AirAsia Upbeat After Consolidating PH Operations


Southeast Asia’s largest budget carrier has consolidated its Philippine operation two years after local unit AirAsia Inc. acquired home grown airline ZestAir in 2013.

Philippines AirAsia Inc. has replaced the AirAsia Zest brand following the approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission in September and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Civil Aeronautics Board this month

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“Efficient service to our guests and safety are at the heart of everything we do in Philippines AirAsia. We are here to provide only the best value and world-class service that every Filipino deserves,” Philippines AirAsia chief executive Joy Cañeba said.

The airline has 927 regular employees after the transition into a single operating certificate in September. Captain Dexter Commendador was also recently appointed chief operating officer.

Philippines AirAsia also announced promotional sale for its  international and domestic flights to/from Manila, Davao, Cebu, Tagbilaran (Bohol), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Kalibo(Boracay), Tacloban, Hong Kong, Macau, for  as low as P1,299, all-in and one-way only.

The booking  period is between December 7 and December 13, while the travel period is now until June 30, 2016.

Malaysia’s Air Asia, through AA International, owns 40 percent of Philippines’ Air Asia Inc., while Filipinos Marriane Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Alfredo Yao hold the balance of 60 percent.

Cañeba earlier said the company planned to lease five A320 aircraft from Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad, which would be deployed in China and South Korea.

She added the company’s planned IPO would be moved to the first quarter of 2018 from the original target of 2017.

“The IPO will definitely happen,” Cañeba said, adding the company planned to raise $200 million.

Philippines Air Asia incurred a net loss of P777 million in the April-to-June period, down 40 percent from P1.3 billion in the same three months of last year.

The company’s revenue during the period rose 6 percent to P2.3 billion from last year’s P2.2 billion.

The airline attributed the higher revenue to a 6-percent increase in passenger traffic to 976,381 this year from 924,155 passengers last year.

Load factor expanded to 80 percent from 77 percent on year.

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

AirAsia Consolidates Philippines Operations


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AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int’l) is on track to consolidate its two Filipino operations – AirAsia Philippines (PQ, Manila) and AirAsia Zest (Z2, Manila) – into one single, unified entity. Having secured the go-ahead from the Filipino senate earlier in the year, Philippines AirAsia CEO Joy Caneba told CAPA that final approval to merge the brands was recently secured with the AirAsia Zest brand to be phased out in due course.

In February, AirAsia Philippines moved to acquire a majority 51% shareholding in Zest Airways, Inc. t/a AirAsia Zest. Under the deal, Zest Airways Inc.’s majority shareholder Alfredo Yao took a 15% stake in AirAsia Philippines in addition to cash, while AirAsia Philippines’ existing Filipino shareholders – Antonio Cojuangco, Michael Romero, and Marianne Hontiveros – each received a 15% stake in the carrier. The remaining 40% is owned by parent company, AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia.

Regulatory requirements complete, AirAsia Zest will rebrand and operate as AirAsia Philippines thereby unifying the AirAsia brand in the Philippines, Caneba added.

In terms of operations, the new consolidated carrier will sell off its older A320-200s as well as those powered by V2500s that were inherited from Zest. With each of the carrier’s shareholders injecting a total of USD50 million in fresh capital, the Filipino LCC intends to resume fleet growth in 2016 adding three additional A320-200s each year.

In terms of networking plans, the airline will focus on developing its Chinese market operations where growth has been particularly strong. Future bases will likely focus on secondary cities and may include Puerto Princesa which the LCC intends to connect with destinations in China as well as Malaysia once airport facilities permit.

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

AirAsia Philippines Can Now Fly To Europe


The European Union has lifted the ban on Philippines’ AirAsia, allowing the local unit of Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline to fly to European countries.

“Yes, the EU lifted the ban two weeks ago,” said Alfredo Yao, a board member of AirAsia Inc., operator of Philippines’ AirAsia.

Yao confirmed the company planned to expand routes to include Europe. AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia and Filipino businessmen led by Yao own Philippines’ AirAsia.

The EU and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and European Union are set to formally announce the highlights of the updated EU air safety list soon.

“We are expanding actually. We will have a board meeting on July 3,” Yao said.

Yao said Philippines’ Air Asia was looking at interconnecting with AirAsia X, the long-haul unit of the AirAsia Group for the company’s expansion to Europe.

Currently, only Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air are out of the EU black list of airlines.

The decision comes after the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) upgraded the Philippines to Category 1 status, allowing PAL and other local carriers to add flights to and from the US.

Philippines’ AirAsia earlier  reported a net loss of P854.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, a significant improvement from P1.4-billion net loss in the first quarter of 2014.

The airline recorded revenue of P2.1 billion in the first quarter, 6 percent  lower than P2.2 billion it posted in the first quarter of 2014.

AirAsia Philippines blamed the decline in revenue to the lower passenger volumes,  which decreased 6 percent  to 843,250 from 894,733 last  year.  Load factor went up by 11 percentage points to 77 percent from 66 percent.

AirAsia Berhad group chief executive Tony Fernandes earlier said Philippines’ AirAsia might be listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2018.

The Philippine unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to acquire 100 percent of Zest Airways Inc.

The Senate committee on public services approved the sale of Zest Airways to AirAsia Philippines in December last year. The House committee on franchise also gave its consent in February last year.

Malaysia’s Air Asia, through AA International, owns 40 percent of Philippines’ AirAsia Inc., while Filipinos Marriane Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Alfredo Yao hold the balance of 60 percent.

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, http://manilastandardtoday.com

AirAsia Philippines Overshoots Kalibo Runway


Escape: Local journalist Jet Damazo-Santos was on board the plane and uploaded photographs to Twitter showing chaotic scenes as passengers were forced to disembark the aircraft on emergency slides

  • AirAsia passenger plane overshot Kalibo Airport in the Philippines
  • Passengers and crew forced to evacuate aircraft using emergency slide 
  • Incident was blamed on poor weather caused by tropical storm Seniang 
  • Nobody hurt, although elderly passengers had blood pressure checked
  • Comes just hours after 40 bodies from another AirAsia flight were found
  • Corpses and wreckage were discovered off the coast of Indonesia 

Chaotic scenes: Shoeless members of AirAsia cabin crew stand on the runway at Kalibo Airport, having removed their footwear to use the plane's inflatable slide

An AirAsia airliner has overshot the runway at an airport in the Philippines forcing passengers to make an urgent exit on emergency slides, it has been claimed.

The incident occured at Kalibo Airport in Aklan province and involved an Airbus A320-216 carrying 153 passengers and crew from the Filipino capital Manila.

Local journalist Jet Damazo-Santos was on board the plane and uploaded photographs to Twitter showing chaotic scenes as passengers were forced to disembark the aircraft on emergency slides.

‘Engine was shut immediately, we were told to leave bags, deplane asap. Firetruck was waiting,’ she said, adding that there appeared to be no injuries despite the plane coming to an ‘abrupt stop’.

The incident comes just hours after six bodies and wreckage were recovered from the sea off the Indonesian coast of Borneo Island following the disappearance of Air Asia flight 8501 on Sunday.

Describing the terrifying incident, Ms Damazo-Santos said: ‘Nobody seems to be hurt. Weather was bad because of #senangph [sic]. Plane came to a very abrupt stop.’

Her mention of bad weather refers to tropical storm Seniang, which has been battering the Philippines for several days.

She updated her Twitter account with a number of photographs taken in the aftermath of the incident, including images of elderly patients having their blood pressure checked and shoeless members of cabin standing on the runway, having removed their footwear to use the inflatable slide.

Ms Damazo-Santos said that her flight had been delayed by two hours after the poor weather at Kalibo Airport had earlier forced a plane from Cebu Pacific airlines to turn back to Manila.

With all passengers said to be safe, Ms Damazo-Santos said they now face a long wait to reclaim their luggage as officials insist the plane is towed to a parking area before it can be unloaded.

The journalist later wrote about her experience for the Filipino news website Rappler.

In a statement AirAsia said: ‘AirAsia Philippines confirms flight Z2 272 from Manila skidded off the Kalibo International Airport runway at 5:43PM upon landing. All 153 passengers and crew were able to disembark safely, no injuries reported.’

‘All passengers are now at a hotel assisted by AirAsia staff,’ they added.

The incident comes just hours after six bodies were recovered from the Java Sea following the disappearance of AirAsia flight 8501 on Sunday. 162 people were on board the flight when it disappeared from radars 42 minutes into its flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore.

Poor weather has been suggested a likely factor in that crash after it emerged the pilot requested to deviate from its flight plan and climb above bad weather.

By the time permission to do so was granted, the plane had already vanished from radars.

Officials have confirmed that bodies and debris found in Java Sea off Indonesia are from AirAsia flight 8501, and a naval spokesman said the rescuers remain ‘very busy’ retrieving the victims.

Scores of bodies were discovered alongside luggage, a plane door and an emergency slide floating in the water 100 miles off the coast of Borneo Island earlier today after three days of searching.

The recovery of six bodies came as devastated relatives of AirAsia crash victims collapsed in grief and were taken to hospital after an Indonesian television station showed disturbing uncensored footage of the corpses floating in the sea.

Images shown on a news channel showed at least one body floating in the water, causing the victims’ relatives – who were watching live reports at crisis-centre at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya – to burst into tears, with some fainting and requiring hospital treatment.

Source: John Hall for MailOnline

AirAsia Seeks More Asean Building Work


2014429094328If a company could ever symbolise the development of the Asean bloc as it prepares for economic integration in 2015, AirAsia might stake a large claim.

Tony Fernandes’ low-cost Malaysia-based airline not only connects much of the region but has also been instrumental in lobbying governments for better coordination between states.

Perhaps more importantly, AirAsia, Asean’s biggest low-cost carrier, is on the frontline in a battle that has stymied the region for years: namely the parlous state of infrastructure.

“The problem is infrastructure,” Raman Narayanan, AirAsia group head, Asean affairs and government relations, told FinanceAsia. “Every airport in Asean is bursting at the seams. It is becoming a very big issue.”

Southeast Asia’s international air travel market grew by 20% from about 4.7 million weekly seats in April 2012 to 5.6 million weekly seats in October 2013, according to CAPA and Innovata data.

Airports under development in Asean are failing to keep pace with this growing number of air travellers. Indonesia and the Philippines in particular trail neighbouring countries in terms of the pace of development.

According to airline magazine New Airport Insider, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta, the main airport in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy by GDP, handled 60.1 million passengers in 2013. The airport is designed to handle 22 million passengers.

Plans are under way to boost the capacity to 62 million but this won’t be complete until 2017 at the earliest, according to the magazine. And it’s a similar story at airports across the country and region.

The Philippines’ four major airports, meanwhile, could barely cope with 7.7 million tourists in 2014 but that number is expected to surpass 10 million by 2016. Plans have been lodged with the government for a new airport in Manila to help ease the strain but these are at a very early stage.

Upgrading existing national airports is expensive and takes years to complete. AirAsia argues it is therefore not the best solution for the Asean bloc.

“In almost all of Asean — and elsewhere too for that matter — airports are monopolies, either public monopolies or private ones,” Narayanan said. “We have recommended that governments allow competition among airports, much like liberalisation has boosted competition among airlines and lowered fares for consumers.”

AirAsia is lobbying governments to follow Malaysia and Thailand, which have airports that handle legacy carriers and also airports that cater solely to low-cost carriers.

In addition to being cheaper to build, low-cost carrier airports’ operating costs are less than legacy counterparts, according to AirAsia. This trickles down to the airlines and keeps fees, taxes and charges to the airlines down.

“We are constantly emphasising the need for low-cost airports to all governments in the region,” Narayanan said. “Clearly, Thailand and Malaysia have heeded our requests. Others are still mulling it over.”

“Both [prestige and low-cost airports] have very different business models. If you want to build a national airport for legacy purposes, that’s fine, go ahead. But first [governments] should focus on building low-cost carrier terminals for low-cost carriers that can support a lot of planes. The money comes in volume [of planes], not from more people flying,” he added.

The issue is important because some 60% of Southeast Asia air travel is on low-cost carriers, according to CAPA, the airline research group, a number that’s expected to grow.

“Low-cost airlines just need a simple airport. We don’t need marble floors, we don’t need bridges. We don’t need a Taj Mahal,” Narayanan said.

If governments build more low-cost carrier airports that boost competition among airport operators, this will lower costs for airlines and consumers, he argued.

This is important considering the traditionally punishing effects of fuel prices, which get passed on to passengers and which have – up to recently at least – been high.

It is also timely as the Asean bloc develops, and its population becomes more wealthy and has more disposable income to play with.

“The very nature of our business — making air travel affordable and accessible by serving the underserved — helps integrate the region,”  Narayanan said.

Formed nearly a half century ago, Asean is now an economic powerhouse, attracting investment from around the world, and would be the world’s seventh largest economy as a combined entity.

Asean has experienced average annual growth rates of 5.1% between 2000 and 2013, behind only China and India. More than 600 million people live in Asean; a population that is becoming increasingly wealthy.

AirAsia growth

AirAsia itself is testament to this growth.

The airline started in 2002 with one route – between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi – two planes and a staff of 250. Now Asean’s largest low-cost carrier has more than 88 destinations and carries more than 220 million people annually. More than half of its destinations are in Southeast Asia.

AirAsia began with the premise that the no-frills, hassle-free, low-fare business model was the way forward. The business model proved prescient. Now over 50% of intra-Asean air travel is on low-cost carriers, a number that is forecast to increase.

“I went out there and built an Asean airline by putting airlines in four countries. I found ways of doing it. I didn’t wait for the Asean community,” AirAsia’s founder Tony Fernandes told consultants McKinsey recently.

Ultimately, though, Asean governments have to be negotiated with if growth is to be maintained, and Narayanan contends the airline is constantly negotiating, especially as the industry is heavily regulated.

“We need the nod from governments for much of what we do,” he said.

At the moment, flights are restricted by government-to-government deals. It is not possible for an airline to fly to a country without that government’s permission. All of this will go out the window under the impending Open Skies initiative. “Anybody can fly to any country,” he said. “The access to the routes will be fantastic.”

AirAsia is heavily involved in pushing Open Skies, which promises to enhance air connectivity among Asean, bring down trade barriers, improve labour and good flow and boost tourism. It formally comes into effect in 2015 but it’s not that simple.

“All indications are that it not will be fully implemented in 2015. It will happen in stages,” noted Narayanan. “It took Europe 30 years, so it’s going to take a while [in Asean].”

AirAsia plans to ramp up the frequency of existing routes and add new destinations to its already extensive network to connect Asean to North Asia and India in the next few years.

Ultimately though, increasing the routes is not the problem that airlines, governments and airport operators face. Once Asean’s economic integration is up and running, politics should be less of an excuse for any lack of further development.

All that will remain is the quality and quantity of the bricks and mortar.

Source: Suzy Waite, FinanceAsia

Air Asia PH To Take on Philippine Mainstays


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TACLOBAN CITY — AirAsia is eyeing to increase passenger volume in the Philippines by 50% this year, a top official said.

“I just turned 50 and I still have the energy to live in the next 50 years. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines should watch out for that growth,” AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Anthony F. Fernandes said in jest during a press conference here Friday.

He said the designation of Kalibo Airport in Aklan as the airline’s secondary hub in the country will open new opportunities.

“We have a very exciting plan outside of Manila where we can open up new markets through tourism growth,” he added.

He said the carrier plans to increase domestic flights to 13 from the current seven per day between Manila and Kalibo.

In addition, the airline plans several new services to China by June, specifically to Wenzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Ningbo, Changsha, Xiamen, and Hangzhou.

Marianne Hontiveros, Philippines AirAsia president and chief executive officer, said consolidation with Zest Air, Inc. this year will be a major growth driver for the airline in this country.

“We are in the final stages of consolidation with AirAsia Zest. We are just waiting for the approval of the Senate before moving to final acquisition,” Ms. Hontiveros said.

Philippines AirAsia bought into Zest Air, which has been rebranded to AirAsia Zest. The two airlines have just completed consolidation and rationalization of domestic rates.

The merger will bring total flights to 50 for domestic routes and 20 for international destinations.

Ms. Hontiveros said the carrier was also awaiting approval by the Civil Aeronautics Board to fly to Bangkok, Singapore and Japan from Manila or Kalibo.

The airline is also eyeing expansion to Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 4 and additional slots at terminal 3.

“The restoration of category 1 (by the United States Federal Aviation Administration last Apr. 9) for Manila Airport and the lifting of European Union ban (for Philippine Airlines in July last year and Cebu Pacific also on Apr. 9) will open many opportunities for AirAsia and Philippines,” she added.

Meanwhile, the airline has raised P97 million to rebuild 500 homes and finance livelihood activities for survivors of typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas. The main recipient, Philippine Red Cross, will build 325 homes in Panay for P46 million while Habitat for Humanity will get P37.4 million to construct 187 permanent housing in Tacloban City. The livelihood component has been allotted P8 million, which will be used to revive sari-sari stores through Hapinoy’s Project Bagong Araw. Some donations were set aside to aid affected airport workers.

“The campaign ‘To Philippines With Love’ received donations from people in 75 countries all over the world. AirAsia is proud to match this donation and ensure that every cent goes to rebuilding lives,” Mr. Fernandes said.

The airline accepted cash donations on board flights and at airports as well as through AirAsia Foundation’s microsite.

Source: Sarwell Q. Meniano, Business World

Yearender, A Seesaw for Philippine Aviation


NAIA

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine aviation industry had its “ups and downs” in 2013 as local airlines, both full service and low cost carriers, eye and gear up for more long-haul destinations in 2014.

The year 2013 saw accidents involving several airlines resulting in the closure of international airports for days, several cancelled flights due to typhoons as well as congested airports, the suspension of the permit to fly of one airline, and the merger of two low cost carriers.

Aviation authorities in the Philippines also convinced the European Union to lift the ban that prevented local airlines from flying into the European airspace, paving the way for the launch of direct flights to London by national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) last Nov. 4.

Authorities also successfully negotiated with several countries new and expanded air service agreements (ASAs) allowing airlines to mount additional flights and servicing more passengers particularly overseas Filipino workers.

Accidents, flight delays and cancellations

Passengers had to deal with flight delays and cancellations this year due to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as well as bad weather catapulted by Super Typhoon Yolanda that battered several provinces in the Visayas last Nov. 8 and several accidents involving airlines.

CEBPAC

An aircraft of budget airline Cebu Air (Cebu Pacific) of taipan John Gokongwei skidded off the runway of the Davao International Airport last June 2 resulting to the closure of the international gateway for several days. Another aircraft of the low cost carrier damaged several landing lights at the NAIA a few days after.

On the other hand, an aircraft of Tiger Airways Philippines stalled on the end of the runway last Aug. 26 resulting in the suspension of operations of the Kalibo International Airport that serves as one of the gateways to the Island of Boracay for several hours.

Tigerair plane_2

Both Cebu Pacific and TigerAir got a slap on the wrist as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) only suspended the pilots of both airlines.

However, the CAAP suspended the Airline Operator’s Certificate (AOC) of Zest Airways Inc. of former Ambassador Alfredo Yao resulting to the grounding of from Aug. 16 to Aug. 19 due to six aviation safety concerns in violation of the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulation (PCAR).

Consolidation, mergers, new partners

This paved the way for the consolidation in the industry after Zest Air decided to team up with AirAsia Philippines Inc. to form a new brand known as AirAsia Zest that is now operating at the congested NAIA after the partly Malaysian-owned airline ended its operations at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

AirAsiaX

ZestAir entered into a strategic alliance agreement with AirAsia Philippines last March 11. Under the agreement, AirAsia Philippines would acquire an 85 percent economic interest and 49 percent voting rights in ZestAir as well as a 100 percent interest in Yao’s Asiawide Airways Inc.

The transaction was consummated last May 10, wherein Yao’s ZestAir got $16 million as well as 13 percent interest in AirAsia Philippines. After the transaction, AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia now owns 40 percent of AirAsia Philippines while Filipino investors led by Romero, Yao, Marianne Hontiveros and Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco Jr. control 60 percent.

All the shareholders of budget airline Zest Airways Inc. including AirAsia Inc. Philippines committed to infuse $100 million worth of investments to recover heavy losses and fund the merged airline’s working capital.

Michael Romero, chairman of AirAsia Zest, told The STAR that the rebranded airline is looking at a brighter 2014 after the successful tie up with ZestAir this year.

“2013 is a good year for AirAsia especially with its partnership with Ambassador Alfredo Yao that resulted to the birth of AirAsia Zest,” Romero said.

He added that the rebranded airline was able to mount new international destinations to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Macau, Shanghai and Incheon and at the same time expand its hubs in Cebu and Kalibo.

PAL, jointly owned by taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., is on the lookout for a new partner as it is in the middle of a fleet modernization program with an end view of acquiring 100 new aircraft.

SMC, which infused $500 million for a 49 percent stake in the national flag carrier, is looking for a new partner that would take up the 51 percent interest of the Tan Group who is also into banking, beverage, property development, among others.

PAL has so far inked a $10 billion contract with the EADS Group for the delivery of 65 new Airbus aircraft.

PAL was able to fly back to Europe via London last Nov. 4 after the EU agreed to lift the ban last July 12 as aviation authorities were able to comply with the safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last February.

The application of Cebu Pacific to fly to European countries, on the other hand, would be reviewed by EU in March next year.

Gearing up for Europe, US

After successfully getting the ban lifted by the European Union, transportation and aviation authorities are confident that the ban imposed by the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) would be lifted early next year.

In 2008, the safety rating of the Philippines was downgraded by the US FAA upon the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to Category 2 from Category 1after CAAP failed to comply with safety standards for the oversight of air carrier operations.

Aside from Europe, Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei earlier said the listed budget airline is also gearing up for long-haul flights to the US as it pursues its $4 billion refleeting program.

Gokongwei said Cebu Pacific is looking at mounting flights to the US particularly Guam and Hawaii once the country’s status is upgraded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) back to Category 1.

“For the US, there have been some pronouncements that Philippines expects to get out of Category 2 in the fourth quarter. At that point, we will probably look at certain routes in the US including Guam and Hawaii,” Gokongwei stressed.

The Cebu Pacific chief pointed out that the airline is in the middle of a $4 billion refleeting program. Between 2013 and 2021, Cebu Pacific is scheduled to take delivery of 15 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 A321neo, and four A330 aircraft.

Cebu Pacific was also able to service its 80 millionth passenger last November.

Both PAL and Cebu Pacific mounted flights to several countries in the Middle East including Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam, among others where several Filipinos are working and living.

Philippines is low cost carrier capital of the world

LCC
Image Source: Rappler.com

Earlier, Cebu Pacific general manager for long haul division Alex Reyes said the aviation industry in the Philippines could be likened to the capital intensive telecommunications sector.

“Just a few years ago, phones were considered luxury items, and very few people could afford to have them. Along came low-cost phones, and suddenly communication anywhere, anytime was in reach of every Juan. Text messages were so cheap that mobile phone subscribers preferred to text, rather than to call, because it was so cheap. At one point in time, the Philippines became the test messaging capital of the world,” Reyes explained.

Now, just like mobile phones which were once considered luxury items air travel is in reach of every “Juan” as low cost carriers (LCCs) are now dominating the aviation sector.

“Eight out of 10 seats on the domestic market are low-cost carrier seats. No other aviation market in the world has this kind of market share for LCCs. You can thus call the Philippines the LCC capital of the world,” he said.

Another low cost carrier, newly rebranded Tigerair, is also undertaking a massive re-fleeting program as it intends to beef up its existing fleet of five aircraft to 25 within the next three to five years.

TigerAir, a unit of Tiger Airlines, has an existing fleet of three Airbus A320s with a seating capacity of 180 and two A319s.

TigerAir president and chief executive officer Olive Ramos said the airline is excited about the prospects of the industry next year but stressed the need to promote the habit of travelling to Filipinos whether locally or internationally.

“I am very hopeful about next year. I am looking at a very exciting and vibrant year for the airline industry,” Ramos said.

More air agreements

 The Philippines through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is looking at signing and expanding air service agreements (ASAs) with several countries next year after finalizing pacts with six countries this year.

The Philippines successfully concluded air talks with Israel, Japan, Italy, Macau, Brazil, and Australia this year.

President Aquino has signed Executive Order 29 authorizing the CAB and the Philippine air panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation liberalization policy.

Volume of passengers travelling by air climbed 4.6 percent to 28.46 million in the first nine months of the year from 27.2 million in the same period last year. The number of domestic passengers was flat as it reached 15.42 million from January to September while the volume of international passengers posted a double-digit growth of 11.6 percent enough to 13.05 million.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the regular would start the ball rolling early next year as the Philippines is scheduled to hold air talks with France and Singapore in the first quarter.

Source: After successfully getting the ban lifted by the European Union, transportation and aviation authorities are confident that the ban imposed by the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) would be lifted early next year.

In 2008, the safety rating of the Philippines was downgraded by the US FAA upon the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to Category 2 from Category 1after CAAP failed to comply with safety standards for the oversight of air carrier operations.

Aside from Europe, Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei earlier said the listed budget airline is also gearing up for long-haul flights to the US as it pursues its $4 billion refleeting program.

Gokongwei said Cebu Pacific is looking at mounting flights to the US particularly Guam and Hawaii once the country’s status is upgraded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) back to Category 1.

“For the US, there have been some pronouncements that Philippines expects to get out of Category 2 in the fourth quarter. At that point, we will probably look at certain routes in the US including Guam and Hawaii,” Gokongwei stressed.

The Cebu Pacific chief pointed out that the airline is in the middle of a $4 billion refleeting program. Between 2013 and 2021, Cebu Pacific is scheduled to take delivery of 15 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 A321neo, and four A330 aircraft.

Cebu Pacific was also able to service its 80 millionth passenger last November.

Both PAL and Cebu Pacific mounted flights to several countries in the Middle East including Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam, among others where several Filipinos are working and living.

Phl is low cost carrier capital of the world

 Earlier, Cebu Pacific general manager for long haul division Alex Reyes said the aviation industry in the Philippines could be likened to the capital intensive telecommunications sector.

“Just a few years ago, phones were considered luxury items, and very few people could afford to have them. Along came low-cost phones, and suddenly communication anywhere, anytime was in reach of every Juan. Text messages were so cheap that mobile phone subscribers preferred to text, rather than to call, because it was so cheap. At one point in time, the Philippines became the test messaging capital of the world,” Reyes explained.

Now, just like mobile phones which were once considered luxury items air travel is in reach of every “Juan” as low cost carriers (LCCs) are now dominating the aviation sector.

“Eight out of 10 seats on the domestic market are low-cost carrier seats. No other aviation market in the world has this kind of market share for LCCs. You can thus call the Philippines the LCC capital of the world,” he said.

Another low cost carrier, newly rebranded Tigerair, is also undertaking a massive re-fleeting program as it intends to beef up its existing fleet of five aircraft to 25 within the next three to five years.

TigerAir, a unit of Tiger Airlines, has an existing fleet of three Airbus A320s with a seating capacity of 180 and two A319s.

TigerAir president and chief executive officer Olive Ramos said the airline is excited about the prospects of the industry next year but stressed the need to promote the habit of travelling to Filipinos whether locally or internationally.

“I am very hopeful about next year. I am looking at a very exciting and vibrant year for the airline industry,” Ramos said.

More air agreements

 The Philippines through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is looking at signing and expanding air service agreements (ASAs) with several countries next year after finalizing pacts with six countries this year.

The Philippines successfully concluded air talks with Israel, Japan, Italy, Macau, Brazil, and Australia this year.

President Aquino has signed Executive Order 29 authorizing the CAB and the Philippine air panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation liberalization policy.

Volume of passengers travelling by air climbed 4.6 percent to 28.46 million in the first nine months of the year from 27.2 million in the same period last year. The number of domestic passengers was flat as it reached 15.42 million from January to September while the volume of international passengers posted a double-digit growth of 11.6 percent enough to 13.05 million.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the regular would start the ball rolling early next year as the Philippines is scheduled to hold air talks with France and Singapore in the first quarter.

Source:Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

AirAsia X Bides Time on Clark International Airport Operations Proposal


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AirAsia X Bhd., the long-haul arm of Malaysian budget airline Air Asia Bhd., said the time was not yet ripe to establish operations in the Philippines despite the interest of a local affiliate for them to set up shop in Clark International Airport in Pampanga, a top executive said.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani, who was in the Philippines last week to participate in a business forum, said several hurdles remained for its business model to work in the country, including crucial airport slots and bilateral rights with countries like Japan and Australia.

“Definitely, the market potential in the Philippines is there. But I think one of the key things is going to be access, especially with bilateral rights,” Rani told reporters.

“If we don’t resolve slots and availability, everything else cannot work,” he added.

Rani confirmed that there were internal discussions together with local affiliate Philippines AirAsia for the long-haul carrier to operate in Clark.

“We have submitted a paper to [Philippines Air Asia] but now we just want to have a better understanding [of the issues],” he said, without elaborating.

AirAsia’s Philippine unit recently shifted its focus in the country after formally suspending “temporarily” its struggling operations in Clark International Airport last month.

It will instead focus on supporting AirAsia Zest, formerly Zest Airways, which operates regional and domestic routes and has valuable slots in Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.  AirAsia Bhd has a minority stake in AirAsia Zest.

Because AirAsia Zest operates in Manila, it is in a better opportunity to capture traffic as Naia remains the country’s busiest airport because of its location within the capital region. Clark International Airport, being developed as a secondary airport to Naia, is located more than an hour away by land.

“The ability to be very flexible in slots, to create that maximum aircraft utilization, is very important to the success of the long haul model,” Rani said.

Philippines AirAsia vice chair Michael Romero last month told reporters that their strategy in Clark “was not working” and that they were convincing AirAsia X to operate in Clark.

AirAsia X flies to China, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Jeddah with a fleet of 13 Airbus A330-300s, information on its website showed.

AirAsia Zest operates a fleet of 13 aircraft and currently servicing nine domestic and four  international routes. Among domestic carriers, it  operates  most flights to and from Kalibo which is a gateway to the popular resort island of Boracay.

Source: 

Philippine Carriers Uniform Parade


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Blue in. Taupe Out. New uniform of Philippine Airlines / PAL Express.

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Cebu Pacific shining through in yellow uniform.

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Air Asia Zest / Air Asia Philippines: stylish & simply beautiful.

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Air Asia Zest / Air Asia Philippines weekend uniform.

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SEAir’s light blue uniform.

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Tigerair Philippines, tail of the tiger as scarf.