The Airbus That Rules Southeast Asia

8 October 2016

Aircraft manufactured by the European consortium Airbus Group SE are a familiar sight in the skies above ASEAN, with some 31 per cent of the company’s worldwide orders to date coming from Southeast Asia.

From the workhorse Airbus A320 to the A380, the world’s largest airliner, visitors to almost any Asean airport would be hard pressed not to see one of the company’s aircraft. Currently there are more than 3,000 Airbus aircraft in service with over 100 airlines across all ten Asean member countries, with another 2,300 on order.

Since the early Airbus A300/A310 models in 1974, Airbus’ presence in Asean has grown along with the region’s rapidly growing demand for air travel.

Today there are 2,200 Airbus A320 family aircraft in service in the Asia-Pacific region, with the company’s aircraft forming the backbone of Asean carriers such as AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Lion Air, Jetstar, Tigerair, VietJet, and Vietnam Airlines. Another 678 A320s are on order. For the larger Airbus A330/A340 family 36 Asean airlines operate 580 aircraft, with another 668 on order.

The newer and bigger Airbus planes have also been snapped by Southeast Asian carriers. Vietnam Airlines was the second in the world to operate the Airbus A350 WXB, a long-range, twin-engine, wide-body jet liner comprising a fuselage and wing structure made primarily of Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International rapidly followed suit, while Philippine Airlines has placed an order for six of the aircraft.

In the video, Airbus takes four of its most popular single-aisle and widebody jetliners – the best-selling A320neo (new engine option); the popular and versatile widebody A330; the new-generation A350 XWB and the double-deck A380 – for a day’s outing.

The four Airbus jetliners gracefully move across the skies in never seen before close formation, the winglets almost touching as they bank and turn.

According to Airbus the video brings together ‘the most modern and comprehensive aircraft family on the market… a family built on shared values of efficiency, quality, innovation and commonality’.

All of those things and more are probably true. To us though the piloting skills and camera work look totally awesome and we’re sure you’ll be as amazed as we were to see these giant aircraft being flown so close to each other. AEC

PAF Next Chopper?

7 October 2016

by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan

THE Philippines is set to acquire two helicopters—each worth between $12 million and $17 million—as its initial purchase under a Russian-Philippine military acquisition program.

An insider ad Foreign Affairs Department told the Manila Standard that the Philippines is looking to purchase either two of MI17 or MI24 to improve the country’s capability against possible internal and external threats.

“We are looking of purchasing two to four MI17 or MI24. This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s focus is more on internal security than external,” the source, who asked for anonymity, told the Manila Standard.

Although the Philippines is still window shopping, the source admitted that the Israel government is also pushing for their drones.

The heavily armored Russian helicopters are designed to withstand any kind of weather and are said to be low maintenance.

The choppers are also said to have defensive capabilities against portable surface-to-air attacks.

The source said Russia may offer a huge discounts and extended payment schemes could be arranged.

“It’s all just feelers at the moment. There are no negotiations yet,” the source said.

Recently, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said the Philippines is looking to buy military equipment and technology from Russia.

He said the officials of Federal Service for Military-technical Cooperation (FSMTC) briefed them on the different modes of financing on acquiring militaty equipment or technology.

The ambassador said Philippine defense officials have established the kind of equipment they need for internal defense and counter-terrorism, and that they were now canvassing to see if the systems that Manila needs are available from Russia.

The Philippines has been unable to procure the weapons it wants “because some countries don’t believe we can use these high-tech systems properly or because of certain country-specific conditionalities,” he said.

The only country so far with the available military technology and the willingness to sell it is Russia.

“They trust that we will use these in accordance with international humanitarian law,” he said.

Aside from the military equipment and technology, Sorreta said, both countries have discussed possible cooperation on training; after-sales service and maintenance; transfer of technology; investment in domestic military production and servicing; and different modes of financing.

The talks with Russia developed after Duterte met with Russian Ambassador Khovaev in Davao City a few days after the May 9 elections.

Khovaev said he was impressed by Duterte during a “very productive” meeting where they discussed how to jump-start Philippine-Russian relations which officially started only in 1976.

Khovaev said that it was “time for Russians to discover the Philippines, and it is time for the Philippines to discover Russia,” adding that strengthened trade cooperation could begin before the end of this year.

The Russian envoy said there is much potential in the two country’s bilateral ties because “there were no disputes and no contradictions.”

Bell To Increase Support For PAF Choppers

2 October 2016

Bell Helicopter of Canada is set to increase its maintenance support for rotary-wing platforms operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with a view of enlarging the fleet of eight 412EPs, an official from the company has said.

Speaking at the Asian Defence and Security 2016 (ADAS 2016) exhibition in Manila, James Williamson, Bell Helicopter's business development manager, said the company is looking forward for new orders of the type as it regards the Philippines as key market with expanding opportunities across both military and commercial sectors.

The company intends to increase the number of Bell Helicopter technicians employed in the country who carry out engineering work and provide technical assistance, he said.

Williamson added that the company plans to increase the level of support it provides the PAF and commercial customers in maintaining the aircraft to an operational standard.

Bell recently secured maintenance contract for 60 Bell UH-1 series helicopters, while it has existing contract with eight Bell 412EPs recently delivered in 2015 with a lists price of USD100 million).

PAL's Clark Dilemma

2 October 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) plan to make hub at Clark International Airport was put in limbo after desires to connect Clark passengers to Manila was shot down by authorities even before it flew.

The culprit, slot allocations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

PAL proposed to transfer between five to ten daily domestic and international flights to Clark beginning this month but it has since been moved to November since its strategy requires connecting traffic to Manila, which is addressed only by two daily flights between Manila and Clark to ferry passengers.

The airline cancelled 29 local flights operating out of Manila effective Sept. 1, 2016 when Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) found it operating without approved slots. Those cancelled flights covered routes from Manila to Caticlan, Cebu, Calbayog, Kalibo, Laoag, Legaspi, Tablas, and Tuguegarao.

PAL would have wanted them served at Clark hub but its application with Air Coordination Australia (ACA Philippines), a third party slot coordinator at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was rejected three weeks ago due to unavailability of desired slots at NAIA. They were supposedly ferry flights.

“One way of developing the market is for us to operate between Clark and Manila. We filed for slots for Manila-Clark but were denied,” says Jaime Bautista, PAL President and Chief Executive Officer.

“If you really want to develop the market, there should be a flight between the two airports. It’s not too far. It’s a very short flight, but I’m sure there are passengers who are willing to take a shorter travel time and pay a little more as compared to road travel of three to four hours,” Bautista added.

Bautista said the 20-minute ferry flight from Manila to Clark is key in increasing the traffic in Clark.

The airline plans to refile the application with ACA and is optimistic to get slots for two flights a day, one in the morning and another in the evening.

“We’ll find another timing,” added Bautista saying its necessity to its operation.

In the meantime, they are preparing bus shuttle services from Clark to Manila as it signed contract with NLEX e-toll collector Easytrip Service Corp.

PAL hopes to operate international flight services to Seoul initially together with Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and some other cancelled destinations.

El Al Israel To Fly Manila Soon

29 September 2016

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has signed code sharing agreement with El Al Israel Airlines towards the latter's eventual flight to the country expected to commence with thrice weekly services between Manila and Tel Aviv starting next year using Boeing 777-200ER planes.

PAL signs MOU with EL AL Israel Airlines | |
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista and David Maimon on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The MOU would first be applied between El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Manila via Philippine Airlines and vice versa.

Mr. Bautista said that with a growing travel market, PAL is happy to be part of a cooperation agreement with EL AL.

“The tourism programs that are being developed by the Philippines and Israel will certainly contribute to more traffic between the two countries”, Bautista added.

“The MOU is a way to look forward to the long-term plans of extending deeper cooperation between PAL and EL AL and to explore what the two flag carriers can do together to bring more tourists from the Philippines to Israel and vice versa,” Maimon said.

The partnership agreement is expected to boost tourism in both countries as Israel is the third largest tourism market of the Philippines in the Middle East. There is also no connecting traffic in the gulf region to the Philippines other than through Turkey which the airline intends to remedy.

Ambassador Neal Imperial, who witnessed the signing, hailed the MOU as an important step in bringing Filipinos and Israelis closer through better air links. He said the cooperation between the two premier flag carriers will sustain the boom in tourism between the two countries after the signing of a new air services agreement in 2014.

The Philippines and Israel expanded bilateral air talks in 2014 resulting in 21 weekly flights to any point between the two countries, a government official has said.

According to CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla, the new air agreement replaced the previous air service deal sealed in 1951.

Philippine Airlines applied to operate 14 weekly flights from Manila to Tel Aviv in 2014. The airline last flew to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s via Thailand and India, Arcilla said.

In 2015, tourist arrivals from Israel grew by 34 % and approximately 36% in the first half of 2016 equivalent to 9,294 Israelis. There are however 553,002  Filipinos that went to Israel in December 2015 alone.

Latest statistics indicate that Filipino arrivals in Israel increased to 459,138 in June 2016 from 445,449 in May of 2016. Tourist Arrivals coming from the Philippines averaged 227,144.57 from 1991 until 2016.

The Next US Destination

29 September 2016

Southeast Asia-US top 20 city pairs 
Based on % of total Southeast Asia-US bookings: 
Year ending 30-Jun-2016

As compiled by CAPA.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals

29 September 2016

Midyear Statistical Report
January-June 2016
A look from where airline passengers are coming from and where airline goes next 

CEB Introduces High Capacity ATR

24 September 2016

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific took delivery Thursday its first high density ATR72-600 of the 16 frames the airline ordered at the Paris Airshow in 2015.

According to ATR, the new turboprop aircraft can seat 10 more passengers from the existing -500 that accommodate 68 seats.

Cebu Pacific will gradually replace its current fleet of eight 72-500 (72 seats configuration) by sixteen new 72-600 78 seats until 2020. 

Delivery contract includes ten options for additional aircraft, and all will be operated by Cebgo, its wholly owned subsidiary (ex Seair and Tiger Philippines) for domestic operations.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified in December 2015 the 78 seats configuration of the ATR 72 based on existing cabin platform.

ATR has added a row of four seats in optimizing space between rows and replacing the standard galley by a collapsible galley at the rear of the unit