DOTC Wants NAIA Replacement Near Metro Manila

Cathy Rose A. Garcia,


MANILA, Philippines – The government is looking for a property near Metro Manila to house a new airport to replace the aging Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1) in Paranaque, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

In an interview on ANC’s “Inside Business with Coco Alcuaz”, Abaya said the government is set to conduct a study, with the help of some funding agencies, on the possible locations for a new airport, preferably 20 minutes away from Metro Manila.

“No decisions yet… There are various locations they’re looking at,” he said.

Asked how big a property would be needed for the replacement airport, Abaya said it would have to be between 1,000 to 2,000 hectares.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) appears to be favoring a “twin airport” system, which would involve the development of both the heavily congested NAIA 1 and Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Abaya said he has gotten clearance from the economic development cluster to present two options to President Benigno Aquino.

“Basically option 1 is to masterplan Clark. Invest in Clark, just don’t put all your eggs in Clark. Make sure you don’t stunt its growth. Support the growth of Clark. For NAIA, we maximize NAIA, maximize runway efficiency and terminal capacity. Chances are we’ll max out NAIA in 2018 or 2020,” he said.

“At the same time, conduct a study to determine a NAIA replacement airport, essentially a 20-minute drive from the metropolis. This should be developed, chances are, this would be a 10-year period. Ideally, when this NAIA replacement airport is operationalized, we close down NAIA and sell NAIA,” he added.

As for the second option, Abaya said the only difference is the government will not sell NAIA but instead continue its operations.

“So you have a Clark-NAIA and a NAIA supplement also 20 minutes away from Metro Manila,” he said.

NAIA rehab

The rehabilitation of the NAIA 1 is expected to be completed by November 2014, Abaya said.

“This (rehab) should be done by November 2014, before the ministerial meetings of APEC. It’s quite a tight schedule,” he said.

The DOTC chief said there are also plans to build a new arrival area on top of the current parking lot at the NAIA, but this is expected to be completed by 2015.

As for the NAIA Terminal 3, Abaya said once the government makes its 15% advance payment to Japanese contractor Takenaka, construction will be underway for its completion. “So we’re looking at May or June next year, we’ll have the full NAIA 3 at 100% function,” he said.

United Airlines Adds 2 Weekly Flights to Manila

Source: Michelle Conerly, Pacific Daily News


United Airlines will have two additional flights to the Philippines.

United will be adding daytime non-stop flights on Tuesdays and Sundays beginning Nov. 12 to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, according to a press release sent out on Thursday.

The new flights will be operated using Boeing 737-700 planes, with 12 seats in United Business and 112 seats in United Economy. Flight UA191 will depart Guam at 5:25 a.m. on Tuesday and Sunday and arrive in Manila at 7:20 a.m. the same days, according to the press release.

The return flight, UA190, will depart Manila at 9:55 a.m. on Tuesday and Sunday and arrive on Guam at 3:50 p.m. the same days.

The release also stated that additional flights will increase the frequency of non-stop flights between Guam and Manila to 11 weekly, in addition to twice-weekly one-stop services via Koror, Palau.

“We are excited to increase direct service between the Philippines and Guam, in response to customer demand,” said Sam Shinohara, United’s managing director for business development in Asia-Pacific.

“As Guam’s hometown airline, United continues to make investments on the island and to seek opportunities for growth.”

PH Airlines Named Among Asia’s ‘Most Aggressive’

Source: er


TOULOUSE, France—Philippine air carriers are among the most aggressive in Asia Pacific in terms of fleet expansion, as operators seek newer planes to serve increasing demand while bringing down costs, an official of France-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus S.A.S. said Friday.

Airbus senior vice president for sales Jean Francois Laval said that demand for new planes was expected to ramp up in the coming years on top of existing orders made by the country’s top airlines.

But investments in infrastructure like airports were also needed to match growing demand.

Laval spoke to visiting Philippine journalists at the turnover ceremony of flag carrier Philippine Airlines’ first A330-300 long-range jet, which is part of an order of 20 planes of this model.

Philippine Airlines has firm orders for as many as 65 Airbus planes valued at about $9.5 billion while Cebu Pacific, the country’s biggest budget carrier, said it ordered 49 Airbus planes worth about $4 billion, their respective officials said in previous interviews.

“All the ingredients are there with a high growth rate, young population and a country with lots of islands,” Laval said. “Air transport is the only solution. It is a key enabler of growth.”

“The Philippines is quite aggressive, Indonesia as well, which is logical because these are where growth is fastest in the region,” Laval said, adding that Chinese carriers have also been expanding their fleets rapidly.

Indeed, Asia-Pacific is Airbus’ single largest market in terms of its order backlog, at 35 percent of 5,227 planes worth $735 billion, Simon Azar, Airbus’ manager for twin aisle models like the A330, said in a separate presentation.

With growing demand, both within and outside the region, Asia Pacific is expected to increase its lead in passenger traffic by 2032 to 34 percent compared to 29 percent today, Azar said.

The Philippines, however, would need to ramp up infrastructure investments to support the airline industry, in the form of new airports and highways, Laval said.

“It would need to grow together—you can’t have one behind the other,” he said.

This area is mainly being handled by the Department of Transportation and Communications. But the agency has been having difficulty in bidding out these projects, in particular, those under the Aquino administration’s public private partnership program.

For instance, the P17.5-billion deal to expand and rehabilitate the Mactan- Cebu International Airport, the country’ second-busiest  air gateway, has been delayed several times this year although the DOTC says it can be auctioned off by Nov. 15.

“Transportation is key for most of these countries [like the Philippines],” Laval said, noting that an ideal solution was to build more roads, trains and airports with a large capacity.

AFP Troops Given PAL 20% Discount

Source: Manila Standard Today

ImageFrom September 27, 2013, Philippine Airlines is extending to all active  personnel of the Armed Forces a 20 percent special discount off the base fare on all domestic flights of both PAL and PAL Express, the flag carrier announced Friday.

“This is our own simple way of extending assistance to, and honoring our soldiers, sailors and airmen for their service, hard work and sacrifice,” PAL said in a statement.

The military discount, which was approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board recently, applies to all classes of PAL’s recently introduced customized domestic fares, except Budget Economy.

Covered by the markdown are base fares for Regular Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class on all PAL and PAL Express tickets sold in the Philippines for domestic routes.

Taxes, surcharges and other government fees are not covered by the discount.


Southern Leyte to Get Commercial Fights

Source:  Sarwell Q. Meniano | BusinessWorld Online


TACLOBAN CITY — As projects to improve the Maasin Airport in Southern Leyte get underway, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) plans to introduce commercial flights to the province in the next three years.

Dante A. Lulu, DoTC area manager for Regions 6 and 8, said two projects with a combined cost of P70.5 million are ongoing at Maasin Airport in Barangay Panan-awan.

“We are developing Maasin Airport not just for general aviation but for passenger aircraft. This used to be an airstrip, and now we are slowly improving the facility. The national government will not pour funds if this is not viable,” Mr. Lulu said.

The DoTC awarded in January a P12.92-million runway extension project to Montaño Construction and Development Corp., based in Dipolog City. This will extend the 1,200-meter runway by 195 m.

A P57.58-million contract involving the construction of a passenger terminal building, drainage system, site development and concreting of apron and ramp was also awarded to the same firm three months ago.

“We are also flattening a hill on the approach to the runway to facilitate the building of other structures,” Mr. Lulu added.

The apron and taxiway, designed for the parking of two Fokker aircraft, were completed last year.

Southern Leyte Governor Roger G. Mercado said that Air Asia Zest and Cebu Pacific Air have expressed interest in serving the Cebu-Maasin route.

“This infrastructure would spur economic development and a tourism boom. Its very inconvenient for our visitors now because we are three to four hours away from Tacloban Airport,” Mr. Mercado told BusinessWorld.

The Maasin Airport is presently being used for pilot training using Cessna single engine planes.

PAL, Cebu Pac Seek Entitlements to Italy

Source: Ding Cervantes | The Philippine Star


MANILA, Philippines – Rivals national flag carrier Philippines Airlines Inc. (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) are seeking permits from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to fly to Italy.

PAL is looking at flying to Rome and Milan within the year or early next year using Boeing or Airbus aircraft.

In its application for additional allocation of entitlements to Italy, PAL hopes to fly seven times a week to the Leonardo da Vinci international airport or Fiumicino Airport – the largest airport in Rome.

PAL is also looking at flying seven times a week to Malpensa Airport in Milan.

The Fiumicino airport is the largest airport in Italy and is the sixth busiest airport in Europe while Malpensa Airport is Europe’s 21st busiest airport.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific has filed an application with CAB to fly to Italy seven times a week.

Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei earlier told reporters that the airline is set to meet with EU officials in November to convince them to allow the low cost carrier to fly to the European airspace.

The budget airline has earmarked $4 billion for the acquisition of 49 Airbus aircraft between 2013 and 2021. It currently has a fleet of 47 aircraft and is set to mount its first long haul flight to Dubai on Oct. 7.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla announced last Sept. 5 that the Philippines and Italy have agreed to increase flight entitlements after four decades.

“We got 14 flights per week between the Philippines and Italy. There are 170,000 Filipinos in Italy. Rome and Milan can also be a jump off point for traffic between Southern Europe and the Philippines,” Arcilla revealed.

Emirates Begins Clark-Dubai flights on Tuesday, October 1

Source: Recto Mercene, Business Mirror


STARTING October 1, Emirates will fly direct to Dubai from the Clark International               Airport (CIA), allowing thousands of Filipino migrant workers from Central Luzon easy access to an international airport closer to home.

Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines, will launch its daily nonstop flights from Clark to Dubai on Tuesday, the only international full-service carrier operating westbound from CIA, offering four daily operations between Dubai and the Philippines.

According to recruitment and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani, the opening of this new route will benefit thousands of workers bound for Dubai since they can now board at CIA instead of going all the way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 in Pasay City. The migrant workers’ family that traditionally send off a relative by the jeepload would be spared the money and time by having an airport closer to their home.

Meanwhile, vacationing Filipino workers from Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries will also save time and money using this new route that is closer to the Central and Northern Luzon provinces, bypassing Naia 1 and escaping the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila.

“Filipinos now have the freedom to choose between Clark International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which demonstrates our commitment to our customers,” Gigie Baroa, Emirates Philippines’s country manager, said.

“With this new route, we are reaching more Filipinos who live in Central and Northern Luzon, bringing them and their loved ones closer than ever.”

Clark will serve as the new exit point for the millions of Filipinos working in the Middle East, that has the second largest number of overseas Filipinos, estimated at around 2.7 million, with 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia and 680,000 in the UAE.

The overseas recruitment industry sector, Geslani said, welcomed this new gateway, which represent easy access for those with connecting flights from Dubai to Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabian major cities, including Abu Dhabi, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Baroa said that during CIA President Victor Luciano’s term, passenger traffic at Clark is expected to hit the 1.5 million a year by the end of 2013. The airport has been recommended by the business sector as a viable secondary airport, with the construction of a new terminal building designed to accommodate the gradual increase of passenger traffic.

Emirates will field a Boeing 777-300ER with two class configurations allowing the airline to add more seats for about 350 passengers, Baroa said.

PAL Takes Delivery of First of 20 Long-Range Airbus Aircraft

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar,


TOULOUSE, France – Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Friday received the first of 20 long-range aircraft from Airbus in preparation for the revival of the flag carrier’s flights to the Middle East.

Ismael Augusto Gozon, PAL senior vice president for operations, told reporters flown in from Manila that the acquisition of A330-300s is part of the airline’s fleet renewal program.

Gozon said PAL expects to receive five more A330-300s in the fourth quarter.

The A330-300 has a list price of $239.4 million each. This means PAL would require $4.8 billion for the 20 aircraft.

Besides A330-300s, PAL also ordered 45 A321s last year for delivery between 2013 and 2019. The 65 aircraft combined would cost $9.5 billion.

“This is a milestone for Philippine Airlines. We are now starting the next phases of our fleet renewal, anchored on new generation A330-300s. This aircraft opens up new frontiers in our rapidly growing networks as well as in service innovations for our passengers,” Ramon S. Ang, PAL president said in a statement.

Ang said the new A330 will be used for the inaugural flight to Abu Dhabi on October 1, marking the flag carrier’s return to the Middle East.

“The A330 is earmarked for our Middle East route, which will allow our overseas Filipino workers to fly back to their homeland,” Ang said.

The A330-300 cabin accommodates 414 passengers, configured in two classes — premium economy with 39 seats and economy with 375 seats.

PAL has specified the Trent 772B-60 engine from Rolls-Royce of the UK to power its A330-300 fleet.

Over the last 12 months, PAL has taken delivery of the Boeing 777-300, followed by two Airbus 321s last August.

Philippines a ‘Very Important’ Market for Airbus, Says Exec

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar,


TOULOUSE, France – With the Philippines’ airlines expanding their fleet, it has become a key market in the Asia Pacific for Airbus, an executive from the European aircraft manufacturer said.

“It’s very important and big market in Asia Pacific,” Simon Azar, manager of Airbus Twin Aisle marketing division, told reporters whom Philippine Airlines (PAL) flew in from Manila.

Data from Airbus showed that PAL and Cebu Pacific have placed a combined 171 aircraft orders, 60 of which had been delivered as of June this year.  Other users of Airbus aircraft are AirAsia Philippines, Zest Airways and Tigerair Philippines.

Both PAL and Cebu Pacific have ordered A330-300 aircraft for their long-haul flight, particularly for the Middle East market.

The Philippines’ two biggest carriers are also eyeing to fly to Europe and the US, with PAL leading the way with the resumption of London flights on November 4.

According to Azar, 35 percent of Airbus’ 5,277 aircraft order backlog came from Asia Pacific, including the Philippines. This was followed by Europe, 18 percent; North America, 12 percent; Middle East, 8 percent and Latin America, 6 percent. Airbus’ aircraft backlog was valued at $735 billion.

“We are busy in the next seven years,” Azar said, adding that emerging markets are driving future growth and represent 50 percent of new aircraft demand over the next 20 years.

In Vietnam, for example, VietJetAir on September 25 signed a memorandum of understanding for up to 92 A320 Family aircraft, including 42 A320neo’s, 14 A320ceo’s and six A321ceo’s. The Vietnamese carrier also has 30 purchase rights for the A320 Family and will lease eight more from third party lessors.

This week, VietJetAir, which already has eight leased A320 aircraft, took delivery of its ninth A320, delivered through leasing company AWAS.

Airbus estimates that two-thirds of the population in emerging countries will take a trip in 2032, with first time flyers and a growing middle class fueling this number to 5.2 billion from 2.2 billion by then.

Growing tourism and liberalization in Asia, Africa and Latin America will be the sources of growth in the next 20 years, Airbus said, with Asia Pacific leading world traffic and growing at a 5.5 percent annual clip.

Alizee Genilloud, Airbus media relations manager for Southeast Asia and Japan, said the Philippines will become one of the eight new aviation megacities worldwide by 2021, with more than 10,000 daily long-haul passengers.

The number of domestic passengers in the Philippines rose by 9.6 percent to 20.56 million last year from 18.77 million in 2011, while international passengers rose by 6.8 to 16.74 million in 2012 from 15.67 million the year before.

SilkAir Increases Davao Flights

Source: Business World Online

Image DAVAO CITY — Singapore Airlines subsidiary SilkAir will increase flights to this city to six times weekly from the current five starting November, a top company official told journalists here recently, adding that the new flight will still be linked to Cebu as well.

“We fly Singapore-Cebu-Davao-Singapore, calling it triangular routing,” said Leslie Thng, SilkAir chief executive officer.
“The other half of the aircraft is shared by Cebu passengers. Hopefully, the Davao market will give us the additional demand that we are looking for.”Day Uyking, SilkAir’s sales and ticketing officer, had said earlier that the regional carrier has been promoting this city as an international gateway in order to prod demand.Flights currently serve businessmen, as well as European and Australian tourists, Mr. Uyking noted.

“We are trying to improve connectivity and we are looking at expanding in the Philippines and providing connections to our wider network in Europe, Australia and the US,” Mr. Thng said.

Lisette C. Marques, city tourism officer-in-charge, said the city government has been working with the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) regional office to cash in on the expected rise in tourism. “For arrivals, we are coming up with several programs like Davao Fun Sale Shopping Festival in March to promote Davao,” she said.

DoT regional director Arturo P. Boncato sees an opportunity with SilkAir’s increased flights to sell Davao not only to the Singaporeans but also to other key markets. “We are working on certain tour packages like free golf and adventure sports,” he said.

Mr. Boncato added that local tourism leaders plan to stage a Davao Cultural Festival next year to promote the city with the help of the Philippine embassy in Singapore.

“These plans form part of efforts to bring in more tourists to Davao,” he said.