1Q Passenger Traffic Increases by 5% for Int’l and 12% for Domestic


Civil Aeronautics Board of the Philippines announced  that international passenger traffic for the 1st quarter of 2016 reached 5.61 million in January to March, up from 5.34 million passengers in the same period last year. International carriers account for 2.65 million passengers while Philippine carriers flew 2.95 million international passengers.

Despite this modest growth, passenger traffic is still hampered by slot limitation at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s main gateway.

International Traffic (1st quarter of 2016)

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  1. Philippine Airlines – 1.55 million passengers (up from 1.46 million)
  2. Cebu Pacific Air – 1.12 million passengers (from 837,942)
  3. Philippines AirAsia – 222,330
  4. PAL Express – 60,992

Domestic Traffic (1st quarter of 2016)

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  1. Cebu Pacific Air – 3.03 million passengers
  2. PAL Express – 1.15 million passengers
  3. Philippines AirAsia – 657,102 passengers
  4. Philippine Airlines – 563,070 passengers
  5. CebGo – 377,096 passengers
  6. AirSwift – 33,515 passengers
  7. Magnum Air – 30,191 passengers

CAB earlier reported a 12-percent increase in domestic passengers to 5.84 million in the first quarter from 5.23 million a year ago.

Philippine Air Traffic Hits 38.3M In 2014


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MANILA – The country’s air passenger traffic reached 38.3 million in 2014, 610,291 more than the 37.7 million recorded in 2013, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said.

The 1.6 percent growth came amid the aggressive route expansion of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific.

CAB said international passenger traffic increased to nearly 18 million last year, 3.4 percent higher than the 17.3 million in 2013.

Domestic passenger traffic, however, was flat at 20.35 million in 2014 from 20.33 million in 2013.

For international flights, PAL and PAL Express flew a combined 5 million passengers while budget airline Cebu serviced 3.19 million passengers. Both airlines launched new long-haul routes and expanded international routes last year.

For domestic operations, PAL only flew 793,512 passengers, a drop of nearly 70 percent from the 2.58 million it serviced in 2013 as PAL Express took over most of domestic flights.

The volume of passengers carried by PAL Express to domestic destinations jumped 18 percent to 5.13 million last year from 4.35 million in 2013.

Cebu Pacific, on the other hand, flew 11.08 million domestic passengers, 8.2 percent higher than 10.24 million passengers in 2013.

Tiger Airway Philippines, which was recently rebranded to Cebgo, flew 1.3 million passengers, 34.5 percent more than the 969,753 passengers it serviced last year.

Data also show that 34.1 million international and domestic passengers used Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last year, 4 percent higher than the 32.8 million in 2013.

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), meanwhile, saw a 2 percent decline in volume to 6.84 million last year from 6.99 million in 2013.

Government has been aggressive in pursuing air talks as part of its open skies policy. Air service deals with Singapore, Oman, and Australia were closed this year.

Air talks are set to be held with Mexico, Qatar, Australia, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan and Qatar within the year.

Last year, the Philippines signed air agreements with Ethiopia, South Africa, Macau, Canada, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and France.

Source: ABS-CBNnews.com

Philippines To Engage 6 Countries In Air Talks


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The Philippines is eyeing air talks with as many as six countries in the first half of 2015 to support the growth of the country’s trade and tourism sectors.

According to Civil Aeronautics Board Carmelo Arcilla, the country hopes to engage Australia, Singapore, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan and Qatar in negotiations through the second quarter of 2015.

Following an air panel meeting on Monday, Arcilla said there was still no decision on potentially controversial air talks with the United Arab Emirates, likely to be contested by domestic carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

He noted that air talks with Singapore would take place on Feb. 12, to be followed by talks with Taiwan in March.

“There is a lot of demand for Singapore, and airlines are fully utilizing our entitlements,” Arcilla said. He noted that Philippine carriers are operating about 17,000 seats a week to Singapore.

“We want to expand opportunities. There is a provision in the agreement that allows stopover rights, meaning Singapore carriers can fly to Cebu and onwards to Davao, for example,” he said, pointing to opportunities brought on by the rise in traffic rights.

In March this year, the country hopes to start negotiations with Australia, which is an expansion target of some domestic carriers, Arcilla said.

There are about about 390,000 Filipinos in Australia, based on 2012 data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Air talks between the Philippines and Australia were last held in 2013. At the time, both countries failed to reach an agreement due to “outstanding issues,” which included the so-called fifth freedom rights.

Arcilla said air negotiations with Russia, Turkey and Qatar were being planned for the second quarter of the year.

Source: Miguel R. Camus, PDI

CAB Scraps Airline Fuel Surcharge, Airlines Confirm Airfare Rollback


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MANILA, Philippines–Expect airline ticket prices to ease as early as next week as the government scraps the fuel surcharge on domestic and international flights operating in the Philippines because of the sharp decline in global crude oil prices.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said Wednesday that the resolution to remove the fuel surcharge was signed Wednesday. He said that airlines would be served with the order starting Thursday and will be effective “immediately.”

The effect on the ticket price is expected to vary. The fuel surcharge runs from a few hundred pesos for domestic flights to several hundreds of US dollars for long-haul international flights.

By Monday

“It should be safe to say that carriers should have removed the surcharge by next Monday,” Arcilla said, taking into account the time the order is given to carriers and the upcoming weekend. The order will not affect tickets that have been purchased before airlines have been formally notified.

In line with this, the CAB published Resolution No. 79 (BM 10-12-22-2014), which also noted that oil prices have declined 25 percent from June to November. Crude oil this week fell below $50 per barrel, extending the drop to about 50 percent, with some forecasts pointing to prolonged weakness in the commodity’s value as global demand slows.

The fuel surcharge is typically granted by the government to help airlines recover part of volatile fuel costs, usually an airline’s single-biggest operating expense. But this should no longer apply when oil prices are falling, Arcilla said.

“With the substantial and continuous decrease of fuel prices in the world market, the board has deemed it appropriate to compel airiness to discontinue their imposition of fuel surcharge,” part of the CAB resolution read.

Airlines unhappy?

The resolution specifically removes “the authority of domestic airlines and international airlines operating to and from the Philippines to impose fuel surcharges on international and domestic flights,” it added.

Some airlines have indicated they would seek reconsideration, Arcilla said, although he did not name these.

“As far as the board is concerned, it will be given effect,” he said.

In its resolution, the CAB cited other carriers that have either removed or reduced their fuel surcharge. It said Malaysia Airlines had lifted the fuel surcharge since July 2013 while Japan Airlines, Hong Kong Dragon and Cathay Pacific reduced the surcharge last year.

Other carriers argued that fluctuating costs were not the only factor as jet fuel prices are sometimes covered by contracts—meaning carriers have agreed to pay a fixed price for a certain period of time.

Domestic carriers like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and the local units of AirAsia of Malaysia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: Miguel R. Camus, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Airlines Confirm Airfare Rollback

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Board (CAB) confirmed on Wednesday that all airline companies in the country implemented an airfare rollback.
The House of Representatives committee on transportation issued a resolution last January 8 which orders airline companies to remove the fuel surcharge from the airfares.
According to a report from radio dzMM, Cebu Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Gokongwei, Philippine Airlines Senior Vice President on Airline Operations Ismael Gozon at AirAsia Zest Philippines CEO Joy Cañeba confirmed that the surcharge was omitted in the airfares as mandated by the House Resolution.
The fuel surcharge was a temporary add-on to ticket fares as a contingency for oil price hikes and systems loss.
The CAB conducted two hearings before the House Resolution was issued.
Source:  (philstar.com)

Lower Airfares Seen As CAB Lifts Fuel Surcharge


Mga bagong bayani.
Lower Airfares Expected

MANILA, Philippines – Lower fares await airline passengers as the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) ordered the lifting of the fuel surcharge imposed by foreign and domestic airlines.

Per Resolution No. 79 (BM 10-12-22-2014) dated December 22 and published Tuesday, January 6, CAB ordered lifting the authority of domestic and foreign airlines to impose fuel surcharge on domestic and international flights.

“Whereas, with the substantial and continuous decrease of fuel prices in the world market, the Board has deemed it appropriate to compel airlines to discontinue their imposition of fuel surcharge,” CAB stated in the 4-page resolution.

Transportation Undersecretaries Jose Perpetuo Lotilla and Benito Bengzon J., together with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director-general William Hotchkiss III and former Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Victor Jose Luciano, signed the resolution.

Airline passengers could expect lower air fares starting the end of the week with the removal of the fuel surcharge on domestic and international flights, CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in a telephone interview.

The fuel surcharge depend on the flight’s distance, Arcilla said.

The surcharge ranges from P200 ($4.44*) to P500 ($11.10) for domestic flights, but could go as high as P15,000 ($332.88) for international destinations.

Fuel cost accounts for over 50% of airlines’ total operating costs.

Slash fuel surcharge

The CAB allows airlines to impose such surcharge to help them recover fuel costs and stem losses caused by the sudden upward spikes in fuel prices.

Per prevailing international practice, fuel surcharge may be reduced or removed as it is not part of the basic fare, depending on the price of jet fuel in the world market.

Citing data from the Department of Energy (DOE), the CAB said fuel prices have declined by more or less 25.51% from January to November last year.

As of December 26, jet fuel price in the world market plunged 42% to $75 per barrel, data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed.

On December 5, CAB summoned domestic and foreign airlines to explain why they have not reduced or lifted the fuel surcharge imposed on airline passengers.

Malaysian Airlines lifted its fuel surcharge as early as July 2013.

Asiana, Etihad Airways, Jin Air, Korean Air, and Qantas argued though that jet fuel remains relatively high, and it is not the only factor considered in imposing fuel surcharge.

Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines reported a slash in fuel surcharge by 33.44% to $18.30 last October from $27.90.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines reduced their fuel surcharge by 6.9% to $80 in January 2014 from $86.

Gulf Air fixed its fuel surcharge of $90 as early as 2010, followed by Jeju Air at $40 and Qatar Airways at $120 in 2012.

Source: Rappler.com

Lawmakers Hit CAB For Failing To Protect Airline Passengers


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Lawmakers on Monday criticized the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for failing to protect passengers from excessive fares and dismal service of airlines following the holiday flight fiasco involving Cebu Pacific Air which left thousands of passengers stranded in airports.
In House Resolution 1780, Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani said Cebu Pacific’s holiday flight fiasco has become a common occurrence, with other airlines guilty of causing inconvenience to passengers by cancelling flights, delaying arrivals and departures, and charging them excessive penalties and rebooking fees.
Colmenares and Zarate noted passengers never get refunds when airlines cancel or change flight schedules.
Despite such violations committed by airlines, the lawmakers said CAB “has failed to protect the interest of airline passengers up till now.”

Accountable For Dismal Service

In an earlier interview, Colmenares said CAB is also accountable for the airlines’ dismal service.
“While it is good that the CAB will already start their investigation to get to some of the details of the continued inconvenience of airline passengers, I think that the CAB should also be probed for not doing its duty to regulate these airlines and protect airline passengers,” he said.
CAB last week summoned Cebu Pacific officials to explain the cancellation of 20 flights and the delays of 720 others from Dec. 24 to 26, which caused inconvenience to thousands of passengers.
CAB officials dismissed as “unacceptable” the argument that fiasco was caused by air traffic congestion, weather condition, and sudden leave of absence of ground crews.
It will release its recommendation for the airline, including the sanctions it may face, by mid-January.
‘Deceptively Low’ Fares
Other problems which the lawmakers said should be investigated by Congress the practice of airlines offering “deceptively low” initial base fares, but charging them prohibitive taxes and surcharges, and the policy of making passengers pay for the use of the passenger tube even though it should be a service.
In addition, Colmenares and Zarate said airlines should offer lower fares by now as fuel prices have decreased significantly in recent weeks.
Also on Monday, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone filed House Resolution 1782 asking the House committees on transportation and legislative franchises to probe Cebu Pacific in particular for possible violations of Republic Act 7151 and other related laws over the widespread flight delays and cancellations during the peak holiday season.
The lawmaker noted the airline had no excuse to cancel as well as delay the arrivals and departures since there was no reported weather disturbance in Metro Manila during those three days.
“There have been complaints by paying passengers on Cebu Pacific’s poor services, resulting in long queues, flight delays and cancellations without due notice, overbooking, among others, even on Christmas holidays, on December 24, 25, and 26, 2014, in particular,” he said.
Franchise Duties
Section 3 of Republic Act 7151, which granted Cebu Pacific’s franchise to operate an airline in 1991, states: “Excepting cases of force majeure and whenever weather conditions permit, the grantee shall maintain scheduled/ non-scheduled/ chartered air transport services between and all points throughout the Philippines.”
Citing news reports, Evardone attributed the disenfranchisement of Cebu Pacific’s passengers during the holiday travel season to the airline’s apparent lack of a contingency plan to address the deluge of passengers, especially at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Evardone warned the airline could lose its franchise if Congress finds it remiss in fulfilling the duties stated in its franchise.
“[A]s grantors of the franchise, it is incumbent upon this august body to check on the conduct of Cebu Air Inc., as grantee and terminate the franchise for the common good,” he said.
Source:VS, GMA News

Cebu Pacific Files Petition For Reallocation Of Entitlements To Italy


5J will fly to Kuwait (September 2) and Sydney (September 9). Next stop...New Zealand
5J to Italy pending CAB Application

Cebu Pacific has filed with Civil Aeronautics Board an application for reallocation of additional entitlements to Italy from the unutilized seat entitlements previously allocated to Philippine Airlines based on the confidential Memorandum of Agreement signed last September 5, 2013 between the Philippines and Italy.

The hearing is scheduled on January 14, 2015 at the CAB Conference Room.

DOTC, CAB Not Satisfied with Cebu Pacific’s Explanation


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A contingency plan should have be in place during peak seasons like Christmas and New Year to ensure passenger welfare, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya says.

MANILA, Philippines – Not satisfied.

That is the reaction of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to Cebu Air Inc’s (Cebu Pacific) explanation over its bungled holiday operations that saw a delay of the budget carrier’s 100 flights on Christmas Eve.

In a television interview, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that Cebu Pacific should have prepared a contingency plan to accommodate and address the needs of passengers, particularly during the Christmas season.

Abaya also stressed the failure of the overworked staff of Cebu Pacific to perform efficiently during the holiday rush is not an acceptable reason.

An initial investigation showed that 142 flights were delayed on December 24 – 100 belonged to Cebu Pacific, MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said during the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) hearing on the incident on Monday, December 29.

The check-in counters of Cebu Pacific were undermanned on that date resulting in long queues, Honrado added.

MIAA is also not buying Cebu Pacific’s excuse that the delays and flight cancellations were caused by air traffic congestion and bad weather, Honrado said.

As such, DOTC tasked CAB to look into the possible revisions of the Civil Aeronautics Act, including the Air Passenger Bill of Rights to protect the riding public.

Also, a panel was formed to look into the liability of Cebu Pacific amid the rising number of complaints from passengers following the December 24 delays and cancellations, CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.

The panel, composed of CAB, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is set to meet early January 2015 to look into the documents and reports to be submitted by Cebu Pacific.

“All of these 3 agencies oversee the airline operations, so the findings of this joint committee will be submitted to our respective board for evaluation and for regulations,” Abaya added.

On Sunday, December 28, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares admonished his colleagues in the House of Representatives for failing to swiftly act on an earlier motion to launch a congressional probe into the supposedly excessive fares, delays, and dismal services of the Gokongwei-led budget carrier.

This early, CAB is looking at disallowing overbooking during peak seasons such as the Christmas holidays to avoid “bumping off” of passengers.

Airlines are currently allowed to overbook 10% of total seats to serve as buffer in case passengers fail to show on time.

The budget carrier earlier said that it will cooperate with any investigation to be undertaken by the government.

“We will fully cooperate with the CAB to address their inquiries,” Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs Jorenz Tanada said in a text message.

Source: Rappler.com

Philippine Regulator Grants 3rd Daily Flights to Emirates Until 26 January 2015


MANILA – Regulators approved Emirates Airlines’ request for an extension of its third daily flight between Manila and Dubai.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the agency granted Emirates 30 more days or until January 26 to offer a third daily flight.

Arcilla said the board approved the carrier’s request because of the huge demand from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the holiday season.

“The board’s action is premised on the need to assure that passengers, especially the big volume of OFWs traveling to and from the Philippine during the holiday season, would not be inconvenienced or dislocated,” he said.

Representatives of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific were unavailable for comment as this went online. Both local carriers had bucked Emirates’ bid for a third extension, complaining that the first two extensions were illegal.

“We are grateful to the authorities in the Philippines for granting an extension on our third daily flight from Manila to Dubai up to 26 January. It is a positive decision that will provide passengers with uninterrupted travel plans, offer increased options for travel during the busy festive season, and one which will be welcomed by the thousands of Filipino travelers and businesses who prefer to use our services to get to Dubai and beyond,” Barry Brown, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for Commercial Operations East, said.

“At Emirates, we remain committed to the Philippines and will continue to work closely with the Civil Aeronautics Board to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all stakeholders. We hope that the interests of consumers and the business community will continue to prevail,” Brown added.

The CAB had issued a cease and desist order, barring Emirates from selling tickets for a third daily flight for schedules beyond December 26, after PAL and Cebu Pacific complained that the third daily flight wasn’t covered by a regulatory permit.

To recall, CAB only extended Emirates’ extra flights twice, or from October 27 to November 26, and from November 27 to December 26.

The Philippine-United Arab Emirates Confidential Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) provides for a maximum of 14 weekly frequencies for the Middle Eastern country’s flag carrier.

Government data show that there are over 700,000 Filipinos working in United Arab Emirates.

Source:

CAB Slapped 1.8M Pesos Fine On Emirates


MANILA, Philippines – Top Middle Eastern carrier Emirates Airlines has been slapped with a P1.8 million fine by Philippine regulators.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said it imposed a P1.8 million fine on Emirates for selling tickets for a third additional Manila-Dubai route without first getting its approval.

Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of CAB, said Emirates violated rules when it sold the tickets for flights until October 2015.

Emirates was only given a 30-day extension or until December 26 to operate the extra flight (in addition to its two daily flights) between manila and Dubai. The airline had earlier received the first 30-day extension which expired on November 26.

“The law prohibits an airline from selling flight services without authority to operate such flight, obviously for reasons of public policy that seeks to protect the public from the hazards arising from the uncertainty and unreliability of an unauthorized flight,” Arcilla said.

Arcilla noted CAB has already ordered Emirates to stop selling tickets for the third daily flight beyond December 26.

“Emirates is ordered to desist from selling services for a third daily flight between Manila and Dubai, vice versa, beyond December 26, which is the expiration date of the second 30-day period it is allowed to operate a third daily flight,” he said.

The CAB decision comes after Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific stepped up its offensive against Emirates over what it called “excessive” Manila-Dubai flights.

“Emirates has already been granted and unfair and unwarranted frequency advantage, by operating a third daily frequency beyond what is allowed by the UAE-Philippines agreement. An imbalance has been created: Today, UAE airlines operate 5 daily frequencies to and from the Philippines, whereas Philippine carriers only operate 3 daily frequencies between the Philippines and UAE,” PAL and Cebu Pacific said earlier.

The two Philippine carrier are also opposing the proposed new air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

“Negotiating any new agreement with the UAE at this time would only serve to reward Emirates, the UAE’s biggest airline, for having blatantly disregarded the authority of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) by continuing to offer and sell flights without the approval or authorization of the CAB. Defiance of our regulatory authorities should be appropriately penalized rather than handsomely rewarded,” they said.

Last October, CAB turned down Emirates’ petition to use PAL’s unutilized frequency until March next year, but the carrier filed an appeal.

For its part, Emirates said it has already spent a total of $99.2 million in the Philippines including fuel uplift, aircraft landing and handling costs, in-flight catering, advertising, and area overheads.

“Emirates has proven time and again that it is committed to the Philippines’ growth. From the first Manila-Dubai flight we offered in 1990 to the ones in operation today, we will continue to serve the Filipino people,” Emirates senior vice president for aeropolitical and industry affairs Salem Obaidalla said.

Emirates Philippines country manager Abdalla Al Zaman said said they remain committed to the country.

“As we look forward to 2015, we will still uphold our commitment to providing innovative products and the highest quality to customers, shippers, and business partners in the aviation and travel industries. Emirates passengers can certainly expect for more,” he said.

Source: ABS-CBNnews.com