Foreign Airlines Moving To NAIA 3 In August


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MANILA, Philippines – Five foreign airlines are scheduled to transfer their operations to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 3 (NAIA3) in August upon the completion of the ongoing P1.9 billion retrofitting and rehabilitation project, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

DOTC undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said foreign airlines expected to move to NAIA3 in August include Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, KLM, and Delta Airlines.

With the transfer of five foreign airlines, he said the number of foreign airlines operating in NAIA3 would increase to six as All Nippon Airways (ANA) is already operating in the terminal.

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“They (airlines) have to do a lot of things such as construction of lounges and offices. I think they will transfer around August,” he stressed.

Lotilla revealed that the P1.9 billion rehabilitation of NAIA3 being undertaken by the Takenaka Corp. of Japan is already 62 percent complete.

He pointed out that the project is expected to be completed in July ahead of the August schedule.

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The rehabilitation works at NAIA3 include baggage handling, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, and fire protection systems, among others to allow a faster and more pleasant experience for passengers flying in and out of Manila.

The objective of the rehabilitation of both NAIA1 and NAIA3 is to bring NAIA1 back to its design capacity of around four to 4.5 million from the current eight million.

“We will be reducing the number of users of NAIA1 from the present eight million so it will now be back to its rated capacity of 4.5 million,” Lotilla said.

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He added that the P1.3 billion rehabilitation of NAIA1 being undertaken by construction giant DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) is expected to be completed as scheduled in January next year in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

Based on latest data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the number of domestic and international passengers increased 3.1 percent to 32.865 million last year from 31.877 million in 2012.

The number of arriving and departing domestic passengers at NAIA slipped slightly to 17.689 million from 17.738 million due to several flight cancellations due to weather disturbances led by Super Typhoon Yolanda that battered provinces in the Visayas last Nov. 8.

On the other hand, international passenger traffic reached 15.176 million last year or 7.3 percent higher compared to 14.14 million in 2012 as the number of international flights increased 9.9 percent to 87,629 from 79,685.

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Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, has ranked NAIA eighth among the 10 Worst Airports in the World, citing overcapacity issues in terminals 1 and 3.

According to the report posted online, the 10 worst airports are known for their “smelly bathrooms, long lines and rude staff.” It described NAIA’s terminals 1 and 3 as “particularly crammed.”

The DOTC is looking at putting into operation a new international airport by 2027 with the joint development of NAIA in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as 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 from 31.88 million in 2012.

 

Source: Lawrence Agcaoili

Tigerair Will Roar Again: CEO


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Budget carrier Tigerair has suffered a bumpy ride recently, but CEO Koay Peng Yen, told CNBC’s Managing Asia he’s confident the airline will soon return to its glory days.

As Singapore’s first budget carrier offering no frills service at affordable rates, Tigerair enjoyed exponential growth in the first seven years of operation. But its fortunes nosedived in July 2011 when the Australian Civil Aviation Authority grounded its operations for six weeks leading to losses of 104 million Singapore dollars ($83.18 million) that financial year and a change in chief executive officer.

“We will make Tigerair roar again. Tigerair will emerge stronger and better,” said Koay.

“We have reported operating losses, we can’t be continuing on that basis. So the plan is to actually turn it around – we have put a few things in place to address that,” he added.

The budget carrier, which flies some 10 million passengers to over 50 destinations across Asia Pacific annually and is partly owned by Singapore Airlines, has undergone a major makeover. It partially offloaded its Australian subsidiary in July 2013 and sold off its Philippines offshoot when it divested its 40 percent stake to Philippines budget carrier Cebu Air earlier this year but maintained an alliance with the firm.

Tigerair reported net and operating losses for the three months to December 2013 of 119 million Singapore dollars in January. The company’s shares – traded in Singapore – have slumped 37 percent over the past 12 months.

Despite negative sentiment, Koay said he’s confident the carrier’s turnaround plan was in full swing.

“There are a few phases that we are focusing on. The first phase – what I call the putting out the fires phase – we have completed that. We are now in the second and third phases of our turnaround,” he added.

The second phase will involve managing capacity and refocusing operations in Singapore through alliances, he said.

The Tigerair CEO told CNBC that currency weakness in both Indonesia and the Philippines has proven problematic.

“We have lost money in our investment in the Philippines, and those have been written off. We are going to start a new chapter,” he added.

Tigerair’s operations in Indonesia have also been a trouble spot for the airline recently, with talk of a potential sale as the airline has faced tough competition from other budget carriers like LionAir, AirAsia and Garuda.

“The rupiah hit us a lot. As you know, the rupiah went down over 20 percent in the second half of last year, so that has added stress to the company,” he said.

He said he was combating this headwind by expanding internationally and had recently added new flights from both Bali and Jakarta to Hong Kong, stressing that the firm would focus on flights that raise the highest yields.

Following Tigerair’s sale of 60 percent of its Australian unit to Virgin Australia, Peng Yen said it would be premature to start talking about an exit from Australia.

“We can’t keep on losing money in Australia… so we are looking forward to having a turnaround,” he added.

The recent disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 flight in a month ago has cast a dark shadow over the airline industry amid safety concerns.

“Whenever there is an aircraft incident, we also pour over the details to find out what are the learning points, and how we can do it better,” added Koay.

Source: CNBC, Written by Katie Holliday I Reporting by Christine Tan

Gulf Carriers Heat Up Competition in Asia Pacific Airline Industry


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There is a giant shift taking place at the moment in the commercial aviation industry as the extraordinary growth of Gulf carriers continues to be felt around the world. There is no slowing down of the region’s ambition to conquer as many long haul routes as possible, and if there were ever any doubts, they would have been dashed by their gigantic wide-body aircraft order (+350) at the end of last year.

While Airbus and Boeing are sporting rather large smiles, airlines in Asia and other markets are finding themselves having to rethink their approaches. Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways find themselves in one of the most advantageous locations, connecting Europe to Asia, North and South America, Africa and India. Add the seemingly unending economical investment from the region, and global airlines are reshuffling their strategies to keep up.

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Asian low cost carriers are responsible for the world’s largest aircraft orders this year, but the competition for full service and low-cost carriers in Asia is only going to get hotter. Emirates are aggressively expanding, carrying 39 million passengers in 2013, and aiming for 70 million annual passengers by 2020 according to the carrier’s CEO. The Gulf airlines are taking firm aim at the Asia Pacific region which is already affecting Asian carriers in some ways.

Garuda Indonesia remains the largest Asian carrier between the two regions; much of its capacity related to religious travel, with Cathay Pacific the second largest early in 2013, slipping to third place at the beginning of this year. Philippine Airlines has taken the number two ranking, largely driven by a demand for migrant workers. The Philippines has put pressure on long haul operations with new services between Manila to Dubai from Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and PAL Express. With increasing saturation of the Philippines-Middle East market, and the addition of the Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong service from Air Seychelles (part owned by Etihad), Cathay Pacific is consolidating its network, recently announcing the end of its services to Abu Dhabi and Jeddah.

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Singapore Airlines which has always prided itself on its high service standards, faces competition not only on routes from Gulf carriers, but star rating too. Malaysia Airlines has been cutting costs and services for some time now, but reinstated its Kuala Lumpur to Dubai route in August of last year.

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An increasing number of Middle Eastern-based airlines are eyeing long-haul, low-cost services as Saudi’s flynas (Nas Air) recently announced. The LCC intends on establishing connectivity to eight destinations in five countries, incorporating a 20×20 plan (20 million passengers by 2020).

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Vietnam Airlines are also facing competition from Middle Eastern carriers who have added more internationally connecting flights from Vietnam, and Saudi Arabian Airlines has just announced its intention to extend connectivity to over 200 destinations globally, including Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan.

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As some of these networks are reliant on seasonal religious festivals, and heavy one way traffic on routes attributed to employment, we can expect to see an adjustment in the way Asian carriers manage their Middle Eastern connections. Add the increasing expansion of UAE airlines who are fiercely building new networks globally and Asia’s enormous LCC growth, it is reasonable to expect that Asia-Pacific aviation is facing many more evolutions to come.

World’s Safest Airlines In 2013 Found In Asia-Pacific, Middle East


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Anyone with a fear of flying should consider this before boarding their next flight: 2013 was, by far, the safest year for air travel since the dawn of the jet age, according to new data from the Aviation Safety Network, or ASN, an independent organization based in the Netherlands.

Some 29 fatal airliner accidents resulted in a total of just 265 fatalities last year, making 2013 the safest year for number of fatalities and second-safest year for number of accidents. By comparison, the 10-year average for accidents and fatalities is 32 and 720, respectively.

“Since 1997, the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, probably for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organizations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry,” ASN president Harro Ranter noted.

The worst accident of 2013 occurred on Nov. 17 when a Tatarstan Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on approach to Kazan, Russia, killing 50. Beyond Russia, the entire continent of Africa remained the least safe for air travel in 2013, containing one-fifth of all fatal airliner accidents and just 3 percent of all world aircraft departures.

Europe and North America remained exceedingly safe last year, despite the fact that only one of the two continents’ carriers, Virgin Atlantic, earned seven stars for safety and in-flight product in a new ranking of the world’s safest airlines by safety and product ranking website AirlineRatings.com.

With a fatality-free record in the jet era (since 1951), Australian flag-carrier Qantas once again beat out 447 global airlines to top the AirlineRatings.com list. Website editor Geoffrey Thomas noted that Qantas had amassed an “extraordinary record of firsts in safety and operations” and had been a leader in introducing a host of technologies in the cockpit. “There is no question that Qantas stands alone in its safety achievements and is an industry benchmark for best practices,” he said.

Qantas was the first international airline to operate around the world service in 1958 with its Lockheed Super Constellations and the first to take delivery of the Boeing 707 outside the U.S. in 1959. Thomas said the Australian carrier was also among the first to pioneer long-range operations for twin-engine planes, use a flight data recorder to monitor performance and implement real-time monitoring of its engines using satellite communications.

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Air New Zealand joined Qantas on top of the list, as did fellow Asian airlines All Nippon, Cathay Pacific, Eva Air and Singapore Airlines. Middle Eastern carriers Emirates, Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian also received seven stars for safety and in-flight product, rounding out the top 10.

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In creating its list, AirlineRatings.com took into account a number of different factors, including audits from aviation governing bodies and lead associations, as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record. Some 137 of the 448 airlines surveyed received the top seven-star safety ranking — a testament to the industry’s stellar safety record. Yet, there remains a stark divide between the top-tier carriers and their underperforming counterparts.

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Nearly 50 airlines received safety rankings of just three stars or less. Afghan Airways (Afghanistan), Daallo Airlines (UAE), Eritrean Airlines (Eritrea), Lion Air (Indonesia), Merpati Airlines (Indonesia), Susi Air (Indonesia) and Air Bagan (Myanmar) all received just two stars, while Kam Air (Afghanistan), Scat Airlines (Kazakhstan) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname) earned the dubious title of world’s least-safe airlines with just one star apiece.

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All three one-star carriers are banned from flying within the EU. While the U.S. doesn’t blacklist individual airlines, it does issue a public list of nations that it judges to fall short of international aviation safety standards. That list includes Indonesia, Serbia and the Philippines, among others.

Source: , http://www.ibtimes.com/worlds-safest-airlines-2013-found-asia-pacific-middle-east-1534348