Piper Crashed at Plaridel Airport

17 March 2018

A Piper PA-23 Apache plane (RP-C299) belonging to Lite Air Express crashed at 11:21am after take-off at Plaridel airport killing its two pilot and four passengers. It was bound for Laoag International Airport.

The ill-fated aircraft was flown by Capt. Ruel Meloria and co-pilot Efren Patugalan. Names of passengers were withheld until notifications are made to their respective families.

The plane crashed in a residential area belonging to Luisa Santos at Purok 3 Brgy. Lumang Bayan, Plaridel, Bulacan this morning killing five person on the ground which involved the whole family that reside in the house where the plane fell.

Initial investigation from the Flight Safety and Inspectorate Service disclosed that the aircraft stalled after climbing and plunged into the house. The cause of the stall remains unknown.

CAAP said all aircraft operated by Lite Air Express would be grounded pending results of the investigation.

DOTR Inaugurates New Domestic Terminals

17 March 2018

The Department of Transport (DOTr) together with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has inaugurated two brand new terminal within the week opening Tuguegarao and Tacloban airports on March 14 and 16, respectively.

Together with the first phase of terminal improvements were runway and taxiway widening of Tuguegarao Airport, while new airfield lighting system will also be upgraded for safe night-time operations.

The airport was inaugurated by Sec. Arthur Tugade together with DOTr Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Manuel Antonio Tamayo.

"Our goal is to improve and develop our airports all over the country. The airport is the first thing that a traveler sees when visiting a place, and we should be able to make a great first impression," DOTr Sec. Tugade said.

The second phase of the airport development, which includes the expansion of the existing pre-departure and check-in areas and additional check-in counters, will start this year.

“Phase 1 pa lang po ito. In fact, this year, phase 2 of the Tuguegarao Airport development project shall commence. This includes the expansion of the existing pre-departure and check in areas of the passenger terminal building. The second floor shall also be developed for additional check-in counters, all for passenger convenience,” Usec. Tamayo said.

Meanwhile, Secretary Tugade together with Tamayo and CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco also lead the inauguration of the expanded passenger terminal building (PTB) of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City, Leyte yesterday that was damaged by Typhoon Yolanda.

After nine (9) months of construction, the check-in station was improved and widened, comfort rooms were fully-renovated, and about 275 seats were added in the departure area.

The expanded terminal which is now bigger by 1,100 square meters, with a wider check-in area, more seats, and fully-renovated comfort rooms, will serve the interim needs of the airport while new planning designs of the passenger terminal building (PTB) is finalized for construction soon.

DOTr said they are improving first the airport’s parking area, asphalt re-overlay of the runway together with runway extension to 2,500 meters and shore protection construction that will minimize tidal surge damages from super typhoons. The new terminal will commence construction after completion of the seawall.

Sydiongco said the DOTr is ready to bid out the P721 million new passenger terminal building by June 2018. The new PTB which has three finger bridges is expected to be completed in 2021.

CAAP said the P400-million budget allocated in 2017 will also finance the site development for the new terminal building, including the construction of a perimeter fence.

“The ongoing development activities will be completed by November,” Sydiongco said.

Sydiongco said the target is to complete the full development of the city’s airport within the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Tacloban Airport Development Project was conceptualized in May 1996 when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) carried out a master plan on the development of Tacloban, Bacolod, Iloilo and Legazpi Airports.

The project together with the other airport projects has faced several construction delays for two decades, primarily due to massive funding requirements.

In November 2012, President Benigno Aquino III approved the ₱2.12 billion Tacloban Airport Development Project supposedly for implementation between 2013 and 2016 but airport plans together with the PTB were changed drastically after Typhoon Yolanda caused massive damage to the airport.

Air Juan Bridges Inter Islands

17 March 2018

Air Juan is expanding its Cebu hub by re-launching old destination and adding new flights to Biliran Island, Catbalogan and Ormoc.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim C. Sydiongco, Catbalogan Mayor Stephanie Uy-Tan, and Air Juan CEO Francis Enrico Gutierrez graced the event as the nine seater plane takes off for its maiden flight last week, March 9. It first flew the route in 2017 on charter flights.

Tomorrow it will begin flight to Ormoc which was abandoned by Cebu Pacific on January 31 citing low passenger traffic.

A direct flight from Cebu to Ormoc is expected to be 30 minutes, while Catbalogan is estimated to take about 50 minutes but a route such as Cebu-Biliran-Catbalogan will take about 2 hours.

Gutierrez said triangular flight is necessary to sustain its economic viability.

Air Juan is the first commercial seaplane operator in the Philippines. Routes from Cebu include Maasin, Naval, Malapascua Island, Sumilon Island, Kalanggaman Island, Gigantes, Lakawon, Camotes, Panglao and Anda in Bohol. It also operates flights from Manila to Baler, Balesin, Boracay Island, Busuanga, Coron, Cuyo, Mamburao, Marinduque, Puerto Galera and Subic.

The airline said that additional less chartered routes are expected to be added in the future.

DVO Expands Destinations

7 March 2018

Davao International Airport (DIA) is growing its domestic and international destinations as new routes are introduce by airlines this year.

In the pipelines are routes to Siargao flown by Philippine Airlines effective March 25 and El Nido flown by Airswift effective May 22.

Two international destination is also opening up this year after airlines secure regulatory approvals. Qatar Airways is expected to begin flight to Doha before the end of the year while renewed flight to Hong Kong is prepared.

DIA is recently connected to Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia, Puerto Princesa by Philippines Air Asia,  Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Dumaguete by Cebu Pacific and Caticlan and Tagbilaran by Philippine Airlines, all being launched last year. PAL however is terminating flight to Cagayan de Oro beginning March 23 due to poor sales.

The airport previously listed Manila, Cebu, Clark, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga as its domestic points while its sole international destination is Singapore.

Skyjet Overruns Sayak Airport

28 February 2018

A SkyJet Airlines BAe 146-200 (RP-C3855) jet operating under flight #M8421 has overran Sayak Airport runway at 11:25am Tuesday in Siargao after landing causing closure of Sayak Airport and suspension of its subsequent flights.

No injuries were reported and all 74 passengers were accounted safe. The cause of the incident was reported to be birds strike to one of its engines and attempted evasion to hit an eagle bird upon landing. CAAP investigators were immediately dispatched today to conduct investigation of the excursion.

The aircraft was towed back to the airports apron around 3pm. No structural damage was reported to the aircraft.

Sayak airport has 1,300 meter runway sufficient to support STOL operations of BAe 146-200 jet according to the CAAP.

This is the second runway overrun incident for the airline having made its first excursion at Balesin Airport where the aircraft was written-off.

CAAP reopened the airport today per its latest NOTAM.

Pic: Ephraim Domingo

CEB Adds Melbourne

27 February 2018

Philippine low cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) will finally fly Melbourne beginning August 14, 2018 thrice a week from Manila. It will be its second destination in Australia after Sydney.

Cebu Pacific Vice-President for Corporate Affairs JR Mantaring said that plans to launch the flights earlier scheduled on “June” this year was rescheduled to August due to delay in regulatory approvals for the route.

The launch for Melbourne flight was postponed three times due to aircraft rationalization and poor economic conditions of the airline.

Rationalization resulted in the axing of most of its Middle East Flights with Dubai the only destination remaining. From June to July last year, it suspended operations to Kuwait, Doha and Riyadh. Dammam was earlier terminated in 2015.

Cebu Pacific’s revenue performance in Sydney, which was launched in 2014, is getting better says Mantaring, and the airline hopes Melbourne can stimulate further demand in the Philippines-Australia market.

The airline initially added Melbourne to its network plan in 2015 after the Philippines and Australia expanded its air services agreement. Another plan was drawn in 2016 but Cebu Pacific decided to shelve plans to launch Melbourne after incurring heavy losses from its long haul operations. It has since rationalized the routes and redeployed A330 fleet to expand its domestic and regional international market.

Sydney and Dubai, which is served daily most of the year, are the only remaining long haul routes in Cebu Pacific’s network which constantly use three aircraft on rotations.

The arrival of seven A321ceos on March 2018 and the joining of thirty two new A321Neo aircraft beginning on the fourth quarter of 2018 until 2022 should free up the utilization of three other A330s which would be used for Australian and Hawaii expansion.

CEB operates a fleet of six A330-300s used for its international flights to Dubai, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore aside from domestic route in Cebu and Davao.

PAL Introduces New York-Bound Plane

21 February 2018

Philippine Airlines unveils its first A350-900ULR plane in Toulouse for delivery in June. They will fly New York, Toronto and Chicago. Meanwhile, its first A321neo long range plane bound for Australia is ready in Finkerwerder for delivery next week. It is scheduled to fly Brisbane from Manila direct on March 27.  

Picture Speaks A Thousand Words

15 February 2018

Airbus A350-1000 demonstration tour arrived in Manila closed to midnight for final sale pitch with flag carrier Philippine Airlines which manifest intent to add the type to its growing A350 fleet.