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December 2: Philippine Airlines Flies to Auckland

For the first time, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) will fly to New Zealand on December 2, 2015, by opening four times a week service to Auckland via Cairns, Australia.

In a statement, the PAL said that the  Manila-Cairns-Auckland service will utilize the 156-seater Airbus 320, flying every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday.

“The route will stimulate passenger traffic along three travel streams – Manila- Cairns, Manila -Auckland as well as Cairns – Auckland.  The new service allows Philippine Airlines to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travelers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality.  Filipinos residing in New Zealand will find the new service as their convenient link to their home country,” PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said.

PAL’s first foray into New Zealand provides a convenient route for the more than 44,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand to visit home, while allowing Auckland and Cairns residents to discover Manila or connect to PAL’s 30 domestic and 39 international destinations.

Cairns and Auckland will become PAL’s 37th and 38th international points respectively, while Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, set to be launched on Dec 18, will be its 39thinternational destination.

Records show passenger travel from the Philippines to New Zealand increased by 9.4% over the last five years, while the New Zealand to the Philippines travel grew by 11.6% over the same period.

The stopover in Cairns will enable Kiwis (locals) to visit northern Australia while those from Cairns can find a lot to explore at Auckland.

PAL is offering an introductory fare of only US$880 for a roundtrip, economy class and US$ 2700 for business class on the Manila-Auckland route; while US$705 for economy class and US$ 2044 for business class for a roundtrip Auckland-Manila route.

Roundtrip fare for Auckland to Cairns, Australia starts at US$ 378 for economy class and US$ 1658 for business class; roundtrip Cairns-Auckland route at US$ 368 for economy class and US$ 1832 for business class; roundtrip Cairns- Manila at US$ 523 for economy class and US$ 2452 for business class; and roundtrip Manila-Cairns at US$ 1200 for economy class and US$ 2950 for business class.

Auckland Airport, the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand, is the second largest inAustralasia.

New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, is 649 kilometers by road from Auckland or 1 hour by air.

The city of Auckland is the main transport hub and the largest in New Zealand with a population of 1.5 million, accounting for 32% of New Zealand’s total population. It is also known as “City of Sails” – set amidst volcanic islands, with numerous harbors, perfect for yachts.

Source: Maricel Burgonio, http://www.mb.com.ph

Aquino Not Convinced on ‘tanim-bala’

SPEAKING for the first time on the infamous bullet-planting controversy at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), President Aquino said he doubted an organized “tanim-bala” extortion scheme existed.

And just like his Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, who earlier drew widespread condemnation for dismissing the questionable arrest of passengers as merely a small percentage of the total number of air travelers, Mr. Aquino likewise downplayed the controversy by citing similar statistics.

“How many people pass through the NAIA per year? The figure is 34 million. How many of those were involved in a bullet case? What they reported out of the 34 million is 1,200 incidents,” the President said in a press conference Sunday night in Kuala Lumpur where he attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

“Medyo ang liit naman yata (That seems a little small),” he told reporters.

He said he was told of three passengers who complained that airport personnel had tried to extort money from them to drop illegal possession of ammunition charges so they could board their flight.

One of the three eventually admitted the bullet found in his bag was his, Mr. Aquino said.

“If the report that three out of three million is true, how can we say there is an epidemic—that there is a high probability you will get into trouble or that you can say there is a chance you will fall victim to the racket?” the President said.

He said he felt bad for the innocent airport security scanners who were doing their jobs and had actually intercepted firearms and ammunition in other incidents at the airport.

“I have to balance it. In the end [we need] proof. Is there proof that will confirm or deny the tanim-bala scam?” the President said.

But he said he also felt bad for the passengers.

“So I am not saying there is no such [scam]. That is what should come out in the investigation. But those are the initial statistics,” he said.

He then accused the media of sensationalizing the news on the tanim-bala cases.

“Like out of 10 (people) who will go to the airport, how many will be victimized? For every 10—two, three? That is not what happened. It was sensationalized and there were those who benefited to sensationalize it,” he said.

“Those who thought of this, we will include them in the investigation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the initial police investigation into the tanim-bala scam at the airport practically debunked it as an “urban legend.”

“There is no such thing as tanim-bala, there is only extortion,” a source from the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) told the Inquirer.

“It is just not possible for a security screener to carry bullets in his pocket and plant them in passengers’ baggage. Sleight of hand is out of the question. Nobody’s that fast or that bold,” he said, adding that the Avsegroup had not found proof of tanim-bala.

A review of closed circuit TV footage of the security checkpoints showed no evidence of the scheme, he said.

The source, who sought anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said the surge in supposed bullet interceptions was due to a reward system put in place by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

He also pointed out that in many of the cases, the passengers admitted carrying the bullets either as souvenirs, mementos or talismans.

“Unscrupulous OTS personnel jump at this chance and extort cash from these passengers who do not want to be inconvenienced by a trip to the police station and risk missing their flights,” the source explained.

OTS Deputy Administrator Robert Villanueva said the agency did set up a system of citation for security screening officers aimed at improving their efficiency and boosting their morale.

“Awardees are given certificates of commendation and cash,” he said.

Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, meanwhile, has agreed to extend by 15 days the deadline given to the National Bureau of Investigation task force investigating the tanim-bala incidents at the Naia.

Source: Dona Z. Pazzibugan, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

Cebu Pacific Revenue Up 9% in 3rd Quarter 2015

Cebu Pacific revenue up 9% – financial highlights for three months ended 30-Sep-2015:

Image Source: Rappler.com
  • Revenue: PHP12,753 million (USD276.7 million), +8.7% year-on-year;
    • Passenger: PHP9313 million (USD202.1 million), +5.0%;
    • Ancillary: PHP2554 million (USD55.4 million), +25.5%;
  • Total costs: PHP11,756 million (USD255.1 million), -0.7%;
  • Operating profit: PHP997.1 million (USD21.6 million), compared to a loss of PHP107.4 million (USD2.3 million) in p-c-p;
  • Net profit (loss): (PHP1645 million) (USD35.7 million), compared to a loss of PHP1099 million (USD23.8 million) in p-c-p;
  • Total assets: PHP81,178 million (USD1762 million);
    • Cash and cash equivalents: PHP4584 million (USD99.5 million);
  • Total liabilities: PHP56,992 million (USD1237 million).

*Based on the average conversion rate at USD1 = PHP46.0826

Cebu Pacific (CEB), flew 4.4 million passengers in the 3rd quarter of 2015, posting a growth of 10.6% over the same period last year.

The airline carried a total of 13.7 million passengers from January to September, 2015, an increase of 9% year-on-year.

Growth in passengers carried by the Cebu Pacific Air group from January to September, 2015 can be attributed to increase in capacity in key domestic and long haul routes.

As of September 30, 2015, the CEB group operates 2,530 weekly flights in 62 destinations and 93 routes. We look forward to expanding our operations to even more domestic and international markets soon, says Atty. JR Mantaring, CEB officer-in-charge for corporate affairs.

CEBs Q3 2015 total revenues surged 9% year-on-year to P12.8 billion. This brings our total revenues for the first 9 months of 2015 to P42.3 billion, a growth of 10% year-on-year. Passenger revenues  increased by 5% to P9.3 billion. Ancillary revenues grew 26% to P2.6 billion driven by a 13% increase in ancillary revenue per passenger.

Cargo revenues also posted an increase of 8% to P886 million as we carried 44.5 million kilos of cargo, up by 4.2% over the same period last year.

CEBs 55-strong fleet is comprised of 8 Airbus A319, 33 Airbus A320, 6 Airbus A330, and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft. It is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2016 and 2021, CEB will take delivery of 5 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft.


Source: http://centreforaviation.com, Emmie Abadilla (http://www.mb.com.ph)

CAPA Analysis: PAL Pax Volume To Grow 20% This Year

AN AVIATION think tank said Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) is on track to grow its passenger volume by an annual 20% this year, and will have more opportunities to boost its long-haul operations in late 2016.

“PAL is on track to carry about 6 million international passengers in 2015, a 50% increase compared to 2012,” the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said in a report released over the weekend.

“For the second consecutive year PAL will likely end 2015 with annual international passenger growth of about 20%.”

For the first half of the year, the flag carrier ferried 2.9 million international passengers, higher than Cebu Pacific’s 1.9 million and Philippines AirAsia’s 357,000, CAPA said, citing data from the Civil Aeronautics Board.

CAPA expects the carrier to “focus” its long-haul expansion on North American routes, which generated “most” of its profits and where it sees “relatively limited” competition.

Among PAL’s North American routes include Vancouver and Toronto in Canada, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu and New York in the United States.

PAL’s listed parent firm, PAL Holdings, Inc., reversed last year’s P322.16-million net loss as it swung to a P247.9-million profit in the third quarter, helped by the peso’s depreciation against the dollar and higher passenger revenues from new routes. For the first nine months, its net income ballooned by an annual 2,465% to P6.11 billion.

“PAL is planning to expand capacity to mainland North America over the next few years, a sensible move as competition will likely continue intensifying to the Middle East, Australia and, soon, Hawaii,” CAPA explained.

The airline also announced that its re-fleeting program will likely involve adding eight Boeing 787 or Airbus A350 XWB aircraft through a lease or purchase agreement to be sealed within the year to replace six of its existing Airbus A340, and “possibly” add two more of these, with delivery expected by 2017 or 2018.

PAL has yet to issue a formal decision on which plane to acquire, but in its report, CAPA said “PAL is close to committing to at least six A350-900s for delivery from 2017. A formal announcement is expected by the end of 2015.”

PAL Holdings President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista did not confirm the CAPA statement. Sought for comment, he said in a mobile phone reply on Sunday: “We have not issued such statement.”

The flag carrier operates a fleet of 59 aircraft, composed of 32 A320 family aircraft and 27 widebodies, across 36 destinations.

Shares in PAL Holdings ended unchanged last Friday at P4.52 apiece.

Source: Daphne J. Magturo, http://www.bworldonline.com

An Airline for Alden Richards’ Next Endorsement?


Si PR o si 5J o si PQ?

MANILA, Philippines – It looks like an airline might be added to the growing list of endorsements for the viral fictional couple #AlDub, who appear in the Kalyeserye portion of noontime variety show Eat Bulaga.

The airline company particularly wants actor and TV host Alden Richards – one half of #AlDub – to be its endorser.

“Gusto nga namin si Alden (Richards) as endorser. Nililigawan pa,” (We want Alden as endorser. We’re still courting him) an executive of an airline told reporters during a casual dinner in Makati City in late October, without disclosing further details.

It has been years since the airline tapped a celebrity for an endorser. One of its campaigns in early 2000s featured an international singer who appeared in and sung the TVC jingle for the airline.


With Twitter Asia-Pacific and Middle East Vice President Rishi Jaitly declaring “#AlDub as a “global phenomenon,” several companies – from an international food chain to a mobile phone manufacturer – want the viral tandem to be their latest endorsers, which reportedly boosted sales for some local firms.

The tandem of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza has already secured several major endorsement contracts with the local unit of international fastfood chain McDonald’s Corporation, TNT (rebranded Talk ‘N Text) of dominant telecommunications firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Coca-Cola, Zonrox, and Bear Brand Adult Plus.

Mendoza has two separate TV endorsements – 555 Sardines and O Plus mobile phone with comedian Wally Bayola, who plays her Lola Nidora in the kalyeserye.

The unlikely duo’s budding romance on screen has also posted through-the-roof ratings for the 36-year-old show Eat Bulaga.

The couple also has channeled its popularity to rally support for a worthy cause.

On October 24, thousands of fans paid ticket to see the on- and split-screen couple united in a concert and anniversary presentation of the noontime show that filled the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

The “Tamang Panahon” event benefits the AlDub library project, where 100% of the ticket sales from the event will be given to the 3 elementary schools they have chosen as beneficiaries.

Also, as a gift to the #AlDub fans and supporters of Eat Bulaga, the grand event was aired over GMA Network commercial-free.

The event generated 41 million tweets with their hashtag #AlDubEBTamangPanahon, according to a release from Twitter on October 26. This breaks their previous record of over 26 million tweets generated for their first date episode in September.

According to Twitter, it also broke another record previously set by the World Cup’s Germany versus Brazil match in 2014, which pulled in 35.6 million tweets.

Source: Chrisee Dela Paz/Rappler.com

Cebu Pacific Flies To Guam on 15 March 2016


Guam – Two new airlines are coming to Guam and they’re from two different countries: Philippines and South Korea.

Guam International Airport Authority Spokesperson Rolenda Faasuamalie says Cebu Pacific will soon be offering flights to and from Manila beginning March next year.

The inaugural flight from Manila to Guam has been scheduled for March 15 and the airline will be offering flights four times a week.

The airline had initial plans of offering flights to Guam before the end of this year, but it was delayed to next year.

Faasuamalie says a Cebu Pacific team is headed out to Guam to inspect facilities and scope office spaces.

Meanwhile, another Korean airline has its eyes set for Guam as well. Eastar Jet Airlines, according to Faasuamalie, has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation for scheduled or chartered services to Guam to begin offering flights in the summer of 2016.

If approved, Eastar Jet will be the sixth airline to offer flights to and from Guam and Korea.

Source: Janela Carrera, http://www.pacificnewscenter.com

CAPA Analysis: PAL Closes In On A350-900 HGW

The A340-300s are now slated to be phased out as new generation wide body aircraft are delivered. PAL is close to committing to at least six A350-900s for delivery from 2017. A formal announcement is expected by the end of 2015.

PAL is looking to acquire a new high gross weight (HGW) version of the A350-900 which is available from 2017 and will enable non-stop Manila-New York flights in both directions without payload limitations. Airbus has informed PAL that it does not need the recently launched A350-900ULR, which will be available from 2018 and has been ordered by Singapore Airlines for non-stops to the US.

Trans-Pacific flights from Manila are about three hours shorter than flights from Singapore. But flights from eastern North America to Manila are still slightly too long for the current version of the A350-900 or the 777-300ER.

PAL is also looking at using A350-900 HGW aircraft to potentially upgrade Toronto to non-stop and launch a fourth destination in the US. Chicago is the most likely new destination for the A350-900 HGW.

PAL has also been evaluating other potential US markets in both the east and west coasts. New destinations in the western US can be launched using the existing wide body fleet, potentially as early as late 2016 as the two additional 777-300ERs are delivered. PAL previously served Las Vegas and at one point was considering San Diego, which has a large Filipino community.

A fleet of eight 777-300ERs and six A350-900s will enable modest growth of the long-haul network with a focus on North America. Even if PAL ultimately opts for a few more A350s the long-haul growth should be manageable.

PAL is likely to remain for at least the medium-term the only non-stop operator between Philippines and continental North America, which has a large a loyal Filipino population. PAL is fortunate to only have to compete against North Asian carriers in the Philippines-North America market as one-stops via the Middle East is a much longer option.

Source: http://centreforaviation.com

CAPA Analysis: Philippine Airlines’ Int’l Expansion Continues with 5 New Destinations, A350-900 HGW Orders

(Image Source: P. Pigeyre / Master Films Copyright Airbus)

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is further expanding its international operation as it grows its fleet and improves utilization of its existing wide body aircraft. PAL’s international network will exceed 41 destinations in Jan-2016 compared to only 25 in Jan-2013.

PAL is adding five international destinations over the next two months, including two destinations in the Middle East and three in Australasia. Long-haul growth will resume in Mar-2016 with the launch of services from Cebu to Los Angeles, which will be PAL’s first wide body international route from Cebu.

Opportunities to further growth the long-haul operation will come in late 2016 as PAL adds two more 777-300ERs. The expected acquisition of a new higher gross weight version of the A350-900 will be used to upgrade New York to non-stops in 2017 and potentially be deployed to upgrade Toronto to non-stop and launch a fourth US destination.

Source: http://centreforaviation.com

Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines Lose More Than P1B Due To APEC

PHILIPPINE Airlines, Inc. and Cebu Air, Inc. on Tuesday said they stand to lose around P1.2 billion in revenues from the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights resulting from the country’s hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting this week.

“PAL’s foregone or lost revenue due to APEC cancellations is approximately $18.7 million (over P880 million),” PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna said in a mobile phone reply yesterday.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista added separately via text: “It’s a good estimate of lost revenue.”

Ms. Villaluna said PAL cancelled over 700 flights, which represent more or less 2.5 days of operations, at Manila’s international airport to give way for the arrival and departure of world leaders attending the APEC summit.

The flag carrier operates around 260 flights and generates around $7.5 million in gross revenue daily.

However, Ms. Villaluna noted PAL’s revenue losses will be offset by the long-term benefits from the country’s hosting of the APEC summit.

“We must stress, however, that the long-term benefits of APEC outweigh these aforementioned losses,” the PAL official added.

Meanwhile, Gokongwei-led budget carrier Cebu Air, Inc., which operates Cebu Pacific Air and Cebgo, estimated its revenue losses will hit P400 million from the cancellation of 847 flights this week.

“CEB estimates a revenue loss of P400 million from flight cancellations due to the APEC meeting,” Cebu Pacific Corporate Affairs Officer-in-Charge Paterno S. Mantaring, Jr. said in a separate text reply.

“As there may still be further changes in flight schedules within the week, this figure may still change,” he added.

Philippines AirAsia, which canceled 186 plane trips, has yet to release a figure on foregone revenue.

The airlines had to suspend operations after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines declared a “no fly zone” to give way to “special operations” for the arrivals and departures of the heads of states.

The agency also declared restrictions on the movement of general aviation aircraft.

Most of the leaders of the 21 APEC member economies have already arrived in Manila, including United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two-day APEC summit will begin on Wednesday.

Shares of PAL Holdings fell 2.8% to P4.52 apiece on Tuesday, while Cebu Air shares dropped 0.77% to close at P84.10 apiece.

Source: Daphne J. Magturo, http://www.bworldonline.com