Photos of the Day

Photos of the Day
Philippine Airlines, A321-231 Image Source: Khuat Quang Huy, Vietnam Air Spotters, RP-C9905 (cn 5820)

 Image Source: Ryotaro Shinozaki,

Cebu Pacific, A330-343. Image Source: Ryotaro Shinozaki, RP-C3343 (cn 1495)


Airbus Looks at New A330 Engines to Boost Wide-Body Sales



AIR:FP”>Airbus Group NV (AIR) is exploring the option of new engines on its A330 wide-body aircraft to help rekindle the 20-year-old model’s sales, which have trailed off as production of Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner picks up momentum.

Airbus has open production slots for the twin-engine model in 2016, Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm said today, as he presented earnings that beat analyst estimates. Airbus is getting more requests from existing customers to re-engine, and will decide this year, he said.

The A330 had enjoyed a second wind in recent years while Boeing struggled with years of delays on its competing Dreamliner. Upgrading the A330’s engines would make it more fuel-efficient, while undercutting the Dreamliner’s price because the Airbus model’s development costs have been absorbed.

“It’s not a secret that we see more and more statements from good A330 customers coming out” about a potential re-engining, Wilhelm told analysts today. “This is encouraging, but we need to do our own work.”

When Airbus began offering new engines on its single-aisle model, the A320neo became the fastest-selling airliner in commercial history, underscoring customers’ need to cut fuel bills that can comprise 40 percent of operating costs.

Engine Choices

Airbus hasn’t said whether it would offer one engine choice or two on the A330. Both Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (RR/) and General Electric Co. supply the 787, and the powerplants could be tweaked to power the Airbus model.

Rejuvenating the A330 may make the aircraft a viable alternative to Airbus’s planned A350-800, which has been selling poorly and losing orders to the larger A350-900. Airbus has encouraged customers to select bigger, more expensive models of its new A350 wide-body, which is set to enter commercial service for the first time this year.

“I think Airbus is looking at that very carefully as a possible alternative to the A350-800,” Steven Udvar-Hazy, the chief executive officer of Air Lease (AL) Corp. said of a possible re-engined A330 last week.

Airbus today reported earnings before interest, tax and items of 700 million euros ($963 million) for the first quarter, better than the estimate of 658.7 million euros from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg though below a restated 734 million euros for 2013.

Goals Maintained

The company kept its target for break-even on the A380 in 2015, helping drive the biggest stock gain in more than five months Airbus rose as much as 2.91 euros, or 5.9 percent, to 52.40 euros in Paris, the most since Dec. 11. The gain clipped this year’s decline to 7.7 percent, compared with a surge of 89 percent in 2013, the best annual return in a decade.

Group sales at Airbus gained 5 percent to 12.6 billion euros, with all three divisions — Airbus the planemaker, Airbus Helicopters, and Airbus Defence and Space — contributing.

Order intake fell to 21.1 billion euros from 49.5 billion a year earlier as contracts for new plane models at both Airbus and Boeing eased following several years of booming demand. The backlog stood at 683.2 billion euros at quarter end compared with 680.6 billion euros.

Wilhelm said he’s not concerned about a drop in orders and reiterated a goal for a book-to-bill ratio of one this year, translating into orders in excess of 600 planes.

Source: Andrea Rothman

Philippine Airlines Acquires 15 Planes from Airbus

Photo Credit: Antonio R. Varela

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is acquiring 15 planes this year as part of a massive re-fleeting deal with France’s Airbus S.A.S. that will help bring down operating costs while the airline expands capacity, a company official said last week.

PAL senior vice president for operations Ismael Augusto Gozon told reporters that the airline was expecting the delivery of seven long-range Airbus A330s and eight mid-range A321s before the year ends.

PAL, jointly owned by the group of tycoon Lucio Tan and conglomerate San Miguel Corp., is in the midst of a $9.5-billion refleeting strategy involving 64 mid-range and long-range Airbus planes.

It is likewise keen on expanding its presence in the region through partnerships with other carriers.

Last Friday, Hideaki Izumi, general manager of the domestic office of Japan’s All Nippon Airways, told reporters the company was open to exploring so-called special prorate agreements with Philippine Airlines to tap each other’s domestic markets.

PAL also started new flights to Japan Sunday and it now serves the North Asian economic powerhouse with 11 flights daily.

He added that the airline was also anticipating a United States Category 1 aviation upgrade.

US Federal Aviation Administration inspectors were in the Philippines last week for a validating visit in a development the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said would finally pave the way for an upgrade after six years.


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Cebu Pacific Preparing $4-Billion War Chest for US, EU Flights

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar and Eric B. Apolonio,


MANILA – The operator of Cebu Pacific on Thursday said it has allotted over $4 billion to ramp up its fleet over the next eight years as it prepares for flights to the US and Europe.

On the sidelines of ceremonies marking the delivery of its second Airbus A330, Cebu Air Inc (CEB) president Lance Y. Gokongwei told reporters that the airline expects delivery of 49 Airbus aircraft with a total list price of “over $4 billion.”

Between 2013 and 2021, the Gokongwei-led budget airline will take delivery of 15 brand-new A320s, 30  A321neo’s and four A330s.

The airline’s A330 aircraft will be used for flights between Manila and Dubai beginning October 7. There are over half a million Filipinos working and living in the United Arab Emirates.

Besides the Middle East market, Cebu Pacific plans to fly to Europe once the airline is removed from the European Union blacklist.

“We are planning to go to Europe this November. We are going to make a formal presentation to EU authorities. We are likewise working towards certain EU certification for Cebu Pacific,” Gokongwei said.

Last July, the EU announced the removal of Philippine Airlines (PAL) from the blacklist, allowing the flag carrier to resume flights to London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.  For all other Philippine carriers, the ban remains pending improvements in their aviation safety standards.

Gokongwei however expressed optimism that the EU will lift the ban after Cebu Pacific meets the standards.

He said Cebu Pacific also plans to fly to Guam and Hawaii once the Philippines is upgraded to Category 1. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines had said that it expects the upgrade from Category 2 in the fourth quarter of the year.

Gokongwei said Cebu Pacific may use A330 aircraft for Hawaii and A320 for Guam flights.

“We are looking at expanding our services not just to Osaka but also the other points. Japan is a good tourist market,” Alex Reyes, manager of Cebu Pacific’s long-haul division, said.

The budget airline is also looking to fly to Tokyo and Nagoya, as well as increase the number of flights to Osaka.  At present, Cebu Pacific flies three times a week to Osaka.

The Philippines and Japan are holding talks to expand their air services agreement.