Cebu Pacific & Tigerair Philippines: On Track To Meet 17M Passengers for 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) and Tiger Airways Philippines (Tigerair) posted a 15.7% growth by flying 13.94 million passengers from January to October this year.

For the same period last year, the budget carriers flew 12.04 million passengers.

The continuous growth was “driven by increased presence in key markets, sustained demand for air travel, and industry capacity rationalization,” Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs Jorenz Tañada said.

The capacity of Cebu Pacific and Tigerair grew 13.1% to 16.56 million in the first 10 months of 2014 from 14.64 million in the same period in 2013, attributed to the delivery of 4 brand new aircraft. This also translated to a higher load factor of 84.2% for the same period this year, versus 82.3% in the same period in 2013.

The number of flights also rose 5.2% – from 96,563 to 101,586. For October alone, the volume of passengers carried by Cebu Pacific and Tigerair jumped 24.2% – from 1.13 million to 1.41 million in the same month in 2013.

Capacity also rose 12.8% – from 1.49 million to 1.68 million, translating to a higher load factor of 83.9% from 76.2%. Number of flights went up by 7.4 percent – from 9,605 to 10,318.

The Gokongwei airlines are also on track to meet the target of 17 million passengers for 2014.

Cebu Pacific is also beefing up its flights to 9 domestic and 3 international routes in time for the Christmas season.

By December 15, Cebu Pacific will mount additional, twice weekly Manila-Cebu and Manila-Tuguegarao routes; thrice weekly flights for the Manila-Dumaguete route; and 4 times weekly flights for the Manila-Zamboanga route.

Passengers traveling from the Visayas region to Singapore could also expect additional weekly flights for the Iloilo-Singapore route between December 17 and January 14.

Cebu Pacific will also mount additional thrice weekly flights for the Cebu-Singapore route between December 19 and January 7.

The budget carrier will also utilize the large A330 aircraft for some of its Manila-Singapore flights from December 15 to January 9. –

Cebu Pacific Flies to Honolulu in 2015

MANILA, Philippines–Cebu Pacific will expand direct flights to the United States via Hawaii by mid-2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Tuesday.

“Cebu Pacific is hoping to have its inaugural flight to Honolulu from Manila in the middle of next year. It will be the air carrier’s second route to the US, next to Guam,” the DFA said.

Cebu Pacific made the announcement following a meeting with Philippine Consulate General to Honololu Gina A. Jamoralin.

“Jamoralin expressed appreciation for Cebu Pacific’s announcement, which will open up more opportunities for business and tourism travels for the Filipino and American people through its offer of competitive airfare and thrice-a-week Manila-Honolulu flights in 2015,” it said.

The Philippines was upgraded to Category 1 status by the US Federal Aviation Authority early in 2015 allowing Philippine carriers to expand the number of direct flights to the US.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

New Airport Plan: San Miguel Out, Tiengs of Solar TV In

With San Miguel Corp. dropping out of its short-lived partnership with Philippine Airlines, it looks like the Tiengs of Solar TV have taken the lead role in pushing for an alternative airport within Manila Bay.

And judging from their recent European investor briefing, Solar TV chairman Wilson Tieng and his brother/vice chairman William Tieng are confident that their unsolicited proposal to build a combined airport-seaport terminal off Sangley Point in Cavite is just one regulatory hurdle from being accepted by the PNoy government.

“The project has just one last level of approval to hurdle — clearance from the National Economic and Development Authority, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III,” the European logistics industry paper, Loadstar, reported last week.

“From the day that we sign with the government, it will take two-to-three years to reclaim the land and another two-to-three years to build the facilities,” said Rommel Gavieta, chief operating officer of the All-Asia Reclamation and Resources Corp., the Tieng-led consortium that includes the Munich airport operator FMG and Hamburg port operator HHLA.

Gavieta was in Rotterdam as one of the conference speakers in the 2014 Intermodal Europe exhibition for container, transport and logistics industry.

To carry out their ambitious proposal, the Tiengs are proposing to reclaim three islands parallel to the western side of the Sangley airport, the biggest of which, some 2,000 hectares to rise from the sea, will accommodate a two-runway airport and a passenger terminal.

The two satellite islands are also being proposed as a bulk liquid depot to replace the Pandacan oil terminal and as an alternative container facility to help decongest the Manila harbor.

The Tieng proposal calls for an 17-kilometer elevated road and viaduct that will directly link the new airport with the present Ninoy Aquino International Airport, along with a ferry service with a terminal near the Mall of Asia.

In addition, another 32-kilometer light rail network parallel to the Manila-Cavite Expressway will link the proposed airport from the planned Zapote light rail station.

The Tiengs and their foreign consultants estimate the entire project could cost a staggering $30 billion, but it is not clear who would provide the financing for such an ambitious undertaking.

According to the project website, the consortium has already secured the services of Deutsche Bank as financial advisor for both its planned “Aquino Sangley International Airport” and “Aguinaldo Sangley International Port.” And for the light rail component, the Tieng consortium has also tapped the Italian rail company Circumvesuviana, the rail operator for the southern Italy’s Campania region.

The Tieng reclamation site is different from a similar unsolicited proposal of developer-contractor DM Wenceslao, who is proposing to build the airport-shipping port complex at the other side of the Sangley peninsula, facing the Cavite coastal road. In addition, DM Wenceslao is proposing to use the existing Sangley runway, to be lengthened and modified to international standards, for the new airport.

The San Miguel-Ramon S. Ang airport proposal, on the other hand, is closer to the reclaimed area of what is now Pagcor City, with the San Miguel’s 4,000-hectare footprint most likely would overlap that of DM Wenceslao’s.

Under the Tieng proposal, the general aviation traffic in the Sangley airport would be consolidated back to Manila, with a new terminal beside the Air Force/Presidential hangar.

The four current terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, on the other hand, would be converted into a casino-mall (Terminal 3) and office complexes.

The larger remainder of the 400-hectare NAIA complex would in turn be converted into a new business-commercial-residential district that would eclipse the Makati and Ortigas business districts combined.

Source: InterAksyon

Cebu Pacific Adds More Airbuses In 2015


MANILA – Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 5 new Airbus aircraft next year as part of its re-fleeting program.

Jorenz Tañada, vice president for corporate affairs of Cebu Air Inc (CEB), said four A320s and one A330 are expected to be delivered for use in the carrier’s short- and long-haul flights.

“The Airbus A320s may be deployed to our new short-haul routes announced recently — Cebu to Narita and Cebu-Taipei — in March. As for the Airbus A330, we will deploy the aircraft on the Manila-Hong Kong route after the successful air talks in October,” Tañada said.

“We are looking to add frequencies in the Middle East and the US, pending regulatory approvals,” he added.

Cebu Pacific is flying to Kuwait, Riyadh and Dammam, and is applying for an operating permit from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly to the US after the Philippines last April bagged an upgrade to Category 1 status.

Cebu Pacific carried 12.5 million passengers in the January to September period, an increase of 14.8 percent year-on-year. In the third quarter alone, it carried 4 million passengers, a 16.8 percent increase compared to 3.4 million in the same three months of last year.

“The Cebu Pacific Air group is on track to meeting our target of serving 17 million passengers this year. CEB’s growth in the third quarter was driven by increased presence in key markets, sustained demand for air travel and industry capacity rationalization,” Tañada said.

The Gokongwei-owned budget carrier earned P2.08 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 213.1 percent from P664.08 million in the same period last year. Revenue rose by a quarter to P38.446 billion from P30.582 billion over the same period.

Source: InterAksyon

Cebu Pacific Eyes PAL’s Unused Slots In Haneda

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3

Cebu Pacific Air, the Philippines’ biggest budget airline, remains keen on the coveted flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, as it formally seeks to take over Philippine Airlines’ unused slots to this destination.

Philippine Airlines was earlier given all 14 weekly frequencies in the Manila to Haneda route but information on its website showed that three of these remained unused.

Under a so-called “use it or lose it principle” the government, through the Civil Aeronautics Board, has the right to reassign frequencies that remain unused for at least six months. In the case of PAL’s unused slots to Haneda, this six-month period ends this month.

In its filing in the CAB, Cebu Pacific said it was seeking the reallocation of “additional unused frequencies of three coefficients weekly seats on route Manila-Haneda from the unutilized seat entitlements previously allocated to Philippine Airlines.”

“The plan is to progressively phase in the remaining PAL frequencies to Haneda in the first half of 2015,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said in a text message.

The flag carrier mounts 11 flights from Manila to Haneda weekly, its latest international flight schedule showed.

Flights to Haneda are coveted, especially by business travelers, because it is located about 30 minutes away from central Tokyo by car. In comparison, traveling from Narita International Airport gateway to central Tokyo takes about an hour.

“We have a ‘use it or lose it’ rule but it’s not a hard and fast rule,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in an interview Friday. He said the CAB needed to weigh the reasons why a carrier failed to maximize the use of its allocation and sometimes, extensions were given.

The CAB has set a hearing on Cebu Pacific’s petition for Dec. 10, the filing showed.

Cebu Pacific, which flies daily from Manila to Narita, sought half of the 14 frequencies given to Philippine carriers as early as last year.

These were eventually all awarded to PAL, which launched twice a day flights from Manila to Haneda starting March 30 before scaling down the service about a month later.

Cebu Pacific, whose filing comes months ahead of the busy summer season in 2015, said it had already pre-sold about 25 percent of its seat capacity in the next three months, underscoring the growing demand for affordable air travel.

The company said in a summary of its third quarter analyst briefing that forward bookings for December until February 2015 were up 12 percent year-on-year.

The carrier, which has a fleet of 52 planes, said in its recent financial report that passenger volume increased by 14.8 percent in the first nine months of 2014. The carrier is targeting to hit 17 million passengers for 2014, up 18 percent from year-ago level.

Source: Miguel R. Camus,

Laguindingan Airport Upgrade Up For Bidding

Laguindingan Airport
Laguindingan Airport (Image Source: Vincent Tom Udasco)

MANILA, Philippines – The government is slated to bid out the operations and maintenance contract of Misamis Oriental’s Laguindingan Airport in December.

Upgrading the Laguindingan Airport, which would modernize the airport’s facilities based on international standards, includes the expansion of its cargo terminal building and runway; and a construction of a new passenger terminal building, said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

“It is meant to satisfy the projected number of passengers for the next 3 decades, as well as to maintain the airport’s facilities and services at international standards,” Abaya said in a statement on Tuesday, November 4.

The airport serves flights to Cagayan de Oro City, although it is located outside Misamis Oriental’s provincial center. It replaced the aging Lumbia Airport in 2013.

Abaya pegged the project cost at P14.6 million ($324,913.76*), with a concession period from 30 to 35 years.

The airport has been serving 1.6 million passengers annually since it opened. By 2017, the figure would rise to 2.58 million, Abaya said.

“The airport was meant to be completed way back in 2006, but was not fully executed until last year,” he said.

Laguindingan Airport sits between Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Awarding of the contract to the winning bidder is scheduled in the third quarter of 2015, said Abaya.

Night landing-capable

Meanwhile, the DOTC announced that the airport may soon begin night operations, as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) looks into the airport’s night landing capacity until November 6. The development has elated commercial carriers.

“It’s a very positive development as this will allow us to mount more flights especially this coming Christmas season” Philippine Airlines (PAL) president Jaime Bautista told Rappler.

Non-primary airports across the country lack instrument landing system, which limits them to operate only from sunrise to sunset, prompting some flights to be cancelled.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs Jorenz Tanada said they have not received an official status of Laguindingan’s night landing capability, but “we will look at all our options and secure all necessary approvals to add more flights to and from Laguindingan Airport.”

Commercial carriers PAL Express, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia Zest operate at the main gateway for northern Mindanao. –

AirAsia Plans U$500M Infusion In Philippine Operations



MANILA, Philippines–Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad, one of the region’s biggest budget carriers, is investing another $500 million to expand its Philippine operations should the group gain a long-delayed approval from Congress to consolidate its local business, its top official said on Wednesday.

Malaysian tycoon and AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes said the consolidation was part of the company’s strategy for AirAsia Philippines to return to profitability by 2015, acquire more planes and compete with rivals here such as flag carrier Philippine Airlines and budget carrier Cebu Pacific.

A key part of the consolidation was for AirAsia Inc., which AirAsia Bhd. owns with Filipino partners, to increase its 49-percent stake in AirAsia Zest to a controlling share.

AirAsia Zest is currently controlled by juice and banking magnate Alfredo Yao, who has expressed his willingness to sell, but the deal has been held back by a delay in the Philippine Senate.

“It’s taking so long. It’s not good for business and it’s not good for investments,” said Fernandes, adding that he still hoped they could secure the Senate’s approval within 2014.

The Senate committee on public services, which oversees public utilities, services and the granting of legislative franchise such as the one held by AirAsia’s local units, was chaired by Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

This was before Revilla’s arrest this year on graft and plunder charges for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam. He was replaced by acting chair Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, information on the Senate’s website showed.

“We’ve put in $100 million already in cash terms [into AirAsia Inc.], excluding the planes. And we are committing another $500 million once we get the franchise approval. That’s over a period of three to four years,” Fernandes said.

Its units AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Zest currently operate more than a dozen Airbus A320s operating mainly out of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Cebu and Kalibo. The fleet would at least double once the group gets the go-ahead to consolidate domestic operations, Fernandes said.

“As soon as we get the franchise, we should be able to get 15 aircraft. Then I hope we can add about five aircraft a year,” he said.

“My aim is to grow Philippines AirAsia in the international [market]. It’s adding more flights in Korea, eventually China and Japan and Asean and bringing these people to the Philippines like we’ve done in Indonesia and Thailand,” Fernandes said.

“I feel a strong optimism now that we’ve been through the worst. Our backs have been against the wall and that’s actually when we’re best. In many ways we are like the boxer on the ropes,” he added.

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Philippine Airlines Targets To Be A 5 Star Airlines


Over the medium term, Philippine Airlines (PAL) targets to be one of the best in the world, with a five-star rating, from being a three-star today, as it focuses on a handful of American cities, beefs up both international and regional destinations via code-shares and expand in the local market.

At the same time, the flag carrier is eyeing to find a strategic partner within the next three years after parting ways with San Miguel Corp.

Next year, its 74th year of operations, PAL is re-launching its Manila-New York service after a 20-year absence and “This time, we’ll be back for good,” announced PAL President Jaime J. Bautista yesterday.

PAL first flew to New York in 1996 but suspended its service after a year because of Category 2 restrictions.

Today, the flag carrier is optimistic about its prospects in New York, with a potential of half a million Filipino passengers.”If we get just 30 per cent of this, we will be very successful indeed,” he pointed out.

Some 250,000 Filipinos live in New York; 90,000 in East Virginia; 75,000 in Washington DC and 31,000 in Philadelphia. Filipinos in the East Coast account for 15 per cent of the 3.4 million Filipinos living in the US, a natural base market for PAL.

Hence, the flag carrier is focusing heavily on the American market to take advantage of its upgrade to Category 1 status.

On top of its four times weekly service between Manila and New York starting March 15, 2015, PAL is increasing its flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, as well as Honolulu and Guam

From five times a week in Honolulu and four times a week in Guam, it will now operate daily flights in both destinations.

Its European service will be focused in London while it has deferred plans for Manila-Rome and Manila-Paris.

PAL has also deferred plans for a number of its Middle Eastern services.

“We deferred Manila-Doha because of the low passenger traffic. In Jeddah, we can’t have the time slot we want. We’re being given a 4 a.m. departure time. In Abu Dhabi, we wanted to operate daily but we can only operate four times weekly.”

Likewise, “We want to operate daily in Dubai but we can only have five times a week. We want to fly to Riyadh, but we can’t have the additional flights we want,” Bautista explained.

However, the eight planes initially planned for use in the Middle East will be used to fly to profitable destinations, he added.

Anyway, PAL can expand its presence in other parts of Europe, the Middle East and even in the East Coast of the US via its code share arrangements with Etihad.

In Japan and other parts of the Asian region, PAL can also expand its presence via its code share arrangements with All Nippon Airways.

“This is the trend in the industry, expanding your routes by code shares, joint ventures and other programs of cooperation,” he pointed out.

In the next three years, PAL targets to have a strategic investor who will “preferably be an airline or a company with investments in airlines”.

While the airline does not need additional equity right now, “We will require equity infusion as we expand in the future,” the president acknowledged.

To be ranked five-star, PAL, “We have to improve our service. We need a good fleet, on time performance and cabin service at par with other five-star airlines. It will take a lot of work.”

Meanwhile, PAL plans to increase its London frequency to daily from the current five times a week following the good reception it has received when it opened the route a year ago.

This as PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime B. Bautista told Manila Bulletin that the flag carrier has recently obtained approval to “over fly” Russian airspace.

The “Russian over fly” will reduce substantially the travel time going to Europe, Bautista said.

“It will be cost effective as it will cut travel time going to Europe,” he said.

Increase in frequency is also aimed to service the growing demand of UK-based Filipinos as well as tourists between the two countries.

Also, Bautista disclosed PAL is launching its New York frequency middle of March next year. The route will have an hour stopover in Vancouver with New York as the final destination.

Source: The Manila Bulletin, Emmie Abadilla

Ailing Philippine Airlines, Under New Management, Seeks Investor


Struggling Philippine Airlines said Friday it is looking for a new investor to help fund an expansion programme that would see Asia’s oldest airline buying more long-haul jets.

“I would prefer an airline with more destinations so we can expand our presence,” newly-installed president Jaime Bautista said.

He added that the company may take another airline, or a company with interests in the aviation sector, as an equity partner.

Under Philippine law a foreign airline may acquire up to 40 percent of a carrier like PAL, Bautista said, while stressing there were no ongoing talks at this point.

“There are names we are looking at, but we are not at liberty to disclose (them) at this time,” he told a news conference.

Bautista said the carrier plans to buy long-haul planes over 10 years — either by converting a previous order for narrow-body aircraft from Airbus into bigger planes or taking up Boeing’s proposal to sell it 777 jets.

PAL is to open new local and international routes over the next three years, including Manila-New York from March 2015, he added.

After struggling with losses amid competition from budget carriers, high fuel costs and a labour dispute, PAL returned to profitability this year, posting a net profit of 1.49 billion pesos ($33 million) in the three months to June.

Lucio Tan, one of the Philippines’ richest men, named Bautista to lead the airline after regaining control of PAL in September, buying out San Miguel Corp’s 49 percent interest in the airline for a reported $1 billion.

Bautista said PAL is reviewing a massive refleeting programme initiated by the previous management, which had ordered 64 planes from Airbus for more than $7 billion after San Miguel won management control of the airline in 2012.

The airline’s listed parent PAL Holdings disclosed last month it was “seriously studying” the possibility of deferring aircraft deliveries, complaining that “too many orders” had been made.

PAL will take delivery of 10 Airbus A321s this year and another 10 of the same model in 2016, Bautista said Friday.

Some of the 28 Airbus planes set for delivery after 2016 may be converted to long-haul jets, he said, without giving further details.

“We’ll have to study this very carefully. It’s easy to buy airplanes but difficult to dispose,” he added.

“We will take advantage of the refleeting programme to improve our service, reboot costs and hopefully, become a profitable airline.”

PAL will now focus its European operations on its newly-opened London route and add more flights to Honolulu, while scaling down Middle East operations due to lower-than-projected demand, he said.

Its new fuel-efficient Airbus jets will allow PAL to compete better when Southeast Asian nations ease air traffic restrictions next year, he added.

The company will also be “more aggressive” domestically and may reopen its hub in Cebu, the commercial capital of the central Philippines, said Bautista.

Source: AFP and Interaksyon

Boeing Woos Philippine Carriers To Buy Its Planes

Citing the expected growth of airline passenger traffic in the Philippines, US aircraft maker Boeing is wooing Philippine carriers to buy its long-range planes, especially for the North American market.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday (PHL time) said Boeing officials relayed this to Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. when he visited the firm’s factory in Everett near Seattle recently.

Noting the 6.6 percent projected growth in airline passenger traffic for the Philippines in the next 20 years and the backlog in Airbus aircraft orders, Boeing executives told Ambassador Cuisia they are ready to make aircraft for Philippine carriers available in 2016,” the embassy said.

It also noted the Philippine market is presently dominated by Airbus Industries.

John Schubert, managing director for marketing for Asia Pacific and India, said the demand for aircraft in Southeast Asia over the next 20 years will reach 3,500 units valued at $500 billion.

But in the Philippines, he said that of the 141 commercial aircraft currently being used, only six are Boeings – a “dismal four percent market share.”

The six include 777-300ERs used by Philippine Airlines for its long-haul flights to North America.

North America, with four million Filipinos, is considered PAL’s biggest and most profitable market.

Boeing 777

Boeing Commercial Airplanes director of product marketing Dave Kell said Boeing’s 777 is one of the most in-demand aircraft, with 1,805 firm orders from 69 customers.

Kell added the 777 is the most preferred, most reliable and most valued aircraft in the market.

“The 777 is the most suitable aircraft for long range North American routes such as those of Philippine Airlines,” he said.

Assistance to calamity victims

On the other hand, Boeing executives informed Cuisia of the firm’s assistance to the Philippines.

This included $750,000 from the Boeing Company and Boeing employees for relief efforts for victims of super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which left more than 6,000 dead.

Also, Boeing is part of a joint effort with World Vision and PAL to airlift relief supplies during a 777-300ER delivery flight last year.

Source: Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News