Airlines and SilkAir can conveniently connect on the same day to these A380 flights.”

The roundtrip Manila-to-Paris has an introductory all-in fare of $954 on New Economy Class seat.

On top of these enticing deals from SIA and STB, other delightful reasons to visit Singapore in the coming months include the Great Singapore Sale from May 29 to July 26, with a 70-percent discount and bargain deals on fashion items like watches, jewelries, consumer electronics and other luxury brands; the opening of Orchard Central Mall in June; the monthlong Singapore Food Festival in July; and the much-awaited 2009 Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix from September 25 to 27 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

“I hope Filipinos will be more encouraged to travel in Singapore on these dates. It is a country full of exciting events, shopping, food festivals and great entertainment,” says Seow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How do Aircraft Registrations Work?

Interesting article on aircraft registrations and how they are allocated .. Full Details here ..

aircraft registration is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies an aircraft, in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile. In accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation all aircraft must be registered with a national authority (such as the FAA or Transport Canada), and furthermore, they must carry proof of this registration in the form of a legal document called a Certificate of Registration at all times when in operation. Most countries also require the aircraft registration to be imprinted on a permanent fireproof plate mounted on the fuselage for the purposes of post-fire/post-crash aircraft accident investigation.

Because airplanes typically display their registration numbers on the aft fuselage just forward of the tail, in earlier times more often on the tail itself, the registration is often referred to as the "tail number". In the United States, the registration number is also referred to as an "N-number", as it starts with the letter N.

Although each aircraft registration is unique, some, but not all countries allow it to be re-used when the aircraft has been sold, destroyed or retired.

Relocation of Catarman airport considered

TACLOBAN CITY — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is considering the relocation of Catarman Airport to ensure safety. 

This even as Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) announced that it was resuming its Manila-Catarman service next week.Sergio Sumergido, CAAP acting area manager for Eastern Visayas, said relocating the airport to a less crowded site would prevent runway incursions by people or vehicles."We are thinking of looking for another place. There’s no more room for improvement or expansion at the present site because it is very close to residential area and some key structures of the town," Mr. Sumergido said in a phone interview with BusinessWorld.Cebu Pacific suspended early this month its Manila-Catarman service because of safety issues.

Although authorities have prohibited people and vehicles from using the runway to get to the town center, several runway intrusions have been noted.The airline announced last week that it will resume its four-times weekly Manila-Catarman flights starting June 2 after airport and local authorities stepped up security measures."The runway has been cleared of vehicles and people 24/7. This is our green light to fly again to Catarman and bring back CEB’s affordable fares that other airlines must again try to match," 

Candice Iyog, CEB vice-president for marketing and distribution, said in a statement.Ms. Iyog said airport safety was improved after additional security personnel were deployed on the runway and authorities started the construction of a perimeter fence."Airport authorities have also blocked the entry points around the airport’s perimeter fence used by residents," she added.

Mr. Sumergido also said that apart from employing more security personnel, they have also sought the deployment of some policemen and military personnel at the airport to ensure that there will be no more incursions.Responding to the appeal of the public, the CAAP allows use of the barangay road crossing the runway from 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m., and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. "From 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., we don’t allow any disturbances," Mr. Sumergido added. Cebu Pacific uses the airport only until 10:45 a.m.

Other airlines that serve the route are PAL (Philippine Airlines) Express, which has daily flights, and Zest Air, which flies to the town every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.Cebu Pacific started its service to Catarman last February 14, with scheduled flights every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Catarman is a second class municipality and the capital town of Northern Samar province.

Philippine Air Traffic Controllers face Huge Issues

This is a comment posted on one of my blog entries. It is very relevant to Philippine Aviation, so I reposted it. The original comment can be found here ..

i've heard CAAP needs more ATCs to be distributed in the different atc facilities nationwide. the agency announced this early in 2007. many young professionals grabbed this oppurtunity and applied for the job. they underwent training for many months with their own expense, no allowance or anything, even a refund if you get hired. being in the training does not guarantee that you will be eventually get hired.if you fail the training at the very last month, say goodbye to your dreams. that's what i saw from some friends experience. they gave up their job because of a promising career in the government. but what? until now, all of them were not hired. what does CAAP stands for? Cira Ang Ating mga Pangarap!!! yes, that's true. CAAP, under its training branc, the Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) located at merville access road, in Pasay city, conducted trainings by batches. when CAAP anounced the need of ATC just when the FAA degraded the safety status of our aviation in the countyr, there were 22 trainees to become air traffic controllers and 21 trainees to become airways communicators. after 6 months of training, 20 new airways communicators graduated and were officially hired sepetmeber last year. a month later, 10 new air traffic controllers graduated, completed their license by august 2008, infromed by ATC officilas to be hired by october 2008, just wait for the call. when they followed up the status of thei appointment were told, before december 2008, just wait. and when january 2009 came, they were told to find jobs temporarily because of pending appointmnet due to chaos in the agency. issues on salary adjustments between technical positions in the agency are not yet settled up to now. they were told to wait by March 2009. but up to now, these poor young professionals are still jobless, not hired by the agency who is full of promising future for them. reason, according to officlas of CAAP, appointmnat is still pending at the civil service commission because the CSC is waiting for the organizational structure of CAAP. furthermore, ATC chief is requesting the personnel department of CAAP that this 10 ATCs be hired as temporary ATC but they wont approve because there is no BUDGET!!!!!!! for two years of sacrifice, where are their dreams? CAAP --- Cira ang ATing mga Pangarap?those twenty AIrways communicators, why was their appointment not as difficult to have as for these ATCs? beacuse most of them were "anak ng diyos ng CAAP"?
moreover, early in 2008, there is another training for anew batch of atcs, there were more than 60 trainees then, but only 33 succeed. thus, adding to the 10 unhired ATCs. there are 43 of them still waiting and still waiting, and praying that they will be hired before the election ban! 

early this year, a new batch of trainees is undergoing the Cumulative Air Traffic Service course at the civil Aviation Training Center. They should be able to complete the training, have their license to become air traffic controllers. Thus, adding to the 43 pitiful individuals who are still waiting to reap the laurels of their sacrifices.

please, to government officials who can read this, for every Filipino out there, this our call. help these young and poor AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS to air their voices nad be heard! let Madam President listen to them and lokk athe situation of the agency who protects the lives of many Filipinos and even foreigners visiting our country. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS, they do protect lives and properties more than a soldier can more than a surgeon, more than anybody else every minute, every second that they were in CONTROL!!!!!! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Southern Instutite of Languages to leave Bagabag in July 2009

SIL (Southern Institute of Languages) is a ministry of Wycliffe Bible Translators and they are the owners of the compound at Bagabag. 

SIL is a world wide organization that translates bibles into local dialects in many tribes in an amazing number of countries. A Translation of the New Testament can take between 15 and 40 years. SIL trains the local translators so that they can continue the translations and complete the Old Testament on their own once the New Testament is finished.

SIL have two Helio Couriers and one Navajoe in the Philippines, or had, I should say. Last week, teh navajoe arrived form a ferry flight back in teh USa, having finished its time in Mindanao. The Helio Couriers are still at Bagabag.

The Helio Courier is an amazing aircraft. It is specially designed to take off and land in very tight conditions and is well suited to bush pilot operations. They are used to ferry Bible translators to remote locations to be able to perform their work among the people who speak the dialect being translated. The plane is designed to land and takeoff with 250 of cleared space and can comfortably do so with a 500 foot clearing if fully loaded. 

Sadly, this organization that has been in the Philippines since 1953 are leaving in July 2009, on the 22nd I believe. They have completed their work here. The compound is owned by the government and they are hopeful taht they can find another Missionary organization to take over the facility

We have not been able to find out what will become of the Helios, are they staying or leaving .. 

Cebu Pac Airbus is doing Touch and goes at Clark at the moment ....

Rp-C3244 Cebu Pac Airbus is doing Touch and goes at Clark at the moment ....

On the Ramp at RPUZ Bagabag

The most aircraft they have had there at one time for a loooong
time ....

My first mobile post

This is my first mpbole post

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, May 22, 2009

RP - Spain complete air deal Clark and Manila get Flights

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines and Spain agreed to make 28 direct flights available for their respective airlines to serve weekly, as representatives of both countries wrapped up bilateral air services negotiations in Madrid recently.

The two parties allocated daily flight entitlements from Manila to Madrid and Barcelona, and vice versa.

Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport got 14 weekly flights to and from Madrid and Barcelona.

Other points in the Philippines, except Manila and Clark, were allocated daily flights to and from other points in Spain, except Madrid and Barcelona.

Manila was granted rights to service 200 tons of cargo per week while Clark got 300 tons per week. Both points of origin were allowed daily cargo flights to and from Spain. “The original agreement was signed in 1951 without frequencies,” Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla, who is a member of the Philippine air panel, said.

Currently, there are indirect flights from Madrid and Barcelona to the Philippines and back. The routes are served by Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines and a number of Middle Eastern carriers such as Qatar Airways.

Philippine aviation officials have not disclosed whether any airline, including flag carrier Philippine Airlines and Spain’s Iberia, expressed interest in serving the direct flight entitlements agreed upon.

This is the eighth air services deal entered into by the Philippines this year.

The Philippines has completed aviation talks with Qatar and United Arab Emirates in January, Kuwait and Bahrain in February, and Brunei and Australia in March, and Singapore earlier this month.

The International Air Transport Association has projected that world travel may decline by 3 percent in 2009.

The Philippines’ transport department views air deals as part of preparations for the eventual recovery of the global economy and the resurgence in air travel.

Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza said having more air service agreements would be good for the country.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cebu Pacific needs 250 female flight attendants

DESPITE the ongoing economic downturn, low-fare leader Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ largest carrier to ASEAN, is in urgent need of 250 female flight attendants to augment its current workforce.
“Our continued domestic and international expansion and rapidly growing passenger base require us to hire and train more cabin attendants. They have to exemplify Cebu Pacific’s fun, reliable, and high-quality service,” CEB vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog said.

Interested female applicants between 18 and 25 years old with good eyesight, a pleasing personality and at least a height of 5’3” and weight proportional to height may apply at the CEB Training and Development Center located at Domestic Road, Pasay City.
Applicants must at least have completed second year college, should be fluent in English and Filipino and willing to be based in Manila, Clark (Pampanga), Cebu and Davao.
CEB requires applicants to submit their resume with a 2×2 ID photo and credentials; and to undergo a series of interview, training, and practical tests.

Screening of applicants is scheduled from 9:00am to 4:00pm on May 20 and 27 for Manila, May 21 in Tuscany Room of Hotel Veniz in Baguio City, and June 3, 10, 17 & 24, 2009 in Manila. CEB applicants must be in business attire, with full make-up, and hair neatly tied.
Iyog concluded, “We encourage young graduates to apply in CEB. We are a young, fun, and service-oriented firm committed to providing high-quality service Filipino travelers across Asia and the Philippines.”
CEB, the country’s leading domestic airline, has a fleet of 10 A319 and 11 A320 Airbus aircraft and eight turbo-prop ATR 72 aircraft. It expects to take delivery of two more ATR aircraft this year allowing it to open more inter-island routes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Former ATO head refuses to face probe

THE former head of the abolished Air Transportation Office (ATO) has refused to face a special adjudication board that was formed to look into an accusation against him.

Instead, Daniel Dimagiba, suspended deputy director for operations of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said he is willing to be investigated by an “independent, unbiased and objective body where I could get a fair and just treatment.”

“I would like to be investigated because I want to clear my name and for truth to come out, but not by a kangaroo body,” Dimagiba said in a letter to CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron.

Dimagiba’s outburst came in the wake of his preventive suspension for various irregularities, including the issuance of a certificate to operate without authority to an airline company whose aircraft had conducted business in other countries.

Dimagiba said he “condemns in the strongest possible term” Ciron’s decision and the manner by which the latter arrived at his conclusion, which Dimagiba said “doesn’t find a place in a civilized democracy like the Philippines.”

Dimagiba questioned Ciron’s authority to try him before an adjudication board, and threatened to elevate the matter before the proper quasi-judicial or judicial forum.

“The aforementioned documents are mere figments of the imagination of sinister minds, being deplete with basis in fact and in law,” Dimagiba said, referring to the eight charges being leveled against him.

He added the accusations were made against him because Ciron wanted to ease him out from the newly created agency.

Interviewed by the BusinessMirror over the weekend, Ciron said there is no truth to the accusations that he wanted to ease out Dimagiba from the Caap, saying that President Arroyo appointed him to the post after the passage of Republic Act (RA) 9497 creating the Caap and abolishing the ATO.

RA 9497 virtually abolished the ATO, and its former personnel are the subject of new appointments.

Ciron reminded Dimagiba that under the Civil Service Administrative Code of 1987, if a prima facie case exists, Ciron shall notify Dimagiba in writing of the charges, which the latter shall answer within 72 hours.

Ciron said he wrote Dimagiba several letters urging him to answer the accusations being made regarding the alleged irregularities committed, and asked Dimagiba to send back his reply under oath.

“I wrote him several letters but his response was brief, evasive and was not made under oath,” Ciron said.

He said he was forced to create the adjudication board after several letters and documents from complainants came into his possession, where it was alleged that Dimagiba had engaged in some illegal transactions.

Ciron said it was unfair for Dimagiba to say the board is a “kangaroo body” since it members are his former peers in the ATO, including two service chiefs who, like Dimagiba, also rose from the ranks.

“In the end, it is the Caap board of directors that will determine Dimagiba’s culpability, the same board that approved the latter’s appointment to his present position.”

Ciron reminded Dimagiba that it was him who submitted the latter’s name as one of the two candidates for the two vacant positions of deputy director general shortly after the ATO was abolished.

“It would be for Dimagiba’s best interest to submit himself to the jurisdictions of the special board rather than indulge in trivial matters and forum-shopping,” Ciron said, referring to the former’s attempt to seek the help of the media to air his grievances.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Philippine Mars" Flying Boat

The "Philippine Mars" is a flying boat used as a water bomber. Its deployment this year, plus the other "Mars" Flying boats can be read here.

History of these unique machines can be found here

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Aviation Philippines: Mentoring Aviation, Planting The Seed

Aviation Philippines: Mentoring Aviation, Planting The Seed

Philippines Civil aviation deputy probed for airline permits' anomaly

THE head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Director-General Ruben F. Ciron, has ordered the investigation of one of his top officials after getting reports this official issued a certificate to operate to a local airline company that also flies to other countries, among seven other irregularities.

Daniel A. Dimagiba, former acting director of the abolished Aviation Transportation Office, has been suspended from his post as deputy director-general for operations pending results of the probe.

A 3-man special hearing and adjudication board headed by Deputy Director for Administration Eduardo E. Kapunan Jr. with members Andrew B. Basallote, Director for Air Navigation Service, and Wilfredo S. Borja, Director for Air Traffic Service, will do the investigating.

“The creation of the board is to ensure an impartial hearing and adjudication of Dimagiba and to make sure that his right to due process is not violated,” said Ciron.

Dimagiba is accused of having issued an Air Carrier Operating Certificate to Sky Aviation Services, Inc. (SASI) on August 1 last year; and this apparently irregular certificate drew the attention of the Australian aviation oversight authority and the European Union Air Safety Committee, which were worried about its provenance and safety concerns that go with it.

He allegedly issued the certificate despite the absence of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Civil Aeronautics Board or a Temporary Operating Permit, a mandatory requirement.

With the unauthorized certificate, SASI used its two aircraft, RP-C8019 and RP-C8020, to engage in commercial operations, in direct contravention of the Certificates of Registration of the aircraft that were registered for general aviation purposes only.

On February 5, Ciron ordered Dimagiba to explain in writing  his actions but Dimagiba replied with only a copy of his “Letter of Apology” to Daniel Calleja, Director-General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission, dated February 10.

Dimagiba claimed he honestly thought it was within the scope of his authority to issue such certificates while the CAAP was then just newly organized, and  the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9497 creating the CAAP was still being prepared.

Among the charges against Dimagiba are: allegedly collecting an unauthorized P1,500 from each foreign student before giving them flight-student certificates; intervening improperly for “organic pilots” Capt. Jayfred Basawil and Capt. Saturnino dela Cruz by asking Capt. Andrew Florentino and Capt. Ismael Lapus Jr., who are Flight Operations Inspectors, to change the failing grades of the duo; and unauthorized correspondence with and misrepresenting the CAAP before foreign authorities and international organizations.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Singapore Air Show 2010

There are a whole group of us going ot the Singapore Airshow 2010 Feb 2 - Feb 7 next year.

There is also a Wings Over Asia ( Social during teh event

To join us, go to and join up, its free, and look at the events and let us know you are coming

Full details on the airshow are at:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

RP confident of passing FAA safety review

MANILA—The Philippines is confident it will pass a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audit of its aviation safety standards, allowing the country to expand flights to US airports, an official said Friday.

Transportation Department spokesman Thompson Lantion said the creation in 2008 of a new agency, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, to oversee safety standards, was a major step in reforming the aviation sector.

"We are very confident that we'll be able to achieve that (FAA approval), with all the efforts being done now," Lantion said.

He said the FAA's scheduled audit of its aviation sector would take place in October and include a check on safety and the standards of aircraft mechanics and pilots.

Lantion expressed optimism that the Philippines would return to its old status of Category 1, after the FAA in December 2007 reduced the Philippines' rating to Category 2.

At that time the FAA said the Philippines' air transport agency had failed to meet international safety standards.

This prompted the government to create a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, with the power to collect fees to address safety issues and offer better salaries to skilled personnel.

The FAA's decision prevented the national flag-carrier, Philippine Airlines PAL, from increasing its flights to the US from 33 a week or from changing the type or number of aircraft used on those services.

Lantion said there was always the risk the Philippines would be downgraded further and its airlines would not be able to fly to US airports but was optimistic that Philippines officials could address these concerns.

Light plane crashes in Iloilo, student pilot unhurt

A Cessna plane piloted by a student crashed shortly after landing at the New Iloilo Airport yesterday noon.

Radio station dyOK Aksyon Radyo identified the pilot as 20-year-old Kutty Peeyush, an Indian national studying at the Visayas Aerospace College of Technology, a flight school situated just beside the airport in Cabatuan town. He had no companion during the flight.

Peeyush suffered no serious injuries, only pain on the left knee. He was brought to the Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital where doctor’s declared him out of danger.

Officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in the airport did not issue any statement, and would not comment much on the incident, especially on what caused it, except to state off the record that operations were not hampered nor were any flights delayed.

The student pilot reportedly told hospital staff that he lost control of the light plane shortly after touching down at the airport, and veered off to a rice field.

An airport fire truck had to tow the plane so as not to obstruct the runway.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Expanded air pact - Philippines - Singapore

AIR links between Singapore and the Philippines have been expanded to allow for more flights between the two countries.

For travellers, this should result in more choices and hopefully, lower fares.

Under the new agreement which was inked following two days of air talks, Singapore carriers will be able to fly an additional 16 weekly Airbus 320 services to and from Manila.

The same entitlements have been accorded to Philippine carriers.

In addition, Singapore and Philippine carriers will also have greater access to and from other city points in the Philippines, such as Cebu, Davao and Clark.

Currently, airlines on both sides together operate more than 100 weekly services between the two countries - maximising the number of flights allowed under the previous air deal which was signed in August 2001.

Traffic between the Philippines and Singapore has grown by an average of 17 per cent annually since 2004.

Despite the global economic and traffic downturn, traffic grew last year by 12 per cent.

MOT said: 'This is no mean feat considering the decline of 2.2 per cent in international passenger traffic across the Asia-Pacific region.'

Its deputy-secretary (international) Lee Yuen Hee, who led the Singapore team in the negotiations said: 'The expanded agreement between Singapore and the Philippines demonstrates the commitment of both countries to develop closer aviation ties.

'The increased air services would further promote people-to-people ties, boost tourism and enhance bilateral economic relations.'

Philippines CAAP urged to close Catarman airport over safety concerns

SUGGESTION has been forwarded to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to consider the temporary closure of Catarman Airport if the local government will not cooperate in enforcing an aviation rule prohibiting vehicles and people from using the runway for their various activities.

The proposal has been made by several aviation groups, saying that safety is always the paramount concern when it comes to airport operations.

It also came in the wake of the suspension of Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) four-times- weekly Manila-Catarman flight, after the air carrier had to abort several landings in the past owing to people and vehicles on the runway.

In an earlier incident, the landing of a Cebu Pacific ATR-72 turbo-prop plane at the airport in Legazpi City had to be aborted after a vehicle was found running around the runway.

Subsequent investigation showed that the son of the Legazpi airport manager was teaching his girlfriend to drive.

CAAP director general Ruben Ciron suspended the Legaspi airport chief.

Ciron said CAAP has sent five security personnel to Catarman to enforce the rule preventing residents from using the runway as playground, or crossing it willy-nilly aboard their cars, but to no avail.

A few years back, the then Air Transportation Office constructed a perimeter fence around the runway, but residents, whose houses sit cheek-by-jowl with the runway’s edge, have destroyed the infrastructure.

It was gathered that the residents were encouraged by the local government, which filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop CAAP from enforcing the rule that forbids trespassing on the runway and its immediate environment.

A Catarman official said that since the TRO was filed, the runway has often been used by residents to congregate, treating it as a playground, a park and a lover’s lane, all rolled into one.

“At night, it becomes a convenient motel,” the Catarman official said, adding that the paved runway make for an ideal trysting place for lovers, because it is dark and has concrete pavement that makes parking easier.

Keeping the runway free of obstacles is an overriding concern of the CAAP, even if there are no longer regular scheduled flights in that airport.

In an incident some years ago, the pilot of a distressed light plane was forced to ditch in the sea after seeing people and vehicles on the Catarman airport’s runway. The pilot thought that the runway was a provincial road.

CAAP and CEB officials met on Tuesday to resolve the issue.

CEB officials asked Ciron to act decisively in enforcing security measure at the Catarman airport before a serious accident happens.

As a result, Ciron sent a team to Catarman to talk to local officials and convince the residents to avoid congregating on the runway, especially during daytime.

A short-term solution is the reconstruction of the perimeter fence, but funds for that project are not available.

Ciron said the long-term solution is to relocate the runway far from the town so that it would be inaccessible to those who wanted to use it for their personal pleasure.

Part of the runway abuts the Catarman National Park.

Although CEB suspended flights to Catarman, Philippine Airlines and Zest Air continue to fly there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Safety concerns prompt Cebu Pacific to suspend flights to Catarman

STARTING on May 9, Cebu Pacific (CEB) will suspend its four-times weekly Manila-Catarman service because of unresolved airport-safety issues.

“Since we started operations last February there had been three runway incursions by both people and vehicles. Since these incidents remain unresolved despite our repeated request for action by government agencies, we have decided to suspend our flights to Catarman in the interest of passenger safety,” said Candice Iyog, CEB’s vice president for marketing and distribution.

Iyog said the Catarman operations will resume once flight safety is assured and the runway is properly secured for commercial operations.

“We take safety seriously and cannot operate under these conditions. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and local authorities to resolve these open issues,” she added.

CEB started its ATR72 service to Catarman on February 14 with scheduled flights every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

In March one of CEB flights had to abort landing when a motorcycle suddenly entered the runway. The said flight landed safely afterward. This incident was followed by a similar aborted landings by CEB, which prompted the local carrier to eventually suspend its flights to Catarman.

Catarman Airport has been the subject of complaints from the aviation community because of the presence of so many vehicles on the runway during the afternoon. The airport is usually busy in the morning with the arrival and departure of domestic scheduled flights.

However, the presence of people and vehicles on the runway, even when no scheduled flights are expected, proved to be disastrous to a light aircraft when it attempted to make an emergency landing about two years ago.

According to a Catarman Airport employee, the light aircraft had engine trouble and was about to land on the runway when the mass of people and vehicles convinced the pilot that he was headed toward a provincial road, instead of a runway.

The aircraft aborted its emergency landing and ended up ditching in the sea instead, the Catarman Airport official said, requesting not to be named for obvious reasons.

In the meantime, Iyog said CEB will increase its Manila-Calbayog flights to daily, up from three times weekly to accommodate the affected passengers.

“We hope that this issue is resolved soon so we can resume our flights to Catarman and continue to offer our trademark low fares.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

UPS assigns RP market to Aboitiz Transport System

UNITED Parcel Service (UPS), the world’s largest package-delivery company, has assigned its Philippine market to publicly listed Aboitiz Transport System Corp. (ATSC)

Stephen Paradies, chief financial officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), said the American firm also has allowed ATSC to use its worldwide network for express delivery of goods, or those cargoes that will be shipped through air.

AEV owns about 77.1 percent of ATSC. “We were recently appointed by UPS as the agent in the Philippines to handle all courier parcel delivery for UPS into the Philippines and we can use their network for parcel, courier, going outside the Philippines,” Paradies said. It is not clear if the discussions between the two companies involve the entire assets that will be left by UPS in Clark Field in Pampanga when it transfer its intraregional  hub to Shenzen, China, by next year.

UPS said it will still maintain its facilities in Clark, which can sort some 7,500 packages per day.

In an earlier interview, Maurice Gahoc, country manager of UPS Philippines, said UPS is repositioning its Clark operations in a former US military air base camp in Pampanga to target more of the country’s importers and exporters.

“Our Clark operations will handle cargoes to and from the Philippines. But not all cargoes that we handle now will go to our Chinese hub. Some cargoes will still be handled in Clark,” Gahoc said, but declined which type of cargoes.

Aboitiz may use its brand name 2Go for its UPS business for express delivery, or those parcels, documents and other cargoes that should be in its destination between one day to six days, as the company already has formed a joint-venture entity with another firm for its sea-freight cargo movement and forwarding.

Imprimis discusses Piper Acquisition

Imprimis officials in Singapore have confirmed in an e-mail interview their commitment to long-term growth for Piper Aircraft and to the continued development of the PiperJet. They also confirm that the source of the funding for the deal between Imprimis and former owner American Capital was the Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Finance.

Imprimis spokesman Keith Morrison was asked if the sale is basically from one holding and investment company to another.

“In essence, yes, but we feel this deal goes beyond the transactional level because Imprimis is focused on fostering a stable and long-term future for Piper Aircraft,” Morrison said. “Beyond the deal, Imprimis is making a significant capital commitment to enable the company to grow and secure its future, build on its iconic reputation, fully support its R&D programs and exciting innovations such as the PiperJet, and enhance its existing product line. It will also increase Piper’s competitiveness by expanding its sales and marketing initiatives and dealer-development efforts.”

Morrison was asked if the purchase was made under an Imprimis investment fund the company operates for the Brunei government. “The capital for the investment is sourced from the Ministry of Finance of Brunei Darussalam, but the government is not actively managing the investment. The investment is solely managed by Imprimis, a private and independent investment firm with offices in Singapore, Bangkok, and Brunei.

<“We want to ensure the public [understands] that Piper, despite the change in shareholder, remains a U.S. company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters and operations in Vero Beach, Fla. As we have communicated, Imprimis is dedicated to ensuring the long-term success of Piper and is committed to keeping Piper’s headquarters, production, and product development facilities in Vero Beach.”

The company was asked to confirm its support for the PiperJet. “We are fully supportive of the continued development of the PiperJet, and we are delighted to see that PiperJet continues reaching new milestones with regularity. We are excited about this development as well as other innovations that continue to come through from the company such as the recently launched Garmin G1000 avionics suite in the Meridian.”

Imprimis has no pilots or officials with an aviation background on staff and will rely on the expertise of Piper officials, Morrison said. “We have confidence in the current management team knowledge and expertise in the general aviation industry. In fact, we view the management team’s depth of talent and business direction as integral to our decision to acquire Piper.” Morrison added there are no immediate plans for management changes: “Imprimis believes that the current management team has the depth of talent to propel Piper’s growth both in the U.S. and Asia.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pal joins the LCC market. A Good analysis of how it works ..

PAL joins the budget airline bandwagon

As low cost airlines buck the global aviation trend of declining revenues, more Philippine airline companies are embracing the budget business model. 

This seems to be the case even with Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country's and Asia’s oldest commercial aviation company. 

Long considered a legacy airline—as opposed to a budget airline—PAL, however, is learning that embracing the new business model could be thorny.

In recent days, travelers have been flocking the offices of PAL after ticket buyers could not complete their flight bookings via the Internet. PAL has launched its “Real Deal” promotional fares where travelers could avail of prices slashed by more than half if they purchase the tickets online. 

Cecil David, one of the many who wanted to avail of the promo, told ABS-CBN News while waiting at PAL’s Cubao office that she has been trying to book online since 1 a.m. on Monday. By Tuesday, she still could not complete the transaction on PAL’s site. “I could have saved a lot. Can you imagine, I could go to Sidney with a ticket that's only $318?”

PAL's one-way fares on economy class to other international destinations have been cut as well. A roundtrip flight from Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver could be had for only $488 for travels made between May 16 and August 31 this year. Travels to Jakarta and Hong Kong could go as low as $48, and to Bangkok, $58.

While the promo fare rates exclude surcharges and fees, the savings have been attracting a throng of PAL website visitors, causing the site to bog down. 

In a statement, the airline company said, “PAL is experiencing an unusual number of website visitors who want to avail of its Internet Promo Real Deal. PAL is implementing measures to get in touch with these customers to assist them in completing their transactions.”

Been there done that

These birthing pains are not new to Cebu Pacific, PAL’s fierce competitor.

Cebu Pacific, the first budget airline in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, also tapped the Internet to sell low-priced ticket to travelers destined for local and international destinations. Cutting on all possible costs on top of the fares, the Internet transactions was the low cost airline’s way to reduce add-on expenses traditionally given to middlemen, such as travel agents.

When Cebu Pacific introduced fares way below PAL’s rates both for local and regional destinations, its servers also bogged down when excited passengers visited the site. The company had to build up strong consumer service and corporate image groups to address numerous complaints. 

Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific’s spokesperson, had to constantly remind the public that the promotional fares are only applicable to limited number seats. She and the rest of the airline’s top officers hammered the message that passengers who would like to avail of the promotional fares have to book their tickets way before the flight date itself, otherwise the travelers would likely lose the lower-priced tickets to someone else. 

This reinvented the Filipino’s previous mindset, which was shaped by legacy airlines like PAL.

Before, to avail of promotional fares from, say PAL, one could take his chances that the airline would place the tickets on sale a few days before or on the flight date itself. The logic would be that the airline has already sold enough seats in a particular flight to cover its operating costs and meet required margins. The tickets sold and considered under promo are just financial gravy. 

Aviation expert Benjamin Solis gave an illustration: “If the seats normally cost P3,000, and the number of minimum seats worth P3,000 have already been sold, they can now afford to sell the extra seats at promo prices, say P1,000. If 8 people decide to avail of the P1,000 tickets, then the company earns an extra P8,000.”

Solis added, “To an airline, P8,000 is better than nothing at all." After all, an airline seat is considered a “perishable product." 

Cash management

Budget airlines, however, have an entirely different mindset. Solis explained that the number of seats that a budget airline throw away for a promo has been pre-computed. "They know the historical performance of a flight, which is dependent on seasons, fiestas, graduations, holidays, name it, they have added those variables in their computation."

"They already know that, at a certain period of the year, a certain number of Filipinos will travel by air. So they know that if they have one million seats for that period, they could sell, say 650,000 seats without batting an eyelash. They could then afford to sell the 350,000 seats for, say P1. That’s still P350,000 additional funds for the company," he explained.

Why then would budget airlines want travelers to book ahead?

Solis said that as soon as the budget airline has come up with a good estimate of how many seats could be included in the promo, it immediately launches campaigns to entice travelers to book their tickets online. Again, the budget airline’s carrot for booking ahead is that someone else could buy the lower-priced fares ahead. 

In other words, budget airlines are highly dependent on revenue management models—they compute how many seats could be sold for less—and the cash management team. The latter plays on the time value of money concept as applied to the cash paid by early bookers.

This means that since early bookers buy their tickets way ahead of the flight date—sometimes up to 3 months ahead of the flight—the company could invest the fares collected to earn extra. 

Solis explained that since the budget airline also earns from the payment of the early bookers, by the time the flight date nears, it is not as desperate anymore to sell extra seats. In fact, most of the time, fares sold on the day of or a few days before the flight itself are even priced higher than the normal rates. 

“This shows that the DNA of a budget airline is very different from a legacy airline,” Solis stressed.