Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The ‘Mustangs’ of the Philippine Air Force

On Wednesday, July 1, the Philippine Air Force led by Lt. Gen. Oscar H. Rabena, marks its 62nd founding anniversary. It was in July 1947 that the Philippine Army Air Corps was renamed the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and elevated to the status of a separate major command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Col. Pelagio A. Cruz, at age 37, became the youngest Filipino Air Force officer to rise to one-star rank as commanding general of the PAF.

Although the PAF is officially 62 years old, its seeds were sown way back in March 1917 when Governor General Francis Burton Harrison approved the creation of the Philippine National Guard. The legislation provided for an air unit composed initially of 15 officers and 135 enlisted personnel. The group included Lt. Leoncio Malinao of Cebu. He would become the first Filipino military pilot flying solo for the first time in a Jenny N-4 biplane in April 1920.

One of the early priorities of Colonel Cruz as PAF chief was the establishment of a fighter base for the new command. When the US government turned over Floridablanca Army Air Base to the Philippine government, Cruz immediately set in motion the development of what today is Basa Air Base. Built by the US Army Air Corps before World War II, it was improved and used by the Japanese during their occupation and later lengthened by the US Air Force as a bomber base in 1945. Floridablanca Air Base would be renamed Basa Air Base in honor of Lt. Cesar Basa, the first Filipino pilot to die in aerial combat against Japanese fighter aircraft. Basa Air Base would serve as the home of the fighter units of the PAF.

The Sixth Fighter Squadron was organized under Lt. Lucio Java, followed a few days later by the activation of the Seventh Fighter Squadron led by Capt. Fidel T. Reyes. Both units came under the Fifth Fighter Group commanded by Maj. Benito Ebuen.

The Air Force by then had a fighter base and a fighter group, and in the autumn of 1947, the first three P-51s (Mustangs) arrived from Clark, ferried by Lieutenants Jesus Singson, Eulalio Nierva and Constantino Completo. US Air Force (USAF) records indicate that at least 31 P-51s were transferred to the PAF, but the actual total may be higher. Philippine sources claim that only 18 Mustangs were on hand with possibly the balance stored in reserve at Clark. But with so few pilots then available, there were enough planes for everyone. Incidentally, “Mustang” comes from the Spanish “Mesteño,” a wild horse of the American western plains, directly descended from horses brought to the United States by the Spaniards, possibly in the 16th century.

Throughout the Mustang’s career in the PAF, it would be used primarily as a fighter-bomber. Air-to-air combat training was also part of its role but this was not one that was taken seriously, for three reasons: first, there was a lack of potential enemies; second, the PAF had no effective fighter control organization (there was no aircraft control through radar equipment); and third, the USAF at Clark in effect took care of air defense for the Philippines. Nevertheless, the PAF Mustangs at times trained with USAF units as well as those from Thailand and Taiwan.

The increasing number of available pilots led to the creation of a third fighter squadron, and the Eighth Fighter Squadron was activated under Capt. Julian Yutuc. The Fifth Fighter Group became the Fifth Fighter Wing.

The original batch of Mustangs dwindled due to accidents and there was need for additional aircraft. In 1950, a delivery of 50 P-51s was made, bringing up the units to full strength with 12 to 15 pilots assigned to each squadron. Each pilot had a “personal” aircraft assigned to him, with others held in reserve. Their planes were marked with names like “Shark of Zambales,” “Chinita,” “Red Knight,” and “Cannonball.”

The Mustangs participated in anti-Huk operations, particularly in the Sierra Madre ranges. In 1952, Operation Four Roses was launched, with the Mustangs flying 68 sorties against Huk camps. In 1954, the Sulu Air Task Group (or SATAG) was formed to assist Army units operating in Sulu against Haji Kamlon. The main armaments of the Mustang, in addition to six .50-caliber machineguns, were 250-lb fragmentation bombs and 300-lb GP (general purpose) bombs. Napalm was also used at certain times, but only with permission from headquarters in each specific case.*

With the end of the Korean War, the USAF resumed the delivery of Mustangs to the PAF and in 1955, the last 24 planes were turned over to the Philippine government. This was the high point in the Mustang’s career in the PAF. Aircraft and pilots were plentiful and in 1956, the Fifth Fighter Wing was able to put up 74 Mustangs for the Independence Day flypast.

The Blue Diamonds acrobatic team of the PAF started out with Mustangs. The team leader was Lt. Jose Gonzales, with members Lieutenants Isidro Agunod, Ricardo Singson, Pascual Servida and Cesar Raval. The team’s last appearance using Mustangs was at the Philippine Aviation Week celebration in December 1954.

In 1959, after a crash in which the pilot was killed, PAF headquarters retired the Mustang. The number of fatal crashes involving Mustangs was most likely about 30. “Two squadrons’ worth of pilots killed” was how Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Casabar expressed it. A final flypast with four aircraft was hastily arranged. Lt. Romeo Reinoso, Class 1958, had the privilege of making the last Mustang landing in the PAF.

Just to add a personal note to this column—the Mustang fighter pilot will continue to remain close to my heart. The first pilot who showed me the world from an upside down position was then-Lt. Juan Estoesta, fresh from a stint with the fighter unit in Basa. A number of fighter pilots were transferred to Fernando Air Base to serve as instructor pilots in the flying school. In a PT-13 open cockpit biplane, Estoesta allowed me to break away from the bonds of the earth and soar into the wild blue yonder on my own.

Lt. Marcelo (Lito) Barbero, another Mustang fighter pilot, would check me out in the T-6 advanced trainer. Normally he would be shouting at me, “Sanamagan, Farolan, you’ll get us both killed with your stupidity!” Then one morning, after a series of takeoffs and landings, he stepped out of the cockpit with his parachute and above the roar of the engine, he shouted, “Sanamagan, Mon, you’re on your own! Report to me after landing.”

There are so many other names that should have been included in this article—all Mustang fighter pilots who gave the PAF much to be proud of. On the occasion of the PAF anniversary, we salute them with assurances of our respect and affection.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hmmm - Philippine Aviation Authority to spend P14 million for Bible study???

The Plot Thickens .....

MANILA, Philippines – The newly created Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is currently spending more than P14 million for a “values education” and “purpose driven life” seminar for all its employees.

Employees of the CAAP, who requested anonymity, told The STAR that retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) general Ruben Ciron, CAAP director general, has allotted a budget of P14,819,080 for a supposed “Spiritual Advancement Values Education” (SAVE) program that started in September 2008.

The program reportedly entails an employee attending “multi-level” 25-hour values education and “purpose-driven life” seminars supervised by Ciron’s consultant, Bishop Ernesto Sacro who, like the CAAP chief, is a retired military general or a Philippine Navy commodore.

So-called “organic” CAAP employees, or those that have been absorbed from its forerunner, the Air Transportation Office (ATO), characterized the SAVE program as a highly suspicious and unnecessary undertaking that uses up much of the agency’s funds and even diverts its focus as it tries to regain a Category I status with the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that it lost in December 2007.

“We should be focusing our resources and our energies towards satisfying the US FAA requirements so that we can regain Category I status which is the main reason why the CAAP was created,” a source told The STAR.

“But with this Bible study program of the CAAP leadership, we have wasted our funds as well as the precious time of our employees,” the source added.

The CAAP was formed upon signing into law of Republic Act 9497, otherwise known as the CAAP Law, in March 2008.

The passage of the CAAP Law was rushed as the country scrambled to regain Category I status with the US FAA.

The Philippines’ downgrade to Category II status particularly hit the country’s leading carrier, Philippine Airlines, since it was prevented from opening more routes to and from the United States and from upgrading its aircraft on these routes.

Organic CAAP employees had earlier aired dissatisfaction with Ciron’s appointment of numerous fellow retired military officials to key CAAP positions without the requisite civil aviation technical expertise and training.

To avoid questions on the appointment of these unqualified retired military officers, Ciron hired them as “consultants,” the sources said.

Cheaper AirAsia tickets; it scraps administration fee

It stands to lose up to RM400mil in revenue yearly

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd stands to lose up to RM400mil a year at the group level with the abolishment of its administration fee from its fare structure but the airline says it will replace lost revenue with income from higher passenger growth and its ancillary business.

“Reducing the cost of fares is the only way to get people to travel. We believe this will help increase our load factor and make us even more competitive,” group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

There are also other ways of generating income, such as hotel, food (onboard) operations and priority booking, he added.

From left: AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani, Datuk Aziz Bakar (middle), regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan and Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes at the media conference

Speaking at a news conference yesterday to announce the administration fee abolishment – a first for a major airline – Fernandes said scrapping the charges would create savings for passengers who now only have to pay the seat fare and airport taxes.

The administration fees range from RM22.50 to about RM43 per route (one way).

“We scrapped fuel surcharges last year and still managed to make record profits. We feel the same way about this ,” he said

AirAsia Bhd returned to the black with a net profit of RM203.15mil in the first quarter of 2009, after two consecutive quarterly losses previously.

Revenue increased 33% to RM714.2mil due to better ancillary income and stronger passenger growth.

“The past six months were tough for airlines all over and AirAsia has only grown stronger.

“None of our targets have been changed despite the economic conditions and outbreak of the A(H1NI), we are not affected by the recent flu scare; we are doing well and growing our capacity,” Fernandes said.

“Next week, we are expected to let go of all of our 16 Boeing 737s.

“We will then focus on a brand new A320 fleet which will help lower fuel costs,” he said. Currently, the carrier has 62 A320s.

He added that AirAsia was on target to fly more than 20 million passengers this year against about 18 million last year.

Fernandes also urged airports worldwide to reduce charges to further encourage air travel.

“The only other charge that is not controlled by us is the airport charge,” he said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia chairman Datuk Aziz Bakar said the carrier was withholding the RM65mil arrears in airport tax owed to Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd as discussions over the settlement of the airport tax debt between the parties were still ongoing.

Currently, passengers pay RM6 in airport tax for domestic flights and up to RM51 for international flights.

Fernandes said the RM6 airport tax for domestic flights was “all right”.

However, he said the RM51 for international flight at the low-cost carrier terminal should be reduced to RM10.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Photo of Zest Air Overshoot at Caticlan Philippines

Zest Air plane overshoots runway in Caticlan (Again ....)

Philippines - ILOILO - A Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit) plane overshot the runway at Caticlan Airport in Malay, Aklan past 7 a.m. Thursday.

The plane exceeded runway 6 of the airport, but no one was injured, officials said.As of posting, it was not yet clear why the plane overshot the runway.The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the Zest Air plane had 54 passengers, one flight mechanic, and four crew.

Meanwhile, CAAP ordered the cancellation of all flights to Caticlan airport until 6 p.m. Thursday while they are investigating the cause of the incident.Over thirty flights will be affected by the cancellation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Philippines - Officials dismissed on graft cases

PRESIDENT GLORIA Macapagal-Arroyo has sacked a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) assistant regional director and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial director for graft and corruption. She also suspended five other officials, including an assistant secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), for less serious offenses upon the recommendation of the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC). "

The President has dismissed DAR Bicol region assistant director Louise Cynthia Matza and DTI Sorsogon Provincial Director Leah Pagao. We found them guilty and President Arroyo has approved of our recommendation to have them dismissed," PAGC Chairman Constancia de Guzman said. The President also suspended NAPC assistant secretary Dolores de Quiros-Castillo; Commission on Higher Education Region 10 director Eloisa Paderanga; Bureau of Corrections director Joselito Fajardo; Department of Interior and Local Government director Rodolfo Feraren; and Bureau of Internal Revenue director Alfredo Vasquez Misajon. Ms. de Guzman said the latest incident brought to 134 the number of sanctioned officials.

Philippines - DND buying P3-B helicopters

THE Department of National Defense is acquiring combat/utility helicopters for the Air Force at an estimated cost of P3 billion though negotiated purchase after the failure of two biddings.

The helicopter acquisition is part of the Philippine Defense Reform Program, which was put forward by Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro

Philippines - CAAP - Ciron denies P14M for seminars

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Tuesday strongly denied having spent P14 million for “values education and purpose- driven life” seminars for its employees.

Director General Ruben Ciron said not a single centavo was spent in the seminars held at the central office and eight major airports for about 2,000 participants.

He added the program remains unfunded to date and that the program is yet to be submitted to the CAAP board for approval and allocation of a budget.

Ciron said that the former Air Transport Office officials are now facing graft and corruption charges and that some of them are resorting to disinformation campaigns to malign the CAAP and its efforts to professionalize the agency.

As part of its defense against such “dirty tactics” and its priority to restore the Naia to Category 1 status as well as turn the agency into a highly professional world-class aviation body, Ciron said it has held the seminars after weeding out undesirables and replacing them with personnel qualified under the international set of standards.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RP, UK panels to hold talks next month to amend air-services deal

THE Philippine air panel will hold bilateral negotiation with its counterpart in the United Kingdom next month to amend the air services agreement (ASA) between the two countries, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) on Monday said.

“The air talks will be held July 7 to 9. Basically, the main issue in the upcoming air talks is to be able to update the agreement and hopefully include the European Union Community clause in the updated agreement,” said CAB Deputy Executive Director Porvenir Porciuncula in a phone interview on Monday.

Under the existing air pact between the Philippines and the UK, each country is authorized to field seven flights a week for airlines using bigger aircraft such as the Boeing 747, and maximum of 10 weekly flights for smaller aircraft.

“Even if there is no demand, we are open still to discussions to possibly amend the ASA. If there will be proposals to operate the UK-Manila route, then why not? Right now, there is no Philippine carrier mounting flights to UK and vice versa,” added the CAB official.

The Philippine air panel was supposed to hold similar talks with Cambodia this month. “But we did not get any confirmation from them so it would be postponed,” added Porciuncula.

The CAB is a member of the Philippine air panel. The other members are composed of officials from the Departments of Transportation and Communications, of Foreign Affairs, and of Tourism; Clark International Airport Corp.; and representatives from local airline companies.

They are set to hold bilateral negotiations to amend the existing ASA with China, Italy, Iceland and Korea soon, said Porciuncula.

In May, the Philippines and Spain sealed a new ASA, fielding 28-weekly flights for each country. From Manila to Madrid and Barcelona, there were seven flights per week awarded to the Philippines. To Madrid and Barcelona from Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, 14 weekly flights were allocated.

Other points in the country, except Manila and Clark, were allotted seven flights a week. The same goes for Spain in which daily flights were also made available, except for Mardid and Barcelona.

Also, Manila was granted rights to service 200 tons of cargo per week while Clark got 300 tons per week. “For cargo, seven flights per week were also granted,” said CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla.

This was the eighth air pact sealed by the Philippine air panel since the start of the year. Last month a new deal with Singapore was finalized.

ASAs were sealed with Brunei and Australia last March; Kuwait and Bahrain in February; and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in January.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zest Airways orders Airbus A320

LE BOURGET - Philippine budget carrier Zest Airways has placed a firm order for a medium-range Airbus A320 airliner, Airbus announced at the air show here on Wednesday.

The airline already operates two of these aircraft which it bought on the market for used aircraft.

Airbus did not give the value of the order, but the catalog price for the aircraft is about $77 million (55.4 million euros).

Asian, low-cost airlines boost Airbus at air show

LE BOURGET, France (AP) — Asian and low-cost airlines defied worries about the global recession and placed dozens of orders with Airbus at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday, in sharp contrast to rival Boeing, which reported no new sales.

Planemakers at the world's biggest air show are trying to coax airlines and governments to open their pocketbooks and buy more aircraft despite plunging passenger loads and revenues.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders declared that Tuesday's sunny skies — after pelting rain on Monday's opening day — boded well for business.

Airbus announced two firm orders from Vietnam Airlines and the Philippines low-cost airline Cebu Pacific worth $1.8 billion on Tuesday. Vietnam Airlines ordered 16 Airbus A321 single-aisle jets worth $1.4 billion and pledged to buy two more A350-XWB planes.

The airline made a deposit and signed a memorandum of understanding for the two A350 planes, which falls short of a firm sale and means Airbus does not count the order in its overall tally.

Cebu Pacific made a firm order for five single-aisle A320s worth a total of $385 million at list prices. Airlines often negotiate substantial discounts to catalog prices, particularly in tough economic times.

Kuala Lumpur low-cost airline Air Asia ordered 10 A350-900 jets and placed options for five more. The list price for the 10 jets would be $2.4 billion.

Boeing's vice president for international corporate communications, Charlie Miller, shrugged off the Airbus announcements.

"Airbus and Boeing approach air shows in a different way. Boeing doesn't save up orders to announce at air shows. That has been our policy for years. Our policy is to announce orders as soon as they are firm. And the tally is updated weekly," he said.

Boeing has sought to concentrate on its military programs. The head of its air refueling tanker programs expressed confidence in the U.S. jet manufacturer's chances to win the rematch with Airbus' parent EADS for a multibillion-dollar contract with the U.S. Air Force.

Boeing Vice President Dave Bowman said his team is "pumped and ready to rock" when the Air Force issues its request for offers in the coming weeks.

Both rivals sought to minimize expectations this year amid worries about credit markets, the global economy and the unexplained crash of Air France Flight 447.

"This is not the time to expect huge orders, but there are still orders coming in because the situation is different from region to region" and company to company, Airbus' Enders told a news conference. "What counts for our numbers, our financial health, is not orders but turning our backlog into delivery."

He also sought to reassure the company's thousands of workers amid cutbacks across the aviation industry.

"We are very much interested in keeping stable the most important asset we have in our company ... our skilled workforce," he said.

Russia's Sukhoi won attention and domestic orders in a bid to revive the country's civilian aircraft industry. Sukhoi notched up 28 more orders for its new Superjet 100 regional airliner, a day after signing a letter of intent with Hungarian national carrier Malev for 30 aircraft.

Moscow-based Avia leasing company placed a firm order on Tuesday for 24 of the planes, while Spain's Gadair European Airlines ordered two jets with an option for two more. The value of the deals were not released.

SuperJet International is a joint venture between Italy's Alenia Aeronautica and Russian jet maker Sukhoi Civil Aircraft.

French regional aircraft maker ATR and the Spanish carrier Air Nostrum signed a contract for the purchase of 10 ATR 72-600s, plus options for 10 additional aircraft. The deal, announced on the occasion of the Paris Air Show, is worth some $425 million, including options.

Toulouse-based ATR says it's the world leader in the 50- to 74-seat turboprop market.

Gulf airline Etihad Airways announced orders Tuesday for 239 engines for its Airbus and Boeing planes worth up to $7 billion, from GE, Engine Alliance, IAE and Rolls-Royce.

So far this year, Boeing — which is cutting 10,000 jobs — has taken orders for 73 planes, but with cancellations of 66, the net order intake is only 7 jets.

The industry gathering has been shaken by Air France Flight 447's still-unexplained May 31 crash into the Atlantic Ocean while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Investigators have only two more weeks to find the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from the Airbus A330 jet before the signals emitted by small beacons on the black boxes start to fade. Without them, the cause of the crash that killed all 228 on board may never be fully known.

The Paris Air Show is marking its 100th anniversary. It opened to industry on Monday, and then to the public Friday to Sunday

Cebu Pacific to double fleet with add'l Airbus orders

MANILA - Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific or CEB is more than doubling its current capacity with the addition of new aircraft that could bring its Airbus A320 orders to 20.

Cebu Pacific now operates brand new Airbus fleet with 21 Airbus (10 A319 and 11 A320) and seven ATR 72-500 aircraft.In a press release, Asia’s 3rd largest low-cost airline said it increased its orders from 10 to 15 and is thinking of buying five more.

At 20 aircraft, the total investment required would reach $1.3 billion. Delivery of the 180-seat aircraft will be from October 2010 to November 2013.CEB president and CEO Lance Gokongwei said the additional orders are needed because of the airline’s expanding domestic and international operations."

This expansion will more than doubles passenger capacity and enable us to provide our trademark low fares for new domestic and international destinations. We expect to increase our passenger numbers from nine million this year to 15 million in 2013," Gokongwei said.

"The global economic downturn notwithstanding, we are experiencing a surge in the number of passengers flying Cebu Pacific mainly because of our low fares. We expect this growth to continue, hence our decision to further expand our fleet," he said.Cebu Pacific carried 6.7 million passengers last year and expects to carry nine million this year. From 2010 onwards, the numbers should continue to grow as more aircraft are deployed to serve more destinations.

Altogether, CEB has now placed firm orders of 27 A320 Family aircraft with 12 already delivered. “We currently operate 21 aircraft from the A320 family, including nine leased aircraft, with an average age of just 1.9 years.” Lance Gokongwei emphasized.The new A320s will be powered by CFM International’s CFM56-5B engines (worth $140 million) which are very efficient and have better fuel consumption. The engine also meets the latest environmental protection standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization for its low carbon dioxide emission.

The airline had earlier signed a $100-million OnPoint solution agreement with GE Aviation’s services business. The 12-year service contract includes general maintenance and repairs, parts procurement, technology upgrades, engine leasing, and overhaul of the CFM56-5B engines.CEB operates flights to 15 cities in Asia and 32 domestic destinations

Cebu Pacific Expands CFM56-5B-Powered Airbus Fleet; Places $155 Million Engine Order

Cebu Pacific has selected CFM International's CFM56-5B engine to power 10 new Airbus A320 aircraft in a firm engine order valued at approximately $155 million U.S., including spare engines. The airline is scheduled to take its first aircraft in October 2010, with deliveries continuing through November 2013.

CEB, the leading low cost airline in the Philippines and the third largest LCC in Asia, operates flights to 46 domestic and international destinations. It also offers the most flights to the ASEAN region from the Philippines with operational hubs in Manila, Cebu and Clark. CEB continues to show leadership in innovation and technology. It was the first local airline to introduce E-ticketing, pre-paid excess baggage, and seat selection in the Philippines.

By selecting the CFM56-5B Tech Insertion configuration, Cebu Pacific continues to take steps in reducing its operating costs. Over the engine's life cycle, CFM56 Tech Insertion will provide the airline better specific fuel consumption, which translates to better fuel burn and, as a result, lower CO2 emissions. The engine also meets the new International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Committee of Aviation Environmental Protection standards (CAEP /6) that took effect in early 2008

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Philippine Gas Prices to Rise Again

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 3) Four oil firms will raise oil prices effective Tuesday, officials said on Monday.

Effective 12:01 a.m., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. will raise gasoline and diesel prices by P0.50 per liter and kerosene price by P1 per liter, said vice president for communications Bobby Kanapi.


Qantas changes Direction, moving Maintenence from Philippines back to Australia

Qantas has shelved projects to float engineering, pilot training, freight and Frequent Flyer units as separate businesses, citing the poor economic environment.

Ceo Alan Joyce said some of the units could not make money - and their only customer was Qantas.

Joyce also has canned a freight strategy of buying assets like Star Track Express, to build up the business and spin it off in an initial public offering as well as a joint-venture engineering facility in Malaysia for the Airbus A380. Qantas also is moving Airbus A330 maintenance from the Philippines to Australia and in-house engineering and maintenance functions are being stepped up.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Global air carriers urged to resize amid crisis

MANILA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for a major resizing and reshaping of the entire air transport value chain as airlines battle the ongoing global economic crisis.

Airlines are expected to post losses of $9 billion this year with an unprecedented 15 percent revenue drop that will see industry revenues shrink by $80 billion to $448 billion.

“I am a realist and I don’t see facts to support optimism. The industry is in survival mode. Whether this crisis is long or short, the world is changing. Travel budgets have been slashed and consumers will need to reduce their debt. It will not be business as usual in the post-crisis world. Governments, partners and airlines must use this crisis as an opportunity to build a stronger industry. That means resizing and reshaping,” IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani told top industry leaders gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the 65th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit.

The international gathering was also attended by leaders of the Philippine air transport industry.

IATA’s Simplifying the Business Program has given the industry a headstart on cost cutting. In 2008, $4 billion in cost savings were achieved with 100 percent e-ticketing and the deployment of common use self-service (CUSS) kiosks.

“This was only the beginning. We have our eyes set on another $10 billion in savings by improving baggage management, travel processes and with e-freight,” Bisignani said.

Bisignani noted that the burden of change must be shared across the industry value chain. “Resizing and reshaping is not just a problem for airlines. Everyone in the value chain lives off our revenues. All must contribute to industry change,” he added.

He also urged a resizing and reshaping of the relationship between airlines and governments. “Our relationship with governments must move from punitive micro-regulation to joint problem solving,” he said, citing four areas for enhanced cooperation.

To make aviation greener, aviation’s emissions will fall by seven percent in 2009 – five percent from the fall in demand and two percent as a direct result of the industry’s united four-pillar strategy to address climate change.

“Airlines have taken a monumental decision. Today we have committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020,” Bisignani said. Airlines have set three important sequential goals: first, 1.5 percent annual improvement in fuel efficiency until 2020; second, carbon-neutral growth in 2020 and third, a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.

To protect citizens, Bisignani said: “We must spend the $5.9 billion that airlines and their passengers pay for security more wisely by focusing on the threats, rather than the 99.9 percent of travelers who are not a risk.”

He also noted that airlines are investing billions in new avionics to fly more efficiently, reduce delays and improve environmental performance.

“Air transport is a responsible industry – in good times and in crisis. Today’s situation is unprecedented – the most difficult ever. Governments and partners must understand that we are struggling to survive in a new and harsh reality. We are, however, resilient and capable of great change. Together we must turn challenges into opportunities to be safer, greener and profitable,” he said.

Forty-Seven year-old crash remains mystery: shootdown, sabotage, or something else?

Forty-Seven years ago an airliner vanished over the Pacific. It just evaporated. To this day, just what happened to it is unknown, but speculation is rife – speculation still fueled by the eyewitness reports of those aboard a tanker who saw the craft’s destruction.

March 15, 1962 a Flying Tiger Line L1049H Super Constellation, bound from Agana Naval Air Station in Guam to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines simply ceased to exist. N 6921C, Flying Tiger Flight 739/14, disappeared at 13º13’ North Latitude, 140º00’ East Longitude – over an all but bottomless patch of the Pacific, an abyss called the Mariana Trench. This deepest of all depressions in the Earth’s crust is an astonishing 6.78 miles deep. It is--at the bottom of the world--that fractured, frigid waters enfold the remains of “21 Charlie.”

21 Charlie, operating as a charter flight for the Military Air Transport Service, was ferrying American Army personnel from Travis Air Force Base, California to Saigon, to a country we once called South Vietnam. There were 107 people on board that airplane. One of them was my stepfather. He was the co-pilot.

Bob Gazzaway was a pugnacious, plucky sort of guy who’d survived all that life could dish out – and that included being a Naval aviator during World War 11. In command of the Connie (the nickname of the Super Constellation), was Captain Gregory P. Thomas, one of Flying Tigers’ most experienced pilots.

21 Charlie’s path across the Pacific was placid. An Aircraft Accident Report obtained by thisExaminer.com reporter from the Civil Aeronautics Board (the predecessor of the National Transportation Safety Board) says the weather that night was good – broken cumulus clouds, no turbulence, and moonlit visibility of 15 miles – the kind of night airmen relish.

At 22 minutes after midnight, 21 Charlie radioed its position. It was the last the outside world would hear from the crew. About an hour later the crew of the S/S T L Lenzen, a Standard Oil tanker, spotted an explosion in the sky. According to the CAB report, the crew spotted “a vapor trail, or some phenomenon resembling a vapor trail overhead…As this vapor trail passed behind a cloud, there occurred an explosion which was described by the witnesses as intensely luminous, with a white nucleus surrounded by a reddish-orange periphery with radial lines of identically colored lights.”

What happened? The CAB said it couldn’t determine a probable cause.

In the absence of hard physical evidence, rumors ran rampant: engine problems, sabotage, even the accidental shoot down of the Connie by an American missile, an inadvertent act that scuttlebutt said was covered up by an embarrassed Pentagon at the beginning of what would mutate into the most unpopular war in American history.

Lending at least anecdotal credence to the shootdown and sabotage theories is a statement by Captain Duilio Bona. The late award-winning investigative reporter David Morrissey and I obtained a copy of his declaration after filing a Freedom of Information request with the United States government. In his declaration, Captain Bona said some fascinating things. Among the more intriguing: the witnesses aboard the Lenzen were “convinced [that the craft they saw explode was “a U.S. Airplane…on [military] exercise flights.”

One of Bona’s crewmembers, a lookout named Scarfi said, “he saw a jet vapor track,” according to the captain. 21Charlie was a piston-engine airliner. Shortly after the vapor trial, Bona said Scarfi recalled, “a bright light illuminated, as a lightning, the bridge [of the ship].”

Lenzen’s radio operator said there were no distress signals from the aircraft, a statement that led the CAB to conclude in its Accident Report “It can be reasonably assumed” that whatever befell 21 Charlie “happened suddenly and without warning.”

Captain Bona said Lenzen's radio operator of tried “repeatedly” to contact Naval radio stations in Guam, Manila, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima – all to no avail. And that led to Bona’s conclusion “that what we saw was a troubled secret operation.”

Troubled by what, or by whom, Bona never said. A missile? Sabotage perhaps? Again, this was the Cold War, and Vietnam was heating up. In its report, the CAB said when 21 Charlie was parked at Honolulu, Wake Island, and Guam just about anyone could access the aircraft “without challenge…the aircraft was left unattended in a dimly lighted area for a period of time while at Guam.”

In a letter on the disaster the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded the Bureau “did not anticipate [launching an investigation] unless substantial evidence of willful destruction is developed.”

Then there’s a more mundane theory: engine problems. Three days before it disappeared, 21 Charlie had to return to Honolulu when number four engine developed “a significant power loss.”

Shootdown, sabotage or something else? Were the 107 souls on board--96 of them soldiers--the first mass casualties of the Vietnam war? The odds are we’ll never know. 21 Charlie carried no flight data recorder, no cockpit voice recorder. The United States government says evidence of “willful destruction” was never recovered – this despite one of the most massive sea searches in history, a quest covering 144,000 square miles of ocean that employed 1,300 people, 48 aircraft, and 8 surface vessels. “Despite the thoroughness of the search,” concluded the Civil Aeronautics Board, “nothing was found which could conceivably be linked to the missing aircraft or its occupants.”

And so it is, 47 years after the fact, that the fate of the 21 Charlie remains perhaps the most persistent mystery in the annals of aviation – a mystery the answers to which are shrouded by a sea seven miles deep.

PAL rethinks Boeing purchase

FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is reported to be shelving its planned purchase of about six units of the long-range Boeing 777-300ER because the Philippines remains in Category 2 status since its downgrading by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the last quarter of 2007.

The Faa will not allow any Philippine air carrier to mount new destinations in the United States unless Category 1 status has been reaquired through sweeping reforms in the local aviation industry.

Although the former Air Transportation Office has been abolished and replaced by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), its director general, Ruben F. Ciron, is finding that getting back to Category 1 is a long and difficult process.

Ciron, who took over the Caap in June 2008, has discovered that the reported “autonomy” granted by the Caap for him to put in place sweeping reforms is not easily enforceable.

For one, the Caap remains under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), which means reforms must have the approval of Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Pressing more technical men into service means going through the requirements imposed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and having his funds scrutinized by the Budget Department.

The Caap has trouble recruiting highly technical men because of the low salary structure. But when the Caap submitted a salary scale that appears to overtake the levels of those from the DOTC, the latter’s executives balked, demanding to know what technical know-how these men have that they don’t.

When Ciron suspended an assistant for committing eight counts of alleged illegal transactions, the executive refused to submit himself to an accounting before his peers and brought the case before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

The Pasay RTC junked the case, although the Caap said that may not be the end of it.

Caap in limbo; PAL cautious

These difficulties are preventing the Caap from focusing on its main objectives of addressing the problems that the FAA wants solved before the authority is allowed to regain its Category 1 status.

So long as the Caap remains in limbo, PAL has to reconsider its expansion plans, according to sources in the aviation industry.

On December 6, 2006, PAL signed an agreement with Boeing for two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with a purchase agreement for two more aircraft. A separate agreement to lease two additional 777-300ERs from General Electric Capital Aviation Services was signed as well.

Delivery of the four 777-300ERs will commence in 2009. In May 2007, PAL exercised its rights to purchase an additional two 777-300ERs for delivery in 2011.

However, Jaime Bautista, PAL president, is reported to be wary about ending up with airplanes that have no routes to fly, as they are not prepared to enter Europe at this stage when American doors are closed for them to expand.

The effect of the downgrading is that PAL and other Philippine air carriers would not be able to apply for new routes in the United States until the Category 1 rank is reinstalled.

Bautista said that having two new planes is manageable, as they can find routes easily for them, but the third one will be more difficult at this stage of their finances.

The airline intends to fly the triple seven to Canada, Japan and Australia for the time being and will transfer the A340 to Los Angeles by November.

Same caution everywhere

An aviation source said that most international airlines in the world are either deferring or canceling (then buying a cheaper aircraft type) their orders because of the global financial crisis.

          The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine airliner, now considered the world’s largest twinjet and commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven.”

The aircraft can carry between 283 and 368 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a range from 5,235 to 9, 380 nautical miles. It is designed to bridge the capacity difference between the B767 and the B747.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Australian A330 (Same year as Air France) in Cockpit Fire Drama

Australian A330 (Same year as Air France) in Cockpit Fire Drama http://tr.im/om9h

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some interesting thoughts on the Air France Accident from a legal Perspective

Some interesting thoughts on the Air France Accident from a legal Perspective http://tr.im/nZKk There was one Filipino victim in the accident.

Friday, June 5, 2009

AF447 - Accident description

Status: Preliminary 
Date: 01 JUN 2009 
Time: ca 00:15 
Type: Airbus A330-203 
Operator: Air France 
Registration: F-GZCP 
C/n / msn: 660 
First flight: 2005-02-25 (4 years 3 months) 
Total airframe hrs: 18870 
Engines: 2 General Electric CF6-80E1A3 
Crew: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12 
Passengers: Fatalities: 216 / Occupants: 216 
Total: Fatalities: 228 / Occupants: 228 
Airplane damage: Destroyed 
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) 
Location: ca 160 km NNW o São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago (Atlantic Ocean) 
Phase: En route (ENR) 
Nature: International Scheduled Passenger 
Departure airport: Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport, RJ (GIG/SBGL), Brazil 
Destination airport: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France 
Flightnumber: 447 
An Air France Airbus A330-200 was destroyed when it crashed into the sea while on transatlantic flight from Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport, RJ (GIG) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. 
The airplane carried 12 crew members an 216 passengers. Flight AF447 departed at 19:03 local time (May 31) from Rio de Janeiro (GIG). 
Last radio contact with the flight was at 01:33 UTC. The crew was in contact with the Atlantic Area Control Centre (CINDACTA III) when the flight reported over the INTOL waypoint, estimating TASIL at 02:20 UTC. INTOL is an RNAV waypoint located in the Atlantic Ocean, 565 km from Natal, Brazil. The TASIL waypoint is located 1228 kilometers from Natal. TASIL is at the border of the Recife FIR and Dakar Oceanic FIR. 
At 01:48 UTC the aircraft went out of the radar coverage of CINDACTA III, Fernando de Noronha. Information indicated that the aircraft flew normally at FL350 and a speed of 453 kts. 
A preliminary analysis of meteorological information shows that AF447 crossed through three key thunderstorm clusters: a small one around 01:51 UTC, a new rapidly growing one at about 01:59 UTC, and finally a large multicell convective system (MCS) around 02:05-02:16 UTC. 
Over a time span of four minutes, starting at 02:10 UTC, a series of ACARS messages were sent -automatically- from the plane. The first message indicated the disconnection of the autopilot followed and the airplane went into 'alternate law' flight control mode. This happens when multiple failures of redundant systems occur. 
From 02:11 to 02:13, multiple faults regarding the Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) and ISIS (Integrated Standby Instruments System) were reported. Then on 02:13 the system reported failures of PRIM 1, the primary flight control computers that receive inputs from the ADIRU and SEC 1 (secondary flight control computers). The last message at 02:14 was a 'Cabin vertical speed' advisory. 

On June 3, 06:40 UTC, a Brazilian Air Force R-99 plane positively identified four points of wreckage: Various objects scattered in a circular area of 5 km radius; an object 7m in lenght; ten objects (some of which metal) and an oil stain extending 20 km. 

» Air France news releases 
» BBC News 
» Ministério da Defesa news releases 
» Air France Flight 447: A detailed meteorological analysis / by Tim Vasquez 
» Air France Flight AF447. The Last 4 Minutes. / Tim Marshall

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Arroyo wants two more Russian airlines in Manila

President Arroyo asked Russia to name two more carriers and urged Russian tourists to come and enjoy the tourist spots in the Philippines.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said that although Russia has also suffered from the global economic meltdown, its nationals are among the Philippines' top five visitors.Mrs. Arroyo became the first Filipino president that Russian travel industry officials met. “The President wants to hear their thoughts on how to strengthen arrivals from this market,” Durano said in an interview at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.“

These are tour operators who specialize in outbound flights to Asia so this will be a confidence-building measure,” he added.Mrs. Arroyo, who is in Russia for the first time since she became President, arrived in Moscow Tuesday night after attending the commemorative summit between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jeju Island.

Durano said in 2005, Russian tourist arrivals were not even in the statistics of Tourism Department because “the Philippines was not in the map of Russian tour operators.”“But since 2006 up to our forecast for the end of the year, we expect to see that annual growth of Russian tourist arrivals will be at about 40 percent. This is one of the fastest growing markets for us,” he said.In 2008, Russian tourist arrivals peaked at 15,000 and it is expected to reach 21,000 this year.

The Tourism chief described Russian tourists as those “who stay the longest, for about two to three weeks, who go to the Philippines in families in groups of four to five.”“They are tourists who eat and drink the most. They are the best clients any resort or hotel can have,” Durano said.From Moscow, Mrs. Arroyo will proceed to a forum on the global economic crisis at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.“

She will be among the speakers of the Forum’s plenary meeting on June 15 where she will discuss the topic Global Economic Crisis: First Lesson in Moving Forward. She will also have a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,” deputy presidential spokesman Lorelei Fajardo said.

This developed as Durano said that under an air accord, Russian national carrier Aeroflot is the only designated airline that enjoys air freedom rights.“Two months ago, we updated our air services agreement to include multi-airline designation so that it will not be limited to Aeroflot only and multi-point destination so Russian airlines can fly to various points in the country,” Durano said.“

Aeroflot, however, is not that interested in expanding its flights in the country. But Transaero, which is a non-designated airline, is the one that is very aggressive in pushing for the Philippines as a tourist destination,” he added.Transaero is the second largest Russian serving international routes and has chartered flights to Cebu and Manila.Durano said the Arroyo administration will also seek the designation of Vladivostok Asia and S7 (formerly Siberia Airlines) as official carrier.

Transaero and Aeroflot have indicated interest to operate more flights to the Philippines but were reportedly discouraged with the lack of fifth freedom rights under the air agreement.Fifth freedom rights was previously granted to airlines operating in the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, allowing carriers to pick up passengers in Clark and proceed to a third country before returning to their home country.

Zest orders six more MA60s

Zest Air of the Philippines placed an order for six additional MA60s. The carrier, formerly Asian Spirit, already operates five of the Chinese-built aircraft and expects to take delivery of the newly ordered planes starting in October. Two more will arrive in December, with the remaining three coming next year, AVIC's Xi'an Aircraft Industry Co. said. The MA60 has received 92 firm orders, with letters of intent signed for another 70. The MA600 has received 12 orders.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Philippine CAAP personnel question hiring of 100 consultants

CAREER officers and personnel from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to look into the alleged rampant hiring of consultants in the agency at the expense of more senior personnel.

In a letter signed by 63 CAAP officials and employees, copies of which were sent to CSC, DBM and even Congress, CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron was alleged to have “brought along some of his trusted people, friends and military classmates to join him in the CAAP.”

“They were hired as consultants. To date, we have about more or less 100 consultants, but what is bizarre if the CSC is not aware of this, [is that] some of these consultants were placed in regular positions supervising over regular and career personnel,” the letter said.

The complainants said the acts of Ciron, a former Air Force general reportedly close to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, violated CSC Memorandum Circular 26, series of 1997 “prohibiting the designation of consultants, contractual and noncareer employees to positions exercising control or supervision over regular and career personnel.”

While the 63 signatories were from the agency’s Flight Standards Inspectorate Service (FSIS), other divisions in the CAAP were similarly unhappy on how Ciron and his consultants were running the agency.

In a separate position paper, CAAP insiders complained that agency officials have hired many who “have no technical expertise.”

They claimed that many functions are “redundant of that of regular employees.”

They said they will bring the matter to higher authorities, including the “anomalous and highly controversial transfer of P874 million” from the Land Bank of the Philippines to United Coconut Planters Bank, a private bank.

“Granting that it was authorized by the CAAP board of directors, why was the board resolution which authorizes the director general and other CAAP officers to sign and operate a CAAP bank account was signed by proxies not by the regular or principal members of the Board who are the secretaries of various departments such as the Deparments of Labor and Employment, of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, of Justice, of the Interior and Local Government and of Transportation and Communication?” the employees asked.

The employees further claimed that only Ciron and the acting corporate treasurer, who is also his chief of staff, have complete control over these funds.

On May 19, they said Ciron took a P500,000 cash advance “with the information that it has been approved by the Board.”

After the Holy Week, on the other hand, CAAP chief of staff Ronaldo Manlipig reimbursed P59,000 from the CAAP funds covering expenses incurred during official functions by Ciron’s office.

The receipts submitted by Manlapig, however, indicated that most of the expenditures were made on April 11 during an outing at the Eagle Point resort in Mabini, Batangas.

Ciron replied that when he was appointed in July 2008, there were already 71 consultants under Ariel Dimagiba as acting Air Transporation Office director. They were occupying various position including check pilots, cabin crew examiners, librarians, airworthiness inspectors, cardiologists, eye-ear-nose and throat specialists, radiologists and medical review board officers.

“Under my leadership, I have less than that number, and I made sure that we got only local and international aviation industry professionals to assist in the final transition and restructuring of the CAAP,” Ciron said.

He said these positions were filled after a formal selection process was undertaken, involving ATO holdover personnel and newly appointed ones sitting as members of the selection committee.

Eventually, those chosen were formally presented and approved by the CAAP Board of Directors, Ciron said.

He said that the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the ATO from category 1 to category 2 owing to the lack of qualified technical personnel. This is reflected by the 51 percent empty positions of the then ATO’s Aviation Safety Division, indicating that there were no takers for the vacant posts.

“Given this situation, and adhering to the [International Civil Aviation Administration] ICAO’s minimum requirements, there is no other recourse but to source from the Air Force which is about the only sources of highly technical men.” Ciron said in reply to criticisms that he hired mostly military men.

He added that many retired military men have pursued second careers in the private sector and corporate entities but they accepted very low consultancy fees despite their higher educational background and diverse technical expertise.

Ciron said that chief of staff Ronald Manlipig, who is also the current treasurer, would answer the allegations about the alleged illegal disbursement once he returned from a Senate budget hearing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Training Accident in the Philippines - 2 men hurt in plane crash in Bulacan

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines -- An instructor and his student pilot were injured when their Cessna plane crashed on a rice field in the village of Lalangan in Plaridel, Bulacan, at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, police said.

The two men were rushed by residents to a nearby hospital for treatment, according to Chief Superintendent Leon Nilo de la Cruz, Central Luzon police chief.

He identified the pilot-instructor as Captain Danny Yumol and the student as Abdul Muran, an Saudi Arabian national, from the Delta Air Aviation School in the village of Lumangbayan, also in Plaridel.

De la Cruz said plane crashed some 25 minutes after it took off from the Plaridel airfield at 10:50 a.m. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined.

Police said the training plane belongs to Delta Air Aviation.

Air Transportation Authorities will be investigating the cause of the crash, Bantolo said.

Saturday’s plane crash was not the first in Bulacan.

In July 2007, two training planes collided as they were preparing to land at the Plaridel airport, killing two Indian students and a Filipino instructor. Another instructor was injured.

On March 1, 2008, a Cessna 150 of flying school Flightline Aviation crashed in a village not far from the airport, killing both its Filipino flight instructor and an Indian student.

In November 2008, an Arab student and his Filipino instructor were injured after their trainer plane crashed in Bulacan.

Philippines Pasay trial court junks TRO plea of ranking CAAP exec

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Pasay City has junked the temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction sought by the suspended Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy chief, Daniel Dimagiba, for his failure to prove that his suspension would cause him grave and irreparable damage.

Dimagiba filed the petition for TRO against his superior, CAAP Director General Ruben Ciron, who earlier accused him of eight counts of grave misconduct.

Dimagiba, who was assistant secretary of the abolished Air Transportation Office (ATO), was also accused of issuing a certificate to operate without authority to an airline company, whose aircraft operated in other countries. He remains under preventive suspension and investigation by a Special Hearing and Adjudication Board (SHAB).

In a three-page order, Judge Racquelen Abary-Vasquez of Branch 116 of the RTC in Pasay City said, that at this time, the suspension imposed against Dimagiba pending investigation is not a penalty.

“It [suspension] is simply a measure to enable the disciplining authority to investigate charges against Dimagiba by preventing him from intimidating or, in any way, influencing witnesses against him,” Vasquez said.

The order was based on the petition for injunction and damages with prayer for the issuance of a TRO filed by Dimagiba against Ciron, asking the court to restrain the latter from implementing the 90-day preventive suspension issued against him on May 6.

Records show that the suspension order was issued and implemented against Dimagiba on May 8, 2009, following reports of his alleged involvement in several irregularities and anomalies, particularly on the alleged unauthorized issuance of Air Carrier Operating Certificate (ACOC) to One Sky Services Inc.

Dimagiba also allegedly signed pilot licenses without the required medical certificate issued by CAAP medical officers, putting aviation safety at risk.

In his petition, Dimagiba claimed that Ciron has no authority to order his suspension and investigation, and no due process accorded to him.

Dimagiba further alleged that the SHAB is a “kangaroo body,” and Ciron is set to get rid of him “at all cost.”

The suspended CAAP official said the court should issue a TRO against Ciron since his preventive suspension and the conduct of investigation on his alleged anomalies will result in “grave and irreparable injury” to him.

Vasquez, however, explained that there is nothing more to enjoin since the preventive suspension against Dimagiba was already implemented before he sought for a TRO and injunctive relief.

“At this point, it is immaterial whether the plaintiff recognizes the suspension or refuses to abide by the questioned order or both. The established principle is that when the event sought to be prevented by injunction or prohibition has already happened, nothing more could be done in reference thereto,” Vasquez added.

The court also stressed that the TRO was denied because Dimagiba failed to present sufficient and convincing evidence establishing that the implementation of the assailed preventive suspension order and the conduct of investigation will result in grave and irreparable damage.

“In the main, plaintiff Dimagiba’s testimony is speculative, self-serving and unsupported by independent corroborative evidence. If and when his preventive suspension may be found to be without legal basis, he can be reinstated to his former position with back pay,” the judge added.

The court further explained that to order the defendant to refrain from performing acts relative to the investigation of the alleged anomalies committed by Dimagiba is to prejudge the case even before trial on the merits has started.

When the ATO was abolished and replaced by the CAAP last year, Ciron recommended Dimagiba to be one of his two deputies to the agency’s board of directors.

Meanwhile, the CAAP will summon Dimagiba to appear before the SHAB to answer the allegations against him.           

The SHAB will determine Dimagiba’s culpability if any. Its findings will be forwarded to the CAAP board of directors for final decision, since it was also the same body that approved his appointment to his present post.