Aeroflot Enters Codeshare with PAL

25 May 2017

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot (AFL) will enter into a code share agreements with the country's flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) Friday as they prepare coded flights to Manila before the end of the year.  

Aeroflot has rights to fly Manila 7 times a week while PAL has rights to fly Moscow on the same frequency based on bilateral agreements but commercial viability prompted both airlines to defer direct flights between the two countries.

Seasonal charter flights are however flown between Russia and the Philippines air carriers.

Aeroflot representative said they will fly back to Manila with thrice a week schedule using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The airline last flew to the country in 2000 via Hongkong.   

CEB To Leave ME

Keeps Dubai

  • Ends Kuwait June 14 
  • Ends Doha July 1
  • Ends Riyadh July 3
24 May 2017

By Lorenz S. Marasigan & Recto Mercene

FILIPINO low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific has decided to suspend more than half of its operations in the Middle East (ME) due to intense competition in the market, a ranking official said on Wednesday.

Paterno S. Mantaring, a vice president at Cebu Pacific, said his group has decided to discontinue its flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; and Kuwait.

“The entry of Cebu Pacific into these markets benefited passengers with lower fares and more choices. Of late, other carriers have aggressively added more flights, which has resulted in the substantial oversupply of seats and fares that are so low, making the routes unsustainable,” he said.

The airline will fly the last of its four-times-a-week service from Manila to Kuwait on June 13, and its Kuwait-Manila flight on June 14, 2017. The thrice-weekly Manila-Doha-Manila route will have its last flight on July 1; while its last Manila-Riyadh-Manila will be on July 3.

“We have to continuously review our routes to ensure their viability. At this point, it makes more sense for us to redeploy the aircraft used for our Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait service to routes where we can further stimulate demand and sustain our low-fare offers,” Mantaring said.

Cebu Pacific, however, will retain its other long-haul services to and from Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Sydney, Australia, with a view to increasing frequencies to these destinations in the future, he said.

The airline also flies to 24 other international destinations across Asia and the US; as well as 37 domestic destinations.

Passengers affected by the suspension of service in Doha, Riyadh and Kuwait are being contacted.

Options are being provided to minimize disruption, which include rebooking passengers on flights with other airlines or on earlier travel dates with Cebu Pacific; a full refund; or placing the full value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use.

From January to March 2017, Cebu Pacific carried 4.8 million passengers, of which 1.3 million flew international destinations.

Total revenues for the first quarter of 2017 were up 4.7 percent to P16.9 billion. However, this was outpaced by the growth in expenses, driven by a weaker peso versus the US dollar and rising fuel prices. CEB net income for the first three months of 2017 was down 68 percent versus the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) continues its Manila to Dubai, Riyadh, Doha, Kuwait, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dammam nonstop flights.

On March 26 the Lucio Tan-led flag carrier announced it will start nonstop service to and from Manila to all seven of its Middle East destinations.

PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista said, “The nonstop service will give us a better product to offer our kababayan [countrymen], our overseas Filipino workers. Aside from the convenience of such flights, passengers will get to experience in-flight service with the heart of the Filipino, marked by warmth, care and hospitality.”

In addition to the new nonstop schedules, PAL will be changing the aircraft used for Middle East routes from its current all-economy 414-seater Airbus A330 to a new bi-class A330. “The shift to bi-class service across all Middle East routes gives our passengers the flexibility to choose between regular economy, premium economy and business class service,” Bautista said.

The shift to the bi-class A330, which features full-flat beds in business class, will take place on June 15 for Dubai; July 15 for Abu Dhabi and Doha; August 15 for Riyadh; and September 15 for Kuwait and Jeddah.

PAL said the modern aircraft will also offer in-flight media streaming through the free myPal app, onboard Wi-fi (free for the first 30 minutes), iPad rentals and in-flight food options that include halal meals.

Each passenger will also be entitled to free baggage allowance of two pieces, weighing not more than 23 kilos each.

PR1 in Moscow

23 May 2017

First visit by a Philippine President to the Russian Federation in more than 25 years after President Fidel Ramos visited the country in September 11, 1997.

Jin Air Upgrades Cebu

14 May 2017

Low cost carrier Jin Air is upgrading night flights to Cebu beginning July 22 from Seoul with the airline operating Boeing 777-200ER, instead of 737-800 aircraft. 

The airline will however reduce frequency from 3x daily  B737-800  to two daily flights with the morning flight continue to operate B737 service.

Meanwhile, the Airline will also add 5th weekly flights to Clark beginning 24 July with Boeing 787-800

PAL Leaves Abu Dhabi

Axe Cebu-Los Angeles

9 May 2017

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will drop Abu Dhabi from its route network beginning July 6 and will enter code-share arrangement with Etihad Airlines instead. The decision came after the airline continue to bleed in the red as it continue to operate in Abu Dhabi.

PAL entered codeshare deals with Etihad on the Manila-Abu Dhabi route in 2015 but this partnership has not provided much needed traffic to sustain its current Manila-Abu Dhabi-Manila route due to disparity of flight services.

PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said they were contemplating to drop Abu Dhabi in March 2017 but opted to extend the service after securing new deals with Etihad.

The Etihad-PAL codeshare is now limited to Manila-Abu Dhabi flights terminating domestic connections beyond Manila. in the deal Etihad will instead fly in behalf of PAL giving the Abu Dhabi based airline four more frequency from the existing new 3x a week entitlements.

The airline is also ending temporarily Cebu – Los Angeles service to make its product to North America more consistent, currently served 3 times a week, with Airbus A340-300 aircraft which will be returned to lessor. Last flight for this route which started March 2016 is scheduled on May 27, 2017. Passengers with existing reservations are re-routed via Manila.

Flight termination ends Cebu’s only nonstop Trans-Pacific service for now with future flight expected to resume in 2018 with the arrival of A350 aircraft both for Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Newly Acquired Huey Crashed Again

4 May 2017

Injure One, Kills Three

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Another Huey (UH-1D,cn 8469) helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed this afternoon at Tanay, Rizal. There were three fatalities, Captain Litan, the Pilot in Command (PIC) and the two crew members, Ssg Tolosa and A1C Joseph De Leon, while the copilot 1Lt. Rimas was brought to the AFP Medical Center for treatment. All of them are from the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing "Stingers" of the PAF. crash.

According to the lone survivor the Huey chopper encountered engine trouble when they were about to land and suddenly loss power causing it to crash to the ground while conducting air to ground and disaster rescue operation training (AGOS) for 60 military personnel of 2ID and 12 police personnel from Region 4A in Camp Capinpin.

The German-made single engine helicopter build in 1970 was recently acquired by the PAF in 2015 from Rice Aircraft Services Inc and Eagle Copters in a contract signed in 2013. Of the 21 contracted only seven was accepted by the Philippine government. It was the second UH-1D helicopter acquired from Rice to crash. In November 2015, one of the aircraft crashed in Sarangani, injuring two pilots and seven other personnel on board.

Air Force spokesman Col. Antonio Francisco said the remaining five UH-1D helicopters have been ordered grounded pending an investigation as to what caused the incident.

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Philippines AirAsia

In Spotlight

4 May 2017

Low Cost Carrier Philippines Air Asia is the third biggest airline in the Philippines with 16 Airbus A320-200 flying 30 routes across 20 airports in the country and overseas.

According to the airline, the carrier transported 3.99 million passengers in 2016 at an average load factor of 87%, an increase of 11% compared with 2015 with the airline’s load factor improving by six percentage points. The average sector length jumped 10% to 1,109 kilometres, while the number of flights operated increased by 3% to 25,607. As a result ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres) grew by 14%, but RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres) were up 22%.

In the first quarter of 2017 the airline set a new record, handling 1.15 million passengers (+19%) at a load factor of 92% (plus five percentage points).

Analysis from of OAG schedule data for 2017 Q1, Philippines AirAsia has around 11% of the domestic market (well behind Cebu Pacific Air with 46% and Philippine Airlines with 33%) and around 4.6% of international seat capacity. Philippine Airlines (30%), Cebu Pacific Air (19%) and Cathay Pacific Airways (5.2%) are all bigger than the LCC in terms of international operations from the Philippines.

In the second quarter of 2017 the carrier has launched several new domestic routes; between Clark and Davao, as well as between Puerto Princesa and Davao. It has also started one, and resumed two, domestic links from Cebu. As a result, the airline’s network currently comprises 30 routes; the shortest just 283 kilometres from Cebu to Caticlan and the longest between Cebu and Kuala Lumpur, which clocks in at 3,029 kilometres. Of the 30 routes, 17 are served at least daily, with the 565-kilometre connection between Cebu and Manila having 51 flights per week. Cebu Pacific competes head-to-head on 22 of the airline’s 30 routes, while Philippine Airlines also provides direct competition on 22 routes. In the graph below domestic routes are shown in dark green with international routes in light green.

Philippines AirAsia currently serves 20 airports in all, nine of which are in the Philippines (shown in dark green), three are in China with two each in Malaysia and South Korea. In addition it flies to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taipei. Manila is the LCC’s busiest airport with 252 weekly departures followed by Cebu (97), Kalibo (57) and Davao (52).

SR Technics Bag PAL MRO Contract

For A320 and A330 Fleet

4 May 2017
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) service provider SR Technics recently inked a 12-year Integrated Component Services agreement.

The signing ceremony, held at the Century Park Hotel, was attended by top officials of both companies, according to Philippine Airlines.

The accord covers the servicing of a total of 45 A321s and 15 A330-300s. This includes maintenance, component pooling and consignment of the main base kit ensuring flexible access to spare parts. SR Technics’ Center of Excellence for component maintenance in Kuala Lumpur, which currently serves over 460 aircraft in the Asia Pacific region, will manage the services.

"Safety remains the cornerstone of our operations. As such, we put premium in cultivating relationships with MRO experts to help ensure the reliability of our fleet," PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said.

SR Technics CEO Jeremy Remacha stressed, “We are delighted to contribute to the success of Philippine Airlines, extending our partnership for another 12 years. SR Technics has been expanding its presence in Asia over the past few years, and we are committed to further develop our services in this fast-developing market.

"This new agreement demonstrates our world-class quality and reliability, offering our customers genuine added value. We look forward to supporting PAL for many years to come," he added.

Both PAL and SR Technics also signed a five-year engine maintenance contract to support the airline's entire fleet of CFM56-5C engines. Under the agreement, PAL will utilizeBeyond.Fleet.Services™, a product suite which extends the life of maturing fleets and reduces the day-to-day operating costs for engines, airframe and component maintenance. SR Technics and Aerfin jointly manage the said services. -The FINANCIAL.