Review Urged on PPP Policy on Airline Entities

A HOUSE committee has advised the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to review the policy limiting the participation of airline-related entities in auctions for airport projects.

Bacolod Silay Airport

“The committee finds the need for DoTC and CAAP to revisit the provisions of the policy… imposing limitation on participation of airline-related entities in the bidding of regional airport projects and other future airport projects,” said Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento, chairman of the House committee on transportation, in Committee Report 905 submitted early this month.

In August, the committee conducted an investigation into the alleged discrimination of airline-related entities in the bidding of airport projects.

In its report, the panel said the clear motive of the imposition of the 33% ceiling on the participation of airlines and airline-related entities in airport operations is to “prevent discriminatory practices against other airlines by the one which will be awarded with the concession agreement.”

“However, the DoTC and CAAP failed to show any basis for this fear during the deliberation,” the report said, adding that the situation the agencies seek to avoid is “precisely what the airlines and airline-related entities have been experiencing by the implementation of the questioned bidding rules.”

The report further noted that DoTC and CAAP’s “unsupported apprehensions are speculative and hypothetical whereas the discriminatory restrictions imposed on participation of airlines and related entities in the bidding of airport projects [are] crystal clear.”

There are ongoing procurement procedures for the regional airport projects — among them, Bacolod-Silay, Iloilo, Davao, Laguindingan and New Bohol — by the Public-Pivate Partnership (PPP) Center and DoTC.

The instructions to prospective bidders for the projects contain restrictions on the participation of airlines and their affiliates, such as the 33% ownership limit, among others.

The committee cited a report by the International Air Transport Association in May which showed that the restriction on ownership of airports by airline-related entities “unfairly discriminates against airline owners” and “there are already a number of cases globally where the airlines and the airport share the same ownership and the airport is considered world-class with no evidence of other airlines being subject to discriminatory practices.”

During the hearing in August, JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Vice-President Bach Johann Sebastian “averred that the restriction should be removed, emphasizing that airlines have inherent obligation to ensure fair and efficient operation of airports, and added that the fear of discriminatory practices could easily be addressed by the recently enacted Anti-Trust Law.”

Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act prohibits all forms of anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions, with the objective of protecting consumer welfare and advancing domestic and international trade and economic development.

Source: Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza,

TRAFFIC PATI SA ITAAS? | CAAP Explains Prolonged Hovering Above NAIA at the Height of Lando

MANILA – It was not air traffic congestion per se, but a combination of unscheduled landings and limited runway capacity, that forced dozens of planes to hover for several minutes over the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as typhoon Lando was pounding north Luzon Monday.

This was the explanation given by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), as it sought to dispel on Wednesday claims of air traffic congestion causing flight delays.

CAAP Deputy Director General for Operations Rodante Joya was referring to safety concerns raised when planes geared for landing were compelled Monday to hover for several minutes over NAIA.

The NAIA has a limitation of having only 40 runway events in an hour, he explained. “NAIA has only one runway that can accommodate jetliners. The secondary runway that was recently activated can only accommodate small aircraft.  There is really no way for air traffic to be congested except if there is unscheduled or emergency landing.” Such a scenario happened on Monday when flights to the north that were cancelled by Lando had to return to Manila, lengthening the queue that air traffic controllers processed.

The CAAP official stressed that the air traffic controllers, though severely undermanned and relatively low-paid (with salaries in other countries at twice to as much as nine times those of Filipinos), managed to help each flight land safely, something he attributed to their skills and experience. “That is proof of the ability of our air traffic controllers to maintain the safety of flights, helping them all land in Manila safely,” Joya said.

The NAIA has two active runways: the primary runway 06/24; and secondary runway 13/31.

While noting the NAIA runway limitations, the CAAP deputy chief nonetheless thanked Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for giving the aviation authority the chance to dispel the “myth” of congestion in air traffic.

Romualdez earlier said the “horrible traffic congestion” forced the plane he was in to hover for an hour over the metropolis until the aircraft was given clearance to land on Monday night.

Joya explained that aircraft coming from the south, particularly from the Visayas and Mindanao, could not immediately land on Monday as other north-bound planes had to cancel and needed to return to NAIA.

“Those (aircraft) returning to Manila were unscheduled to arrive during that time.  So they eventually clustered. Therefore there is no choice for our air traffic controllers but to make them hover over Metro Manila so they can be lined up for landing,” Joya said. Priority landing or takeoff is given to commercial jetliners and other big aircraft, he added.

Brain drain of controllers

Joya, while praising the air traffic controllers for being able to ensure safe landings and takeoffs despite their long hours and lowe pay, said 14 employees in the air traffic service left CAAP this year for better economic packages in overseas jobs.

The 14 were offered the same job with higher pay in airports in the Middle East particularly in Doha, Qatar and various African nations.

As of October 2015, CAAP had only 450 regular ATC employees and 237 others listed under job orders.

“We are losing them,” Joya said, pointing out that Philippine air traffic and tower controllers are the lowest paid in the Southeast Asian region and that a brain drain is unavoidable.

Based on 2014 ASEAN salary comparison records, Philippine air traffic controllers are the lowest paid. The average monthly salaries of ATCs in various places – compared to the Philippines’ US$1,100 – are:

• Hong Kong, $10,000;
• Singapore $8,000;
• Macau $5,000;
• Taiwan $3,000;
• South Korea $2,000;
• Malaysia $2,500

“Our air traffic service workers are leaving for abroad where they expect the pay to be commensurate with their skills,” Joya said, pointing out that most of the air traffic controllers in Dubai are Filipinos.

The ground-based controllers direct aircraft on the ground and provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace. They enforce traffic separation rules, which ensure each aircraft maintains a minimum amount of empty space around it at all times.

Source: ,

CAAP: Only 41 of 82 Philippine Airports Operate Commercially


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

SEAir International & Skyjet Airlines Back On Air

THE CIVIL Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has allowed two airlines that were previously suspended on safety issues to resume their flights.

CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss lifted the suspension on the air operator certificates (AOCs) of Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAir) International Inc and Magnum Air or Skyjet Airlines Inc. after the companies aptly addressed safety concerns observed in April by a European Union (EU) aviation assessment team.

According to CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio, the suspension of the two airline firms’ AOCs was lifted after the aviation authority validated the corrective measures they undertook helped them meet aviation safety standards.

In a statement Apolonio said that both SEAir and Skyjet submitted their respective actions taken on safety observations enumerated by the EU assessment team.

Image Source: Wong Chi Lam, Planespotters.Net

“CAAP monitored and evaluated their compliance and found them acceptable,” Apolonio pointed out, adding that the lifting of the AOC suspension for SEAir was issued on June 5 while that of Skyjet was issued the next day.

He, however, said that while both airline firms were allowed to proceed with their operations, they were given notice that they would be “the subject of a heightened surveillance” by the CAAP.

The suspension of the two carriers’ AOCs was based on the outcome of an April 16 to 24 visit of a five-man EU safety assessment team, made up of experts from the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency, which evaluated the country’s safety oversight system for air carriers and the ability of local airline firms to comply with aviation safety regulations.

In ordering the suspension of SEAir’s AOC, Hotchkiss cited a report from the EU assessment team enumerating 15 observations, from management structure, SMS, and accident prevention and flight safety program to flight data management, which posed significant safety concerns in its commercial air transport operations.

In grounding Skyjet flights, the CAAP director general cited eight safety shortcomings, including flight data monitoring and quality assurance, airworthiness and maintenance control, observed by the EU evaluation team.

Source: , Philippine Daily Inquirer

EU Assesses Philippines Air Safety Measures
A European Union delegation is now in the Philippines to assess the safety systems of Philippine air carriers still on the list of carriers banned from flying over the skies of Europe.
The assessment will focus on Air Asia Inc., Air Asia Zest, Air Philippines Corporation, Island Aviation Inc., Magnum Air, South East Asian Airlines and South East Asian Airlines International.
Only flag carrier Philippine Airlines and budget carrier Cebu Pacific are out of the EU’s list of airlines that fail to meet international aviation standards.
Apart from the airlines, the EU delegation will also check how regulator Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has tackled previous problems in the air industry.
“The EU safety assessment visit to the Philippines will seek to confirm that the CAAP has addressed the root causes of previous areas of concerns and is able to conduct effective oversight of air carriers certified in the Philippines,” CAAP said in a statement on Thursday.
The safety assessment will be conducted by experts from the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and member states of the European Union headed by team leader Captain Richard Miller. The team also includes Per-Erik Oberg, Vincent Lambotte, Sebastian Zacharias and Mureil Belzunce.
The team, accompanied by EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, met with CAAP director general William Hotchkiss III and discussed their safety assessment procedure.
Also in the meeting were Air Asia Inc. representative Marianne Hontiveros, Air Asia Zest’s Josephine Joy Caneba, Air Philippines’ Bonifacio U. Sam, Island Aviation Inc.’s Capt. Benhur Gomez, Magnum Air’s (Skyjet Inc.) Capt. Teodoro Fojas, Southeast Asian Airlines’ (Tiger Airways) Michael Shau and South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) International Inc.’s Avelino Zapanta.

In 2010, the EU banned Philippine carriers from European airspace after the Philippines failed to comply with international safety standards.

PAL and Cebu Pacific were restored and allowed to fly to European Union countries again in July, 2013 and April, 2014 respectively.

Two People In Cockpit At All Times – CAAP

Aircraft flying in the country must have two people in the cockpit at all times, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced Sunday.
Under an amendment to Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations, aircraft certified for two pilots must have a member of the flight crew, “preferably male”, in the cockpit whenever one of the pilots has to leave the flight deck.
The new regulation is meant to ensure that a pilot will not be locked out of the cockpit by the other.
This comes in the wake of a Germanwings crash last month that killed 150 people. Investigators say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps.
The amendments to Philippine aviation regulations were approved on Apr. 1 and will take effect within 15 days of publication.
Under current air regulations, cockpit doors must be locked once all of the airplane’s external doors are closed and can only be opened inflight by authorized persons.

Pilots should also be provided a means to monitor the area outside the flight crew compartment “to identify persons requesting entry and to detect suspicious behavior or potential [threats].”

Source: JDS, GMA News

NAIA Gets Upgraded Air Traffic Management System

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has successfully commissioned the upgraded air traffic management (ATM) system at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Replacing the ageing Eurocat system deployed in 1996, the $3.59m ATM upgrade is capable of managing arriving and departing air traffic from about 250 nautical miles, as well as prevent frequent outages resulting in flights being cancelled or diverted or delayed, mainly during the rainy season.

CASA said in a statement: “The improvement is essential for CAAP because the P13-billion next-generation satellite-based communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) project that was signed during the previous administration was delayed and would not be in place until the end of 2016.”

Further, the system would deliver stable and efficient traffic over Philippine airspace until NAIA completely transitions the CNS/ATM project.

Built in collaboration between Thales Australia and Pacific Hemisphere Development, the CNS/ATM technology integrates a computer-based flight data processing system that allows aircraft operators to comply with their scheduled arrival and departure times.

Using CNS/ATM technology, aircraft transponders can communicate with satellite signals, using the transponder transmissions to accurately determine the aircraft location.

The system also enables them to follow their preferred flight profiles with least limitations and without compromising approved safety levels.

Though several nations have adopted the satellite-based CNS/ATM for the last few years, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has given signatory countries such as the Philippines to adopt the next-generation system until 2016.

CAAP: Airbus Setting Up Training Center In PH

Aircraft maker Airbus SAS is setting up a training center in Manila, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said Sunday.

CAAP Director General Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss lll endorsed the establishment of the training center to the Board of Investment.

“The center will also be the first that will be equipped with a brand new A330/A340 Full Flight Simulator and associated suite of devices on top of two A320 simulators,” the CAAP said.

It added the training center stands to be the first by an aircraft manufacturer in the Philippines.

“The setting of training center is seen as a major initiative supporting the CAAP’s current efforts to support the type rating training of the growing aviation industry,” said Hotchkiss.

He added the center as part of the Airbus Approved Training Organization (ATO) would always be updated with the latest training standards.

This promises to improve the quality of training that could “put the Philippines to become an international site for Airbus training that will serve the ever-increasing Airbus fleet in the region,” the CAAP said.

Other Airbus SAS Training centers are located in Toulouse, Miami, Hamburg, Beijing and Bangalore in India. The firm also has field service offices worldwide.

Data from leading aviation information consultancy Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said around 9,160 of the total global airplane orders are destined for Asia-Pacific region and there will be need for 192,300 pilots and 215,300 technicians until 2030.

As of December 31, 2014, the CAAP had issued 24,253 airmen licenses with breakdown as follows:

  • commercial pilot license 1,965;
  • airline transport pilot license 1,078;
  • private pilot license 1,349;
  • commercial helicopter pilot license 127;
  • private helicopter pilot license 22;
  • multi-crew pilot license 74;
  • cabin crew member license 4,383;
  • flight instructor license 315;
  • aircraft mechanic license 1,032;
  • aviation maintenance specialist license 2,214;
  • aviation maintenance technician license 8,541;
  • aeronautical station operator 102;
  • air traffic controller 472;
  • flight engineer license 4;
  • flight dispatcher 119; ground instructor license 154;
  • student pilot license 2,262;
  • student pilot authorization 1;
  • student helicopter pilot license 21;
  • certificate of validation 18.

Source: Joel Locsin, GMA News

Foreign Firms Eye NAIA Runway Consultancy Deal

MANILA, Philippines – Three foreign companies expressed interest in the P91.4-million consultancy contract to increase the runway capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the 3 firms included Mitre Corporation of the United States, NATS Ltd of the United Kingdom, and Copenhagen Airport of Germany.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the agency would still pursue the runway optimization project despite two failed biddings.

“The likes of Mitre, NATS, and Copenhagen Airport have expressed interest. NATS in particular did a consultancy in Hong Kong and Singapore and they have increased movements by 20%,” Abaya said.

According to representatives from the UK-based NATS Ltd., it is possible to increase the capacity of the existing NAIA runway to between 50 and 60 movements per hour from the current 40 movements per hour, the transportation chief said.

“We need that kind of expertise to tell us what so we improve our movements per hour,” Abaya added.

Improving the airside capacity of the country’s main international gateway involves increasing runway movements, improving slot schedules, adding infrastructure, and upgrading technology.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy director general Capt John Andrews earlier said airlines lose at least P7 billion a year because of congestion in NAIA.

Passenger Volume

To better accommodate an increasing number of passengers, the DOTC is also planning to push through with the construction of a 2.1-kilometer parallel runway, to be constructed south of the existing primary runway 06/24.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said that passenger volume in the Philippines increased in the first quarter of 2014 to 9.65 million, up from 9.55 million in the same period last year.

International passenger traffic reached 4.50 million while domestic air traffic increased by 1.5% to 5.13 million.

“Growth has been slow but positive and we hope to improve it this year. The CAB will continue to support Philippine tourism and business travels through strategic and key bilateral aviation partnerships,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said.

A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that the number of passengers in Greater Capital Region would hit 106.7 million by 2040 – more than triple the 31.88 million recorded in 2012.

To address this, the DOTC is eyeing a new international airport by 2027 with the joint development of NAIA in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation also plans to put up an international airport in a 1,600-hectare property along the Manila-Cavite expressway coastal road. –

Airlines Losing Php7 Billion Due To Congested Airport

Image Source: Angelo Agcamaran

MANILA, Philippines—Not just passengers’ frayed nerves but the bottom lines of airlines operating in the country’s premier gateway are also suffering from the horrors of air traffic congestion.

The airlines have been incurring losses of more that P7 billion a year from the massive fuel expense because of the worsening congestion at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), said deputy director general John Andrews of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Planes unable to immediately land, for example, would need to burn extra amounts of fuel, he said.

Andrews estimated that about 200,000 to 400,000 kilograms in additional fuel are expended as a result of the congestion, or P10 million to P20 million a day, by the airlines.

Airlines incur close to P3.7 billion a year in added fuel expenses and lose another P3.7 billion from “engine costs and cost of aircraft time,” he said.

For this reason, the airlines are supporting a plan to construct a second parallel runway for Naia, where capacity at its sole primary runway has been struggling to keep up with increasing demand for air travel, Andrews said.

According to Andrews, the second runway, at about 2,300-kilometers long, is shorter than the 3,400-km primary runway. But its completion will allow a 50 percent increase in take-off and landing events to 60 per hour from the existing 40, he said. It is estimated to cost P2 billion.

“I think I have already convinced Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary [Joseph Abaya] that this is the only option available to us,” Andrews said.

Abaya earlier said that a key issue was the expropriation of land, involving about 600 homes of squatters and private homeowners, but Andrews said this would not be a major issue for the government.

“This can easily be done with the proper political will,” he said.

Andrews said CAAP did not expect that there would be any compliance issues with international air safety bodies like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“It is already ICAO compliant. There are no major problems or issues we cannot mitigate,” said Andrews, who was part of the team that played a key role in getting Philippine air safety upgrades from the United States and Europe.

Abaya had said in a previous interview that he supported a second parallel runway in Naia as it would be a faster fix than long-term proposals, which include building a new international airport.

San Miguel Corp., a part owner of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) are looking at possible locations in the Manila Bay and Sangley Point, Cavite, respectively, to build a new $10-billion air gateway designed with four runways on reclaimed land.

Abaya said it was unlikely for any new international airport serving Manila to start construction by the time President Aquino steps down in 2016.

Source: , PDI.