Saturday, November 13, 2010

Singapore Firm to Expand Facility in Clark

According to the Clark International Airport Corp., aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) firm SIA Engineering Co. (SIAEC) will invest close to P1 billion to put up a second hangar at the facility.

The expansion program will allow SIAEC to service the carriers newest Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft. It will also generate an estimated 300 new jobs, while more allied industries may emerge as a result of the investment in the 2,367-hectare Clark air hub.

In a statement yesterday, CIAC president and CEO Victor Jose Luciano revealed that the construction of the second hangar will start sometime this month.

SIAEC will be building a bigger hangar to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777, he said.

In November 2008, SIAEC, together with joint venture partner Cebu Pacific Air, began construction of the first hangar for the Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft in Clark. This, in turn, paved the way for the further development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).

The first hangar cost an estimated P800 million. It started operations in July 2009, providing maintenance service for the Airbus A320 aircraft of various foreign and local airlines.

Starting this month, we will see the development of the second, much larger hangar in Clark, Luciano said. This will generate no less than 300 direct jobs and about 200 indirect jobs for our people in Central and Northern Luzon.

The SIAEC facility is expected to start operations by the end of 2012.

Singapore-based SIAEC is an internationally renowned aircraft MRO company providing total maintenance solutions to wide-bodied aircraft in the service of more than 85 international airlines worldwide. It has 24 joint ventures and subsidiaries across nine countries that form the SIAEC Group.

Its services include airframe, component, engine, and aircraft conversions and modifications.

SIAEC also provides support services at the Changi International Airport in Singapore, as well as line maintenance support services in Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

<<INQ7 Interactive Inc, Source: The Financial Times Limited -- 11/11/2010>>

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Friday, November 12, 2010

New aviation officials well qualified –DoTC

MANILA, Philippines – The newly appointed officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) are qualified, and they bring to their jobs a “wealth of expertise and experience that are precisely needed to bring our aviation sector to the next level,” according to Undersecretary Dante M. Velasco, of Department of Transportation and Communications.

Velasco pointed out that the new appointees are expected to make up for the lack of real aviation experience among the current crop of top CAAP executives. “This is seen by industry experts as the major stumbling block to the country’s ability to move from Category 2 to Category 1,” he added.

The DoTC Secretary is pushing the CAAP to get back the Category 1 status, thus CAAP executives are now focused on accomplishing “every actionable item” in the identified hurdles toward getting once again the Category 1 status,” he said.

Reacting to a statement that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) wants a CAAP that is “professionalized,” Velasco countered that “these newly designated executives are precisely aviation professionals in the highest order and therefore meet the requirements of ICAO.

Current CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi, who reportedly objected to the appointments of the new CAAP officials, had extensive experience in shipping, but not in aviation. Earlier, a Congressman during the hearing on DoTC’s budget, asked about Cusi’s aviation experience, adding that what the country’s aviation authority needs are “real aviation experts”.

Those who were recently appointed to key CAAP positions by the CAAP Board are: Ramon Gutierrez, deputy director general for administration; Napoleon Garcia, deputy director general for operations; Wilfredo Borja, assistant director general III (Air Traffic Services); Andrew Basallote, assistant director II (Air Navigation Services); Edgardo Costes, assistant director general II (Aerodrome Development and Management Services); Wilson Mirabona, assistant director general I (Aerodrome Development and Management Services); and Andres Lauriall, assistant director general I (Civil Aviation Training Center).

“Gone were the days when non-aviation people were appointed to critical posts in aviation: they have just been replaced by air sector experts,” the DoTC official said.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

CAAP - Gunning after Cusi

‘In gunning after Cusi, the Palace might be cutting off the nose to spite the face.’

SO-CALLED presidential "desire letters" used to apply only to nominations to the boards of government owned and controlled corporations. Hence it is rather odd for MalacaƱang to tell the Department of Transport and Communication that it is President Aquino’s "desire" that seven line positions in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which are not vacant in the first place, be filled with his nominees.

We could dismiss the Palace action as just another example of its high-handed management style. What Noynoy wants, or probably more accurately what his buddies want, they get. And niceties, not to speak of legalities, be damned.

The Palace meddling is unwarranted. The CAAP charter provides that "the Director General shall be responsible for the exercise of all powers and the discharge of all duties of the authority and shall have control over all personnel and activities of the authority."

The background to this flap is that the Palace wants Cusi out. He, however, isn’t budging. Probably some bright guy in the Palace though that surrounding him with deputies not of his own confidence might just be the aggravation that would prompt him to throw in the towel.

There are two strikes going against Cusi. First is his alleged lack of qualifications for the job and the second is his being an appointee of former President Gloria Arroyo.

Critics of Cusi says he has no business handling aviation because his background is maritime (his previous posting was as administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority). They could be right, although some people involved in the aviation sector have been giving Cusi good marks since he came on board last March.

The more grievous sin of Cuisi, however, is his being identified with the last administration. But the apparent return of politics in the running CAAP (formerly the Air Transport Office) could mean the continued downgrade of Philippine aviation and what this means to the travel and tourism sector.

Under ATO, highly technical positions were given to people with political connections while the welfare of check pilots and air traffic controllers ended up in the bottom of official priorities. This was one of the reasons the US Federal Aviation Authority downgraded the Philippines from Category 1 to Category 2 status.

In gunning after Cusi, the Palace might be cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CAAP - Cusi outflanked as all his top aviation officials replaced

THE Philippine Transport Department has dislodged seven aviation officials to give way to appointees with “more experience and expertise,” an official told the Manila Standard Wednesday.

The seven had been placed on floating status and would have to wait for their new designations, Transport Undersecretary Dante Velasco said.

“As career officials, they can choose to stay or leave the agency,” Velasco said in a phone interview.

He said the Transport Department was also planning to appoint a new director of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to replace Alfonso Cusi, “But we are still studying that from a legal standpoint.”

Cusi refused to comment on the new appointments, but said he had already written the Transport Department requesting it to follow the procedure for career positions that should have security of tenure.

The new officials of the Civil Aviation Authority who replaced the seven took their oath Wednesday last week, he said.

He confirmed the appointment of the following officials:

• Ramon Gutierrez as deputy director general for Administration

• Napoleon Garcia as deputy director general for Operations

• Wilfredo Borja as assistant director general II for Air Traffic Services

• Andrew Basallote as assistant director general II for Air Navigation Service

• Edgardo Costes as assistant director general II for Aerodrome Development and Management Service

• Wilson Mirabona as assistant director general I for Aerodrome Development and Management Service

• Andres Laurilla as assistant director general I for the Civil Aviation Training Center.

“We just got the right people. The new government needs the right people to get things done,” Velasco said, adding that with their oath-taking on Wednesday, the appointments were considered “final” and were approved by the majority of the Civil Aviation board.

Velasco said the seven aviation officials who were replaced were appointed by the Arroyo administration, but they lacked the skills to upgrade the aviation sector.

“We need to make up for lack of aviation experience and expertise of the people now leaving the CAAP and [for the Philippines] to get back the Category 1 status,” Velasco said.

He said officials of the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization had ordered the Philippines to professionalize the CAAP and appoint officials based on their technical expertise.

“We need to do that to get back the Category 1 status and lift the EU ban on our carriers,” Velasco said.

In 2007 the US Federal Aviation Administration placed the Philippines on a list of 21 countries on Category 2 from Category 1 “for failure to provide safety oversight of its air-carrier operators in accordance with the safety-oversight standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority.”

The Philippines’ aviation facilities still failed in the second audit conducted bythe FAA last year, so those stayed under Category 2 in aviation safety standards.

“The [new officials] came from the private entities involved in aviation,” Velasco said.

“We are confident that with the new composition of the CAAP, we can pass the FAA audit.”

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PAF Gets Brand-new Trainer Airplanes

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is set to fly again when it receives four brand new trainer airplanes bought this year from Italy through the military’s modernization program.

The four trainer planes, part of 18 on order, will be formally accepted by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena in formal ceremonies to be held at the PAF training school in Pampanga this morning.  Witnessing the event will be Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin.

PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said this initial delivery is part of the 18 basic trainer aircraft which the Air Force is acquiring from Augusta of Italy with a total cost of P621,671,409.06.

The package includes the airplanes, spare parts, training and integrated logistical support.

Okol disclosed that the Pilot Training System of the Philippine Air Force currently uses both the T-41 and the SF-260 aircraft for primary and basic training respectively.

“The hand-over of T-41 aircraft from the Republic of South Korea in 2009 provided more primary trainer aircraft for the Philippine Air Force Flying School,” Okol said.

“These (SF-260) trainers will significantly increase the number of available basic trainer aircraft of the PAF for flight training,” Okol said.

According to the PAF spokesperson, the PAF is lacking in training aircraft, with at least 150 to 170 Air Force officers forced to wait in line for actual training to fly an aircraft.  The arrival of the four SF-260 Marchetti planes will boost the training capability of the Air Force and ease the backlog of students required to undergo flying exercises.

Okol however clarified that even if the officers wait in line to get flying time, their time was not wasted as they are required to undergo training in other career fields related to intelligence, computers, logistics and maintenance.

The propeller-driven AF-260 is the world’s most successful screener and primary trainer.

Fully acrobatic by design, the SF-260 offers flight characteristics and performance levels that allow effective pilot candidates screening early in the program and minimizes the costs incurred when students wash out on jets or complex turboprops.

The SF-260, with Allison 250-B17D Turboprop engine, has a span of 8.35 meters, length of 7.40 meters, rate climb of 2,200 feet per minute and maximum level speed of 228 KTAS (knots true air speed).  All SF-260 variants are available with either piston or turbine engines.

Some 900 SF-260 have been sold to 27 different military customers, civil professional flying schools and private operators worldwide.  The Italian Air Force bought 30 brand new units.

The expected completion of delivery for the remaining 14 aircraft will be in the first quarter of next year.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

PAL willing to spend P2.5-B to end labor woes

Local carrier Philippine Airlines said it is willing to put to rest the messy labor row between the management and labor union with a P2.5 billion settlement.

In a statement on Wednesday, PAL president and CEO Jaime Bautista said they will abide by the recent decision of the labor department to enhance the separation benefits of the 2,600 employees who will be laid off.

Last week, labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz recognized PAL management's prerogative to outsource 3 non-core operations to be more cost-competitive in an industry where the players have increased and fares have raced to the bottom.

Bautista said the planned spin-off of the in-flight catering, airport services, and call center reservations was initially estimated to cost about P2 billion, based on the earlier decision by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that was contested by the union.

The modifications in the financial and non-cash benefits will cost an additional over P400 million, according to the PAL statement.

"This is a bitter pill we have to swallow," Bautista said. The airline has suffered financial losses due to the residual impact of the high oil prices and the limits in additional flights as a result of the regulatory decisions of the US and the European Union aviation bodies.

To finance the higher separation packages, Bautista said they are considering availing of additional loans from government banks, particularly the Development Bank of the Philippines or Land Bank of the Philippines. "If this is not possible, we will seek financing from other PAL creditors," he added.

"By not contesting the DOLE Secretary's decision, especially the grant of additional benefits, PAL hopes to finally implement a long delayed corporate restructuring," he stressed. "They will all receive their respective separation pay and benefits that are much more than what the Labor Code provides."

He then urged PALEA leaders to also respect the DOLE decision.

But PALEA president Gerry Rivera said they would exhaust all legal means to prevent the layoff.

PAL's position comes a day after the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA), the ground crew union at PAL, staged a protest action at the historic Mendiola Plaza historic Don Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) near MalacaƱang despite PAL's threat of charging them with abandonment of work.

The labor department has averted a strike that could have paralyzed the operations of the local carrier. The Aquino government, which has initially intervened when the labor issues has worsened mid-year, had said they will abide by the decision of the labor department.

No jobs lost

Bautista added that the 2,600 PAL employees who will be laid off can seek employment again at the companies that will absorb the outsourced services.

"Sec. Baldoz, no less, assured PALEA there will be no jobs lost in the spin off. Aside from receiving their benefits, all affected workers have the option of applying for positions in the third party service providers if they so choose," he said.

e-Ventus, the call center arm of telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), will absorb the reservations and phone customer service operations, while Sky Kitchen and Sky Logistics, both owned by Cebu-based businessman Manny Osmena, will soon provide the outsourced catering and airport services, respectively.

"At the end of the day, PAL wants to be remembered not for the 2,600 jobs it lost, but the more than 4,000 it saved," Bautista ended.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Phone jammers to be used vs human traffickers

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will put in place cell phone jammers at immigration zones in airports in order to immobilize human traffickers.

Syndicates make use of mobile phones in communicating with their cohorts and victims.

In a press release, Immigration Officer-In-Charge Ronaldo Ledesma said the necessary equipments are now in place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

There are currently 4 jammers and a server at the immigration zone there, costing around P400,000.

The equipments were bought during the previous administration. The BI had to stop using them due to protests from airline companies and other airport stakeholders.

A permit is needed from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for their re-activation. BI property section chief John Tugade said he has already applied for a permit with the NTC.

Ledesma said similar jammers will be installed in other international airports in the country once the bureau gets the necessary budget.

“These cellphone jammers will definitely go a long way in bolstering our fight against human traffickers,” Ledesma said.

Reactivating the jammers is one of several measures that the BI and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) have adopted in its fight against human trafficking.

Ledesma also announced 3 weeks ago the adoption of the so-called “S-line” queuing system for all arriving and departing passengers at the NAIA and other airports to prevent collusion among human traffickers and rogue immigration personnel.

The “S-line” aims to prevent international passengers from choosing which immigration counter to line up to process their travel documents.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Airline pax to pay OverTime of Bureau of Customs Officers

Airline passengers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will have to shell out an extra $1 to $2 when they leave the country with the impending implementation of a new policy to pay for the overtime pay of Customs agents at the airports.

The move was prompted by a Court of Appeals ruling favoring international carriers, through the Board of Airline Representatives, that they are not bound to shoulder the overtime pay of Customs agents.

The ruling in effect passes on to passengers the responsibility of assuming this financial obligation.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said an additional cost of $1 to $2 may be imposed to finance the allowances and overtime pay of Customs agents.

“The additional $1 to $2 would either be incorporated in the terminal fee or would be paid as a separate account in the airport,” he said.

He said that Customs personnel have not received such monetary benefits since July last year.

This non-payment of overtime pay had Customs agents refusing to render work beyond the prescribed eight-hour period.

The CA ruling also obliged the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the passengers at the airport such as the OFWs, for instance, would have to shoulder the cost.

However, representatives of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and the Bureau of Customs, Immigration and Quarantine, among others, have yet to approved the agreement.

For the meantime, Alvarez said the agency has secured airlines' commitment to pay at least five months’ worth of overtime pay and allowances in exchange for the services of Customs employees until the yearend.

The proposed MoU came after the Customs agents threatened to refuse working beyond the working hours last week.

The BoC is looking at implementing the measure amid the government's limited room to take on additional cost. The Aquino administration is aiming to contain its budget deficit within the P325-billion ceiling.

Passengers departing for other countries are each charged a terminal fee of P750 as well as travel tax of P1,650.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Air Force: 4 new trainer planes from Italy to boost pilot training

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday expressed confidence that the scheduled arrival of four new trainer planes from Italy will boost the training of its pilots.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said the four SF-260 trainer planes, which are expected to arrive by Thursday, are part of the 18 basic trainer aircraft purchased by the Philippine government for P621.67 million from Agusta, an Italian aircraft manufacturer.

"The arrival of the four SF-260 Marchetti planes will boost the training capability of the Air Force and ease the backlog of students required to undergo flying exercises," Okol said.

Currently, the Air Force lacks training aircraft, with at least 150 to 170 Air Force officers forced to wait in line for an actual training to fly an aircraft.

The SF-260 was originally manufactured by SAIA Marchetti, which was later purchased by Agusta and Alenia Aermacchi, both Italian firms.

The remaining 14 SF-260 planes will be delivered to the Philippine in the first quarter of 2011.

The 18-plane package deal, bought through the AFP modernization program, already includes spare parts, training and integrated logistical support, Okol said.

In 2009, the Philippines acquired from South Korea 15 T-41 aircraft, which along with SF-260 are used by trainees of the Philippine Air Force Flying School in their primary and basic flight training.

The propeller-driven SF-260 offers "flight characteristics and performance levels that allow effective pilot candidates screening early in the program and minimizes the costs incurred when students wash out on jets or complex turboprops," Okol explained.

The SF-260 is currently used various military institutions, civil professional flying schools, and private operators worldwide

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Airphil Express eyes more regional routes

Budget carrier Airphil Express eyes to aggressively expand its regional routes in the next few months, despite experiencing a shortage in pilots recently.

Airphil Express executive vice president and chief operating officer Cesar Chiong said they may add 5 more destinations in Asia within the first half of next year as they take delivery of new aircraft.

The airline plans to start flying to Hong Kong, Korea, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and China, but this would "depend on air entitlements."

"If [we] get the traffic rights, of course, we will tap those markets," Chiong said.

Airphil Express launched last week its maiden international flight to Singapore, one of the most profitable and high-growth routes for airlines operating in Southeast Asia.

Domestically, it just started flights to Legazpi, Tagbilaran, Catarman, and Ozamis.

However, after launching the new destinations, Airphil Express experienced a shortage in pilots which forced it to cancel or delay several local flights over the weekend.

In a text message to, Airphil Express vice president for marketing and media Maria Java said the problem did not have an impact on their expansion plans.

"We do not expect this circumstance to happen again," she said.

In August, Airphil Express' affiliate, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), was also forced to cancel flights after 25 of its pilots suddenly quit for higher paying jobs abroad.

Java clarified that last weekend's pilot shortage was "in no way related to PAL concerns. Our incident is isolated."

"All our operations are now back to normal and on schedule," she added.

Airphil Express, which is owned by tycoon Lucio Tan, was formerly Air Philippines until it was folded into the operations of PAL and its budget airline arm, PAL Express. In October 2009, Airphil Express began operating PAL Express flights on behalf of PAL.

In the next 2 and a half years, Airphil Express will spend $250 million for the acquisition of up to 20 more aircraft to service both domestic and expanding international operations.


Meanwhile, Airphil Express is targeting to undertake an initial public offering (IPO) within 2 to 3 years, Chiong said.

The proceeds will be used to fund expansion.

"Timing is very important. The local economy is expected to grow faster with the recovery of the US economy. That will do us good," Chiong noted.

Airphil Express' rival, Cebu Pacific, raised P26.8 billion or $611 million in its October 27 IPO, making it a record amount in dollar terms for a Philippine listing.

Cebu Pacific, a unit of Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings Corp., expects to increase its international capacity by 25% in 4 to 5 years via new foreign routes.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Baldoz: PAL layoff lawful, reasonable

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz yesterday said the planned lay off by Philippine Airlines is both lawful and reasonable.

"The termination is in accordance with the finding that management’s prerogative to close and outsource services in the three departments was done in good faith and was in accordance both with the CBA and the Labor Code," said Baldoz.

"The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) affirmed the management prerogative of PAL to organize, plan, direct and control operations, as well as the prerogative to reorganize its corporate structure for the viability of its operations," she said. She said that based on the CBA and Article 283 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, PAL’s closure of three departments, namely in-flight catering, airport services (cargo handling), and call center reservations operations, was reasonable and lawful as it was a measure to address PAL’s accumulated net losses and deficits.

Among the causes of the losses cited by PAL were the surge in fuel prices in 2008, the ban on PAL from the air space of 27 European Union member states and IATA’s suspension of PAL remittance facilities.

PAL said the lay-off is needed for it to survive in a highly competitive airline industry.

Baldoz said these conditions ultimately addresses the need to meet one of the two criteria in making a "valid termination" under the CBA, which is whether the exercise of the management prerogative was done in a just, reasonable, humane, and lawful manner.

The DOLE head said PAL was also able to meet the other criteria, which was the observance of the 45-day consultation period, required in the CBA, before implementing the reorganization.

"PAL more than complied with the 45-day consultation requirement under the CBA, considering the consultations and preventive mediation conferences between the PAL and the PALEA (PAL Employees Association) before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board as far back as September 2009," said Baldoz.

Aside from noting that the layoff was done above board, Baldoz also emphasized the "upgraded" benefits allocated for the affected employees.

The benefits include a separation pay equivalent to 1.25 percent per year of service; additional gratuity of P50,000 per affected employee; vacation leave balance that is 100 percent commutable to cash regardless of years of service; sick leave balance that is 100 percent commutable to cash regardless of years of service; extension of one year of the medical and hospitalization package; and trip pass benefits depending on the number of years of service.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Metro Pacific, San Miguel take first crack at PPP

TWO of the Philippines’ top conglomerates have first dibs at two infrastructure projects originally lined up for the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) initiative. Kenneth Tanate, director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Infrastructure Staff, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) removed the P21-billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link would no longer be included in the PPP lineup for 2011.

The NLEX-SLEX Link is an unsolicited proposal submitted by Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which is a unit of Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

The project would involve constructing a 13.2-kilometer elevated road through the Philippine National Railway tracks from the end of NLEX at C3 to the beginning of Skyway 1 at Buendia.

Besides the NLEX-SLEX Link, the planned City Terminal for Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) likewise was removed from the PPP list.

A consortium led by Philco Aero is in negotiations with state-run Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) for the construction of the new DMIA terminal.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) earlier said it was in talks with Philco Aero for the development of the airport terminal.

Besides MPIC and SMC, other parties have announced they were interested in the PPP projects.

South Korea’s military pension fund was one of them, according to the Board of Investments (BOI).

Separately, Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Cristino Panlilio told reporters that he urged the Military Mutual Aid Association during a visit to South Korea last week to infuse a part of its $5-billion fund into the PPP projects that the Aquino administration would roll out.

Tanate said the government has “13 bankable projects” ready for bidding next year.

The NEDA official said the P70-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-Light Rail Transit (LRT) Expansion Project was broken into three projects.

The first project involves the operation and maintenance of LRT Line 1 (LRT 1) North Extension Project, while the second is the construction of the LRT 1 South Extension Project.

The third project is the Common Ticketing System Project for LRT 1, LRT 2 and MRT Line 3.

Tanate said the government decided to break the P70 billion MRT/LRT Expansion Project to prevent an investor from getting too big a project, and instead distributing it to more bidders.

Other projects to be rolled out next year are the P11.3-billion MRT Line 2 Extension Project, the P7.54 billion New Bohol Airport, the P4.36 billion Puerto Princesa Airport, the P10.5 billion CALA Expressway- Manila-side Section, and the P3.08 billion Daraga International Airport.

Also included in the PPP list are the Privatization of the Operation and Maintenance of the Laguindingan Airport, and the Supply of Treated Bulk Water for Metro Manila, the costs for both of which have yet to be determined.

For 2012 and beyond, the government identified 73 projects under its PPP portfolio.

These include airports, roads, rails, water supply, irrigation, school buildings, health facilities, solid waste management services, and other social support projects.

Of these projects, 28 require P263.5 billion in investments.

In the power sector alone, 43 projects will be lined up for PPP with an indicative amount of P348.5 billion

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

PAL workers protest DoLE decision

Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees on Monday started a series of protest actions against the recent decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to allow the mass layoff of some 2,600 workers.

At 10:00 a.m., dozens of members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (Palea), the ground crew union at PAL, held a symbolic protest at the main office of the Department of Labor and Employement (DoLE) in Intramuros, Manila.

The PAL employees brought a mock coffin with the label “RIP PAL workers” and also an effigy of Labor Secretary Baldoz in the image of the fictional “Kamatayan.”

The protesters carried posters with messages such as “Job Security ng PAL Workers, Inilibing ni Baldoz,” “Baldoz Halloween Order and Lagman Midnight Decision, Parehong Anti-Labor,” “Baldoz, Mumultuhin ka ng Halloween Order Laban sa PAL Workers,” and “Kung Di Mo Kaya si Lucio Tan, Baldoz Resign.”

Gerry Rivera, Palea president and also vice chairman of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said that “The DoLE’s version of Oplan Kaluluwa is releasing an order on the eve of the Halloween holidays that revives the half dead proposal to permit contractualization at PAL. Contractualization means not just the death of job security at PAL but also killing the oldest union in the country.”

“Nobody will allow themselves to be murdered without putting up a fight. This is a fight for decent jobs and protection for our families,” Rivera added.

Palea said the protests will continue tomorrow with a march from the DoLE main office to Mendiola by several hundred PAL employees together with supporters from PM and other labor groups.

Rivera lambasted PAL’s argument that it will close down if the layoff and outsourcing move is not allowed.

“This is simply blackmail and black propaganda meant to intimidate workers into accepting the unacceptable. Revenue-generating departments such as airport services and catering will be outsourced to service providers which are partly-owned by Lucio Tan. PAL may be losing but the second wealthiest Filipino keeps on getting richer,” he argued.

He called on PAL workers to reject the termination notices that will come in the wake of the DoLE decision affirming the mass layoff plan.

“Palea calls on its members not to accept any termination paper and not to sign any employment contract with service providers. All for one and one for all in the fight for job security and union security,” he said.

Rivera recalled that when the mass retrenchment was initially implemented last April, employees were asked to sign termination papers in one room and then to transfer to another room to sign employment contracts with service providers.

“Let us not be tricked into swallowing the bitter pill of retrenchment now that it has been artificially sweetened with a slightly higher separation pay,” he insisted.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Unraveling the mysteries of fuel

Fuel is an item that is very important for the proper operation of our aircraft. Even though the world is full of “fuel experts,” it is still a bit of a mystery.

I recently received three questions that are actually interrelated. The first has to do with water in a plane’s fuel tank. The person changed out the fuel cap and gasket, stored the aircraft in an unheated hangar, and still found water in the fuel sump. Why? Any hydrocarbon fuel, such as 100LL, will absorb a small amount of water from the air. The amount of water suspended will depend on the temperature of the fuel. During the day, the fuel will absorb water from the air, then when it cools down at night some of the water can drop out and become free water. Because of surface area, the next day the fuel will absorb more water from the air and not the free water that had previously dropped out. The bottom line is that free water will always be present and all FBO tanks and aircraft tanks must be sumped daily or before every flight.

The second question deals with how long 100LL can be stored before being sold at an FBO. Although not specified in the ASTM D-910 spec for 100LL, the limits for the oxidation tests are designed to ensure that the fuel will be suitable for service after a year in proper storage.

There are two major concerns here. One is that not all storage is under ideal conditions. The other is turnover. At an FBO, the tanks are not usually emptied completely prior to the addition of fresh fuel, which means a part of the old fuel is left in the tank. When you consider that the fuel can sit awhile at the refinery, then at the distributor, then at the FBO, and finally in the fuel tank on an airplane, you can understand that, over time, especially if the storage is not up to par, there can be some problems with the fuel. This older fuel can allow gum formation and other problems, so it is very important that all parties who handle the fuel follow proper handling procedures and practice good inventory control.

The third question came from Bent Esbensen, who stated that the Danish government is demanding that all mogas contain at least 5% ethanol. He was wondering if this fuel would be OK to use in his plane. I understand that avgas cost $11.50 a gallon and mogas cost only $6.50 there, but the answer is still NO.

This answer is based on many factors, but the biggest is that ethanol is a polar solvent, which means that it will absorb water — and the answer to the first question tells us where the water comes from. Add the effect of aging from the second question and you have a real problem. In addition, even 5% ethanol blends will attack rubber and metal fuel system components and can cause premature failures.

So remember: Water is present in the fuel system no matter what; FBOs and other fuel systems should practice inventory and proper quality controls to ensure that avgas is sold within a year; and that ethanol is a no-no, even at the 5% level.

You can contact Ben at

Posted by Ben Visser · October 31, 2010

Ben Visser is an aviation fuels and lubricants expert who spent 33 years with Shell Oil. He has been a private pilot since 1985.

Monday, November 1, 2010

CEB’s new Airbus A320 arrives

The Philippines largest national flag carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) took delivery of its 22nd brand-new Airbus aircraft from Toulouse, France.

This is the first of 22 more brand-new Airbus aircraft deliveries until 2014. It joins the Philippines’ youngest aircraft fleet, now composed of 10 Airbus A319, 12 Airbus A320 and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft. It has an average fleet age of 3.21 years.

CEB’s brand-new Airbus A320 is equipped with the latest avionics from Thales and Rockwell Collins, both global leaders in aviation electronics. The aircraft will be based in Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to support flight increases and network expansion.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

Owners of Cebu Air consider airports bid

The family business that controls Cebu Air, one of Asia’s biggest budget airlines, is considering bidding for some of nine government-owned airports in the Philippines that are to be privatised by president Benigno Aquino III beginning next year.

Lance Gokongwei, chief executive of Cebu Air, said JG Summit Holdings, the Gokongwei family company, was thinking seriously about acquiring some of the airports, which are to be privatised as part of a $9bn infrastructure upgrading programme.

By Roel Landingin and Kevin Brown in Manila

Published: November 1 2010 00:09 | Last updated: November 1 2010 00:09

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org