MANILA, SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 (MALAYA) Philippine airlines are fanning out to the world. After recent success in doubling flights to the Middle East, the Civil Aeronautics Board will start bilateral air talks this November with aviation authorities in Russia and Israel.

This sits squarely with the plan of the country’s major carriers, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to buy new aircraft as they expand to the long-haul market. Both PAL and Cebu Pacific have orders of more than 40 each with Airbus Industrie of France.

Asia’s first airline has reduced its domestic operations to passenger-rich destinations such as Cebu, Davao, General Santos in Cotabato. The relatively new aircraft used in domestic operations will be shifted to foreign destinations. PAL has obtained landing rights to Vancouver and Toronto in Canada.

The fleet expansion, however, is threatened by the proposal to amend the cabotage law. The amendment would allow foreign airlines to carrying tourists to land in any international airport in the Philippines and fly them to tourist destinations. If the cabotage law is not amended these foreign airlines will not be allowed to land to other destinations in the Philippines.

They have to fly back to their ports of origin. The same right is acquired by Philippine airlines if the cabotage law is amended. The speculation, however, is that foreign passengers will ride their own flag carriers in going to other places in their country.

The result may well be a fare-war waged by Philippine airlines flying to foreign destinations. They have the particular advantage of low cabin payroll.

In a sideline interview at the CEB Airbus A330 launch, Jesus F. Ibay, Jr. CAB officer in charge on Planning and Research Division said that negotiations with Israel will be on November 4 and 5 to renew seat entitlements secured in 1970s but were never used.

Ibay said that CAB arranged the talk after Philippine Airlines (PAL) expressed its intention to fly to Israel with Cebu Pacific following.

Ibay said discussions with Russia will be sometime in November or December this year. The country has air services agreement (ASA) with Russia but it has no seat entitlements.

CAB earlier reported the Philippines secured 14 flights per week to Italy landing in Rome and Milan .

PAL will start to fly in Europe next month after it the EU ban was lifted last July.

In May, the Philippines signed its first agreement on air services with Brazil.

In 2012, the Philippines was able to double flight frequency in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

In addition , Philippines and the United Arab Emirates also agreed to significantly increase flights allowing local carriers to fly to Dubai. -


Philippine Airlines Launches 12 New Destinations

Ramon Ang wasn't joking when he suggested that he wanted to take Philippine Airlines to the next level. Following San Miguel Corporation's $500 million investment in Philippine Airlines, PAL entered into a $7 billion contract to acquire 54 Airbus aircraft including 34 x A321ceo, 10 x A321neo, and 10 x A330-300's. An additional $2.5 billion option was placed to acquire a possible 10 Airbus A330-300's in September of 2012.

Philippine Airlines will be accepting delivery of 21 new aircraft in 2013. For its long-haul flights, PAL plans to deploy the brand new Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777's. Philippine Airlines just accepted delivery of a Boeing 777 aircraft with an additional one to follow later this year. It's a good thing too because PAL is going to need them.

Philippine Airlines Boeing B777

The latest addition to the PAL Fleet: Boeing 777-300

Philippine Airlines kicked off its global conquest in November 2012 with non-stop flights to Toronto, Canada aboard its brand new Boeing 777-300ER's. But for 2013, it has lined up a far more aggressive expansion plan launching service to 12 new destinations. It is all part of the plan to become a truly global Filipino airline.

Here is a timeline of the new route launches for 2013: Basco Batanes Philippine Airlines

Batanes: There is no place like it in the Philippines Photo Copyright: Anton Diaz/

MAY 2013:

MAY 1: BASCO, BATANES (PHILIPPINES) will be the first new route operated by PAL Express with direct flight between Manila and Basco 3 times per week aboard a Bombardier Dash 8-400 turbo-prop aircraft. Philippine Airlines will be only the second carrier serving this route after SkyJet Airlines.

MAY 2: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA will be offered four-times weekly by PAL. The launch of this route symbolizes a return to Kuala Lumpur after a 7 year absence by Philippine Airlines. The new service will complement existing PAL Express flights offered three-times-weekly to Kuala Lumpur combining for a daily service for travellers. It will also offer Manila as a base for connecting services within the Philippines and any of PAL's international destinations in the US, Canada, Australia and Asia.

Brisbane Australia Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines service to Brisbane is due to launch June 1

JUNE 2013

JUNE 1: AUSTRALIA will be well connected to the Philippines as Philippine Airlines launches: Daily Flights to DARWIN in the Northern Territory Four Weekly Flights to PERTH linking to Western Australia for the first time Three Weekly Flights to BRISBANE JUNE 2: GUANGZHOU, CHINA will be added to the list of Philippine Airline destinations with four weekly flights connecting the Philippines to the largest city in southern China and China's top manufacturing hub.

Abu Dhabi Philippine Airlines Philippine Airlines will fly to Abu Dhabi on October 1


OCTOBER 1: ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will be connected directly to Manila with a daily flight. This represents a return to the Middle East for Philippine Airlines who had recently dropped routes to the Middle East opting to code-share instead with Gulf carriers citing that they could not compete effectively or operate the routes profitably in competition with their Gulf counterparts. The new route is a welcomed announcement for the 2.2 million Filipino overseas foreign workers currently living in the area. OCTOBER 7: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will be the first long-haul destination for Cebu Pacific who will serve the route daily aboard a brand new Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

PAL Express Dubai Dubai will be a new destination for both Cebu Pacific and PAL Express


NOVEMBER 1: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES & QATAR DOHA, QATAR will be served six-times weekly by Philippine Airlines. DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will be served by a daily flight operated by PAL Express aboard an A330-300 to be transferred from the PAL fleet later this year. The new service will compete directly with Cebu Pacific's newly announced service to Dubai, the financial powerhouse and trading center of the Arabian Gulf.

Philippine Airlines Riyadh The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to thousands of overseas Filipino workers


DECEMBER 1: SAUDI ARABIA RIYADH, the capital of Saudi Arabia will be served six times weekly DAMMAM, the oil center of the country will be served three times weekly JEDDAH, the Red Sea port of Saudi Arabia will be connected four times weekly

The return of Philippine Airlines to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East will allow passengers to interconnect to the rest of the region on partner airlines. All Middle East flights will be operated by Philippine Airlines' new Airbus A330-300 aircraft scheduled for delivery this year with state of the art technology, top-notch cabin features and a new premium economy cabin.

The news of the route launches to the Middle East will enable Filipino foreign workers to breathe a sigh of relief as airfares between the region and the Philippines are likely to drop dramatically given the new competition by Philippine Airlines and the new service offered by Cebu Pacific. Sale fares offered by Cebu Pacific between Dubai and Manila can be as low as Php 10,000 round-trip including all taxes and fees. Cebu Pacific will launch its daily direct service from Manila to Dubai on October 7, 2013 aboard brand new Airbus A330-300 aircraft to be delivered later this year with the first one arriving in June.

Cebu Pacific A330 Cebu Pacific will take delivery of its first Airbus A330-300 in June Source:

But competition won't just be fierce to the Middle East, Cebu Pacific is already planning to serve destinations in Australia, parts of Europe, and the USA. The service to the Middle East will commence by mid-2013 and Cebu Pacific hopes to land in Australia by the end of 2013. Cebu Pacific was just granted the rights to 3,052 weekly seat entitlements between Australia and the Philippines in a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the two respective governments. This is in addition to the 1,260 weekly seat entitlements Cebu Pacific already held. Although no formal announcements have been made, speculation suggests that Cebu Pacific will be targeting Avalon Airport as its first Australian destination. Avalon Airport serves the city of Melbourne in Australia.

For Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, any plans to serve Europe and additional destinations in the USA will need to wait until the current ban is lifted pending audits of the FAA and the EU later this year following the successful outcome of the ICAO inspection. The FAA (US) audit is scheduled to begin on May 2 while the EU audit is schedule for June 3 to 7. It is expected that the results of those audits will be released by the end of June. The lifting of the bans will provide new opportunities for Philippine carriers in Europe, United States, Japan and Korea.

As for Philippine Airlines, Ramon Ang is wasting no time waiting for the bans to be lifted. He is already confident of a successful outcome and is already preparing for flights to Europe and the USA. Pending the regulatory approvals to fly to the USA, Ang intends to launch service to NEW YORK followed by CHICAGO using the Boeing 777-300ER and he intends to by the end of 2013 insisting that the destinations will be added to the next winter schedule.

New York City Philippine Airlines New York is next on the list for Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines also stated that it recently received board approval to acquire an additional four Airbus A340-300 aircraft in preparation for long-haul services to Europe. Last December, Philippine Airlines asked Philippine authorities for permission to launch flights to Turkey. That may be a hint at the first destination to be served in Europe. What we do know is that popular destinations like the United Kingdom, Spain, and France are high on the wish-list. There is also the possibility of flights to Russia to be launched in the near future as well.

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and the rest of the country anxiously await the results of the EU and FAA inspections. While Philippine Airlines may not be able to serve all of the destinations on their wish list, the airline is certainly off to a good start in their conquest to become the truly global Filipino airline. For now, all we can advise is to hold on to your seats because it's going to be an exciting ride!




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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