Indonesian Haze Spreads Throughout Southeast Asia


Smoke from raging forest and peat fires in Indonesia’s Kalimantan region has begun to spread across the region with reports that airfields as far away as the Philippines have been forced to close owing to poor visibility conditions.

According to the AFP, airports on the central Filipino islands of Cebu and Negros have experienced severe delays with both Philippine Airlines (PR, Manila) and Cebu Pacific Air (5J, Manila) temporarily suspending flights to Cotabato, Dumaguete and General Santos earlier this month. Operations at the country’s main Manila hub have also been disrupted.

Image Source: Rappler.com

Airports at Clark, Cotabato, Davao, Cagayan de Oro Laguindingan, General Santos, and Zamboanga in Mindanao, and Cebu and Busuanga in central Philippines have also grounded all aircraft incapable of instrument approach landings as a precaution.

In Indonesia, the effect is more pronounced with local carriers such as KalStar (KD, Berau) having cancelled over 1,000 flights over the past month following the closure of airports at Pontianak, Sintang, Pangkalanbun, Balikpapan, Malak, Samarinda, Tanjung Selor, Tarakan, and Malinau.

Indonesia has appealed to the international community to assist it in fighting the fires which have been burning now for the last four months. Russia has so far sent in two Beriev Be-200 waterbombers while the Singapore Air Force (Singapore Changi) has dispatched Chinook helicopters to fight fires in Sugihan, Ogan Ogan Ilir, and South Sumatra. Australia also supplied a Lockheed Hercules for a brief period.

Source: http://www.ch-aviation.com

3 PH Airports in Asia’s Top 30 List


Asia’s Top 30 Airports according to http://sleepinginairports.net/

  1. Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
  2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)
  3. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan (HND)
  4. Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan (TPE)
  5. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong (HKG)
  6. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (KUL)
  7. Osaka Kansai International Airport, Japan (KIX)
  8. New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, India (DEL)
  9. Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, India (HYD)
  10. Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, India (BOM)
  11. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK)
  12. Tokyo Narita International Airport, Japan (NRT)
  13. Koh Samui Airport, Thailand (USM)
  14. Trivandrum International Airport, India (TRV)
  15. Cochin International Airport, India (COK)
  16. Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport, Pakistan (LHE)
  17. Bangalore Bengaluru International Airport, India (BLR)
  18. Mactan–Cebu International Airport, Philippines (CEB)
  19. Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, India (CCU)
  20. Karachi Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan (KHI)
  21. Iloilo International Airport, Philippines (ILO)
  22. Kualanamu International Airport, Indonesia (KNO)
  23. Da Nang International Airport, Vietnam (DAD)
  24. Clark International Airport, Philippines (CRK)
  25. Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Azerbaijan (GYD)
  26. Surabaya Juanda International Airport, Indonesia (SUB)
  27. Penang International Airport, Malaysia (PEN)
  28. Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport, Vietnam (HAN)
  29. Beijing Capital International Airport, China (PEK)
  30. Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Malaysia (BKI)

Philippine Airports Ranking

Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) landed in 18th place; Iloilo Airport ranked 21st; and CRK snagged the 24th place.

#18) Mactan–Cebu International Airport, Philippines (CEB)

Concept design for the new Mactan–Cebu International Airport
winairtravel.wordpress.com

Then known as the Mactan Air Base, the Mactan–Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu Cityin Mactan Island was built in 1956 by the United States as an emergency runway for Air Command bombers. Now, it is second to Manila’s NAIA in terms of being busy airport in the Philippines. It houses both domestic and international operations and has an annual capacity of 4.5 million passengers.

By 2018, the country’s second biggest gateway is expected to have a new world-class passenger terminal building and become the first-ever resort airport in the Philippines.

#21) Iloilo International Airport, Philippines (ILO)

Image Source: ffemagazine.com
Iloilo International Airport ​(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The fourth busiest airport in the Philippines can be found in the municipality of Santa Barbara in Iloilo. Started its operation in 2007, it was the first airport in the island of Panay to be built to international standards.

#24) Clark International Airport, Philippines (CRK)

Image Source: http://www.bworldonline.com
Clark International Airport ​(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Serving the vicinity of central and northern Luzon, Clark International Airport is located in Clark Freeport Zone between the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat in the province of Pampanga. It houses flight destinations to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Busan, and Doha. Its only domestic flight is to Cebu.

Govt Eyeing $13B Manila Bay Airport


The Transportation Department is set to propose to President Benigno Aquino III the construction of a $13-billion international airport in central Manila Bay, one of the potential sites recommended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“We have gotten the pre-feasibility. This is a site location study for the new international airport. We hope to push it up to Neda [National Economic and Development Authority] board,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters.

The Neda board is chaired by President Aquino.

Abaya said Jica recommended two locations out of five sites considered for the new international gateway in Manila. The two are the Sangley Point in Cavite and central Manila Bay.

“I think these are the viable locations,” Abaya said.

The government wants to build a new international airport that is 25 to 30 minutes away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City, which is expected to reach its full capacity soon.

Jica said Naia would hit overcapacity this year, by which time the airport would handle 37.78 million passengers. By 2040, passenger traffic would reach 101.49 million.

Naia accommodated 31.88 million passengers in 2012, exceeding the 30 million yearly optimal capacity of the terminal. Its maximum handling capacity stands at 35 million passengers a year.

San Miguel Corp., which used to operate Philippine Airlines, earlier proposed to build a new international airport at a reclaimed area along the Manila-Cavity Coastal Road for $10 billion. San Miguel returned the control of PAL to tycoon Lucio Tan.

The proposed airport would have an international and domestic passenger handling capacity of 75 million passengers a year, with scalability to accommodate more than 100 million passengers.

It would be only 11 minutes away from the Makati central business district via a new airport expressway.

The Transportation Department said it was now focusing its efforts on airside operations, through its Naia Runway Optimization Project, which aimed to maximize the use of the runway and increase hourly air traffic movements from 40 up to 60.

The agency tapped world-renowned air traffic management expert Nats Services Limited, which started gathering data at the airport this week.

Nats will submit its recommendations on Naia’s current airspace, runway and terminal capacity, air traffic and surface operations, runway access points, and air traffic controllers’ training within the next six months.

The Manila International Airport Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will jointly implement the recommended improvement measures for the ensuing six months.

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, http://thestandard.com.ph

NAIA No Longer Among 10 Worst Airports in the World


Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (Image Source: philnews.ph)

MANILA, Philippines – The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is no longer in the list of the 10 worst airports in the world, according to the latest survey of the travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

“Rehabilitation efforts have helped decongest and clean up Terminal 1… The Wings Transit Lounge in Terminal 3 helped make things more comfortable, albeit for a price,” the website noted.

“There is still room for improvement though, as the website cited leaking ceilings in Terminal 1 and collapsing floors in Terminal 2,” it added.

The survey, however, showed that NAIA is still the eighth worst airport in Asia. NAIA was among the worst airports in the world based on the travel website’s survey from 2011 to 2013.

“Passengers remain annoyed by the poor customer service, the long queues, the sub-par food selection, the lack of restrooms and the crowded seating areas. There is definitely a long way to go but we’re thrilled to see improvements come along bit by bit,” according to the website.

The survey is conducted annually based on airport experiences of travelers. Travelers are asked to rate the services and facilities, terminal cleanliness, customer service and comfort.

NAIA Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta said they welcome the findings of the travel website, adding they always strive to improve their services and facilities.

Basanta said they are in the process of constructing waiting sites at the departure area so that passengers and those sending them off are not exposed to the sun and other elements. The project is worth P8 million.

He said the airport lounge was also refurbished and security beefed up in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit next month.

Worst airports

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The Port Harcourt International Airport of Nigeria emerged as the worst airport in the world this year, followed by Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal, Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan, Caracas Simon Bolivar International Airport in Venezuela and Port au Prince Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Haiti.

Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan is seventh worst airport, followed by Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Vietnam, Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan and Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport outside Paris.

In Asia, the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal was named worst airport.

Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan came in second, followed by Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan.

The other worst airports in in Asia are Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, Pakistan’s Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport, China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, India’s Chennai International Airport, Bangladesh’s Dhaka Shahjalal International Airport and Sri Lanka’s Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport.

Best airports

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Still the world’s best airport, Changi International Airport in Singapore.

Singapore’s Changi International Airport was named the best airport in the world.

South Korea’s Seoul Incheon International Airport, Japan’s Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Taiwan’s Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Germany’s Munich International Airport, Finland’s Helsinki International Airport, Canada’s Vancouver International Airport, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Switzerland’s Zurich Kloten International Airport also made it to the top 10 best airports list.

Asia’s best

In Asia, Singapore’s Changi International Airport, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, Japan’s Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Taiwan’s Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport were joined by Japan’s Osaka Kansai International Airport, India’s New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport as the 10 best airports.

Source: Rudy Santos, http://www.philstar.com

Php. 9.1B for Airport Development


A party-list lawmaker said on Sunday the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to spend a total of P9.1 billion next year to upgrade 31 international and domestic airports.

House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty said the bulk of the DOTC’s 2016 budget for aviation-related development projects will go to Panglao International Airport (P2.136 billion); Clark International Airport (P2.093 billion); and Naga Airport (P1.002 billion).

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Calbayog Airport (Image Source: calbayogevents.blogspot.com)

“Some of the money will be for new construction and facilities, and some for continuing projects,” said Ty, a member of the House transportation committee.

Moreover, the lawmaker said that domestic and international air-travel explosions due to falling aviation jet fuel prices would benefit the national economy.

Buoyed by lower fuel costs, the country’s two dominant carriers—Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines—now offer new promotional fares for domestic, as well as international destinations.

“Last year higher fuel prices accounted for 40 percent to 49 percent of the operating costs of Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air. This year lower fuel prices represent just 30 percent to 39 percent of their operating costs,” Ty said.

“If we look at how Filipinos are spending their savings from cheaper air fares, the money appears to be going mainly to travel-related expenses, including increased food consumption in airport terminals,” he said.

The higher consumption spending spurred by the drop in fuel prices contributes to overall economic growth, according to the lawmaker.

Airports getting fresh development funding:

  • Antique Airport-P10 million
  • Bagabag Airport-P11.8 million
  • Basco Airport-P33.2 million
  • Bicol International Airport-P747.4 million
  • Butuan Airport-P2 million
  • Calbayog Airport-P203.6 million
  • Cauayan Airport-P198.0 million
  • Cotabato Airport-P51.5 million
  • Dipolog Airport-P25.4 million
  • Laoag International Airport-P13.5 million
  • Ozamiz Airport-P20 million
  • Puerto Princesa International Airport-P68.1 million
  • Roxas Airport-P95.4 million
  • San Jose Airport-P185.7 million
  • San Vicente Airport-P34 million
  • Sanga-Sanga Airport-P577.7 million
  • Siargao Airport-P264.1 million
  • Siquijor Airport-P40.8 million
  • Taytay Airport-P8.8 million
  • Tuguegarao Airport-P194.6 million
  • Virac Airport-P32.6 million
  • Zamboanga International Airport-P160.1 million.

Source: Jovee Marie dela Cruz, http://www.businessmirror.com.ph

P15.3-B Clark International Airport Expansion


The Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) is optimistic that the newly approved expansion project at the Clark International Airport (CRK) will help increase flights, improve business and boost tourism in Central Luzon.

Atty. Emigdio Tanjuatco Jr., CIAC President/CEO, said the new project, costing R15.3 billion, is the new passenger terminal building at the CRK, whose development and expansion have been authorized by the National Economic and Development Authority headed by President Aquino.

Tanjuatco said the R15.3-billion world-class Passenger Terminal for Clark International Airport (CRK) will be bidded out and constructed next year.

The first phase of the project will see the development of a passenger terminal that can accommodate 3 million passengers annually. It is expected to be completed within two years.

The second phase of the project also involves the expansion of the new Passenger Terminal that will further accommodate another 5 million annually. “Overall, the Passenger Terminal will accommodate 8 million passengers annually,” he added,

“The (airport expansion) project will include the installation of equipment, airfield and facilities,’’ said Tanjuatco.

“The realization of development and expansion of the airport will lead to increased passenger flights as well as business and tourism in Central and Northern Luzon. Once this is completed, it can accommodate more than three million passengers a year,’’ he added.

The CRK is poised to become the premier international gateway based in Pampanga, next to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila..

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) had tapped the services of French firm Aeroports de Paris in 2014 to conduct a feasibility study as well as draw up the master plan for the new Passenger Terminal as well as other areas at the 2,367-hectare Civil Aviation Complex.

The current passenger capacity of the existing Passenger Terminal is at 4 million per year being utilized by budget airlines and full service airlines operating 24 hours a day.

The Clark airport is currently hosting a number of air carriers such as Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, CebGo, Tiger Air Singapore, Dragonair, Jin Air, and Air Asia Berhad.

CAAP: Only 41 of 82 Philippine Airports Operate Commercially


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MANILA – Senators told officials on Thursday not to let certain idle airports in different parts of the country remain unused and instead work to generate economic activity and income from them.

At a hearing on the proposed 2016 budget of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Director-General William Hotchkiss of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said his agency owns and operates 82 airports all over the country.

However, only about 41 have commercial operations. The rest are either idle or are used as flying schools and for military flights.

“What a waste,” Senate finance committee chair Loren Legarda said. “Is this customary…or are we wasting infrastructure which can be upgraded so we can have more domestic flights?”

Hotchkiss told the committee that airport authorities are now on a “catching up” mode, developing some airports for commercial purposes while upgrading others for military use.

However, he said having commercial airlines use some of the airports is beyond CAAP’s control.

“Getting commercial flights into an airport is an economic and business decision of the airlines themselves,” Hotchkiss said. “We cannot force them to fly to particular airports.”

Senate President Franklin Drilon said not every airport in the country was built with commercial viability in mind. Still, he advised CAAP to explore how to do business out of them.

“Maybe you can start looking at converting them into some high-value usage,” he said.

Drilon, who hails from Iloilo, cited the example of the city’s old airport, which has been turned into a business center by a private developer.

Legarda agreed. “When you keep and maintain the whole 82, there’s so much capital outlay or good money that can be used elsewhere,” she told airport officials.

Hotchkiss said CAAP is already heading towards that direction, with a plan “geared towards maximizing the full potential of the airports we have.”

He said five airports will be upgraded under government’s public-private partnership program, while a number have been selected for use by some 45 flying schools all over the country.

“We can maximize our potential as a flying school capital in the ASEAN region,” Hotchkiss said.

Source: Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Fresh Airport Pitch To Next Administration


MANILA — San Miguel plans to offer a more modest airport project to the next Philippine administration after an ambitious proposal for a $10-billion aviation hub for the capital failed to impress the current government.

Ramon Ang, the diversified conglomerate’s president and chief operating officer, said his new proposal will cover construction of a 2-billion-peso ($43 million) “budget terminal” and a 5-billion-peso runway near the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in southern Metro Manila.

Access and additional land near the Manila airport complex will cost around 50 billion pesos, Ang said.

The existing airport has two runways with capacity for 50 take-offs and landings an hour, and three main terminals that handle 30 million passenger movements annually. According to Ang, the revised terminal and runway proposal will double NAIA’s capacity.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ang described the revised project as “an unsolicited proposal” for the next administration, but did not go into the business model.

 Ang said Manila would eventually need a larger, more modern airport. The present facility was rated the region’s worst in one online survey. It handled 34 million passengers last year, well beyond its capacity, and the existing runways are unable to handle more aircraft movements, resulting in flight delays.

Last year, San Miguel pitched the unsolicited $10-billion airport project to President Benigno Aquino’s government, which generally prefers solicited proposals. It showed little interest.

 Aquino will end a constitutionally mandated single term of six years in 2016, and his successor may review the situation.

The original 800-hectare airport project had three terminals — one main hub for full-service carriers and two terminals to serve the growing number of budget airlines. It required reclamation of a portion of Manila Bay for four runways and 164 gates to provide capacity for 100 million passenger movements annually, according to San Miguel documents.

San Miguel is currently undertaking an 8-billion-peso expansion in the central Philippines of Caticlan Airport, the gateway to Boracay Island which receives over a million tourists annually.

Source: CLIFF VENZON, Nikkei staff writer

Philippines Eyes Direct Flights To India


The Philippines is looking at opening direct flight routes with India, in a bid to cash in on the rising thirst for outbound exotic travel among Indians. Currently, Indians wanting to fly to the 7,000-island archipelago need to transit through several hubs in between, including Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“We are keen on exploring direct flights between India and the Philippines, which would certainly help tap the tourism potential of both nations. We are talking to several Filipino carriers to seek the best possibilities to realise this plan. We have also asked our team in India to talk to airlines here. We are hoping that by early next year, direct flights would commence,” Gerry Panga, Tourism Attache at the Department of Tourism, the Philippines, told Deccan Herald.

“We have found that countries with direct flights from India have greater growth opportunities. At present, we are looking at linking Delhi and Mumbai, with Manila,” he said, on the sidelines of the PATA Travel Mart 2015.

In 2014, around 61,000 Indians visited the Philippines, registering a growth of 17.5 per cent in inbound Indian tourists. Between January-June this year, 37,093 Indians visited the Philippines, registering a growth of 24 per cent. “By the end of this year, we expect over 65,000 Indians to visit our country, scripting a growth of around 30 per cent,” Panga said.

The country boasts of three-day visa clearance for Indian travelers. Last year, the Philippines unveiled a friendly visa policy wherein Indians with valid multiple-entry visas to the US, the UK, Europe, Japan and Canada, could visit the country for 21 days.

Source: Hrithik Kiran Bagade, http://www.deccanherald.com

NAIA T3 Mess: Philippines’ Supreme Court Orders $510M Payment To Airport Contractor


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MANILA: The Philippines’ Supreme Court has ordered the government to pay $510.3 million to the local contractor of a controversial airport project after a more than decade-long legal row that raised doubts about the nation’s investment climate.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 has been embroiled in legal disputes between the government and its contractor, Philippine International Airport Terminals Co Inc (PIATCO), over what the government should pay the contractor. German airport operator Fraport is a shareholder in PIATCO.

“The government is hereby ordered to make direct payment of the just compensation due to PIATCO,” the Supreme Court said in a ruling released on Wednesday.

The government shall have ownership of NAIA Terminal 3 after it fully pays the amount to PIATCO, it added.

The compensation of $510.3 million was composed of a principal amount of $326.93 million plus interest accrued from September 2006 to December 2014.

PIATCO had sought a compensation of $846 million. But the Supreme Court said it cannot allow PIATCO to profit from the operation of Terminal 3 whose funds are sourced from the public coffers.

Fraport has been trying to take the Philippines to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in seeking claims over the project.

NAIA Terminal 3 was targeted to be in service in 2002 but started full operations only last year because of the disputes.

It has a capacity of 13 million passengers and hosts foreign carriers such as Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Emirates.

Source: Reuters