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10 July 2019


The Philippine Embassy in Moscow hosted a tourism seminar for top Russian tour companies on 25 June 2019 at the Embassy Chancery. The tourism seminar was presented by Philippine Airlines, in partnership with DMC Uni-Orient and Spectrum, and aims to promote the best tourism destinations throughout the Philippines.

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10 July 2019

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has appointed new junior executives to stir the airline to greater heights as it transitions from Jaime J. Bautista-led management to that of Vivienne K. Tan management.

Vivienne K. Tan on Monday announced the appointment of Rosemarie S. Katalbas as Senior Vice President of Human Capital Department and Eugene Go as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer.

The new officers will lead the airline’s marketing and human-resources management.

“Ms. Katalbas brings with her a vast experience in leadership roles in human resource management across multiple industries both in the region and globally,” PAL said in a statement.

“These industries include electronics manufacturing, solar energy, pharmaceutical, audit and management firm, and financial services.”

Katalbas was awarded the People Manager of the year by the People Management Association of the Philippines and was recently the recipient of the Philippines’s Most Talented Leaders (2018) World HRD Congress.

Meanwhile, Go is a product of De La Salle University with postgraduate studies in Singapore Institute of Technology where he finished with academic distinction. He has over 27 years of Marketing and Commercial experience in companies like Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, to name a few, and was instrumental in the rise to market leadership of household brand names. He is an Agora awardee for Marketing Excellence. He is skilled in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Market Planning, Key Account Development, Sales Operations, and Forecasting.

“We’re working to make PAL more efficient and productive by improving business procedures—how we do things.” Tan said.

Demoralized work force
Ms. Tan denied speculations of demoralized work force as a result of unceremonious sacking of its junior executives and instead call upon them to unite and carry on with their duties.

“I call on all of you to stand united as you carry out your duties and responsibilities in PAL,” Tan said.

She rallied PAL executives and staff to value the wisdom of unity, stressing that “with unity, there is strength and with strength in numbers, we will make PAL succeed together.”
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No New Routes Planned10 JULY 2019

Philippine low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) announced it will install a maximum 460 seats in an all-economy configuration aboard the A330-900neo aircraft that it ordered at the Paris Air Show last week.

The reason for dense configuration is principally the bottleneck at Manila airport.

“We’re operating in Asia in one of the most constrained environments from an infrastructure point of view,” Mike Szucs, CEB chief executive advisor said.

Deliveries of the A330-900neos will start in 2021. Cebu Pacific is looking to build on the current operation of its ultra-high density current-generation Airbus A330-300ceo aircraft with the new similarly sized aircraft containing 6% more seats.



“One of the things you see there is the slot restrictions. We see them very much in Manila itself, but it really is all the way around the region. Frankly, what we’re looking for is as big a bus as we possibly can find to fly people on what are the trunk routes.” Szucs says.

These will be very uncomfortable aircraft, but the airline is clear about its mission to deliver ultra-low-cost travel in the Asia Pacific region compounded by airport constraints.

“We have very successfully over the last couple of years been deploying the A330ceos on routes that perhaps we didn’t envisage that we would,” Szucs adds.

According to Szucs the airline flies it's A330 to Hongkong 4 times a day, twice daily to Singapore, and daily to Seoul, Narita, Osaka, and Taipie. Its latest A330 daily route is Shanghai. CEB also flies to Dubai daily, Sydney 4 times a week and Melbourne 3 times a week. It also flies 3x daily domestic services to Cebu and Davao.

The A330neos will progressively be replacing the existing fleet of eight A330ceos to cover existing destinations and upgrade some destinations.

“what we’re doing is looking at how we improve our density and frequency of service. So we’re really looking at, for instance, growing in the routes that we currently serve.”Szucs discloses.

The budget carrier is not exploring new long haul destinations to fly the 16 new wide body aircraft as they will be used to fly existing routes as well as upgrade others.

CEB plans to double flights services to Dubai, Sydney and Melbourne upon arrival of these new aircraft.
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8 July 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to San Miguel Corporation (SMC) subsidiary that will reclaim land for the construction of international airport in Bulacan province.

Lormelyn Claudio, DENR director in Central Luzon, said she approved on June 14 the ECC of Silvertides Holdings, a contractor of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), to develop 2,070 hectares in the coastal villages of Bambang and Taliptip in Bulakan where the new international airport is to be constructed.

An ECC is issued to certify that a proposed project will not cause a significant negative environmental impact, as validated by DENR’s environmental impact assessment review committee.

The environmental impact assessment was conducted by Philkairos Inc.

Philkairos said the 24.5-hectare mangrove area in Taliptio and Bambang will be left undisturbed when the international airport project starts construction as the airport complex is envisioned to be an island airport surrounded by water accessible only by a causeway for both rail and motor traffic.
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5 July 2019

Agreement Must Be the Same As Clark template

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has returned its unsolicited offer to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after its proponent insisted on the MAGA Clause worded differently which has been declined by NEDA, a Transport Official said Thursday.

“They are required to pattern the concession agreement after the one signed with the North Luzon Airport Consortium for the operations and maintenance of the Clark International Airport,” Transportation Undersecretary for planning Ruben Reinoso said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) returned the P102-billion offer of the Naia Consortium and required them to submit another round of revisions consistent with the draft concession agreements for operation and maintenance deal of Clark International Airport.

The government considers the Clark Airport contract, bagged by a consortium led by JG Summit, Changi Airports Philippines, and Filinvest Development Corp. last December, as a good template due to the risks that were assigned to the private sector.

One of its features was the condition that will trigger compensation for the private concessionaire, otherwise known as a Material Adverse Government Action (MAGA).

MAGA events are more commonly known as “political risk” or “political force majeure”. The purpose of a MAGA clause is to allocate certain agreed types of political risk to the Contracting Authority, address the consequences of such risks occurring and provide the Private Partner with appropriate relief and compensation.

In the Clark Airport contract, MAGA will cover only executive orders and not the impact of any change in future laws which the consortium surreptitiously included in their second proposal.

Reinoso said the previous submission of the group was accepted by the DOTr because they accepted all the clauses embodied in the Clark contract. What was submitted however is a MAGA Clause inconsistent with what the government wants.

“They just reiterated their old proposal for government guarantee. That is a no-no,” Reinoso said.

Consortium contends that the Clark Airport O&M had a different risk profile. For one, it is a hybrid Public-Private Partnership project where the capacity expansion was bid out separately from the O&M component. The Consortium also finds the Clark template risky and it also requires readjustment of profitability expectations.

The NAIA Consortium however said that they will revise the terms of the concession agreement for the third time to conform fully to the Clark template which is required by the government.

“The principles were aligned before. But what is asked of them is to have the exact provisions. The explanation of the proponent before was the configuration of NAIA with Clark is different so it cannot be exactly the same. But NEDA said it has to have the same, exact configurations and provisions,” Reinoso said.

The NAIA consortium is composed of some of the country’s biggest conglomerates, which are Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., Ayala Corporation Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Its technical partner is Singapore’s Changi Airports International.

NAIA Consortium’s offer includes Terminal expansion to add capacity and interconnecting the existing terminals of NAIA, upgrading airside facilities, developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhancing passenger comfort and experience and elevating the status of NAIA as the country’s premier international gateway. The duration of contract is 15 years.

The latest setback spells further delays for the project, which aims to increase capacity to the Philippines’ busiest air gateway to 65 million passengers in ten years. NAIA handled 45 million in 2018 and is expected to reach 55 million passengers in three years time.

Transport Secretary Art Tugade has said in May that he was targeting to award the project in 90 days, or by August this year so that it can be open in 2022.

That goal is now effectively postponed for another year as the NAIA Consortium will re-draft the legal and economic terms and re-submit its proposal to DOTr which will then be endorsed to the NEDA Board for their approval, after which their will be call for competitive challenge, which takes at least 60 days to complete.

Reinoso said award of the contract is expected to be made by second quarter of next year if proponent is fast enough to submit their third offer.

Reinoso also said that Sec. Tugade ordered last week the return to the respective proponents all other unsolicited proposals for regional airport projects which have been granted the original proponent status (OPS) to pattern their draft concession agreements after Clark international airport’s operation and maintenance contract.

This include proposals for Davao International Airport, Panglao International Airport, and Kalibo International Airport.

Since the start of the Duterte administration, five business groups have made unsolicited bids for nine existing provincial air gateways.
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3 July 2019

The Department of Transport (DOTr) is awarding to San Miguel Corp. (SMC) the right to build New Manila International Airport (NMIA) under a 50 year concession agreement.

Notice of Award is being prepared to be send to SMC. A formal announcement will be made soon.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the company will begin awarding contract to its contractors by September this year after receiving the notice (NTP) from DOTr for detailed engineering works and land preparations.

The first phase will consist of two parallel runways and a passenger terminal building with revised capacity of 35 million passengers per annum. Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in 2024.
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Looks For New Airline President To Stir Airline


25 June 2019

Philippine Airlines (PAL) Board of Directors has approved the retirement of Jaime J. Bautista as PAL president and chief operating officer, to take effect on June 30 but denied the appointment of PAL Executive Vice President/Treasurer and Chief Administrative Officer Vivienne K. Tan to replace him, PAL statement said Monday.

Ms. Tan instead is directed to work closely with Bautista for a smooth and orderly transition of management until a new President and COO is appointed, the PAL statement said.

The Board has decided to form a search committee to hire a new president and COO, according to PAL Vice Chairman Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr. who authored such proposal and carried by the board.

PAL Board said they need a “professional manager” to steer the airline to new heights because “it has 98 planes and it has a lot of long-range destinations planned.”

PAL Board of Directors consisted of Lucio C. Tan - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lucio "Bong" K. Tan Jr. - Vice Chairman, Jaime J. Bautista - President and Chief Operating Officer, Rowena Tan-Chua, Atty. Florentino Herrera III, Atty. Estelito Mendoza, Cirilo P. Noel, Carmen K. Tan, Michael G. Tan, Ryuhei Maeda (ANA), Johnip G. Cua, Justice Manuel Lazaro, Amando M. Tetangco, Jr., Samuel C. Uy, and Gregorio T. Yu.

According to the Board, the next PAL President should be a Filipino who “has experienced in management, preferably in the airline industry.”

Tan Jr.’s recommendation to look outside the airline for a new president is not a surprise. A source within management explained that Tan Jr. is a “protégé of Bautista and Wilson Young, chairman of Victorias Milling, a company also owned by Tan. They were tasked by Lucio Sr. to train Bong to run the airline and the milling company. Bong is closer to them than to Vivienne.”

Apparently, there is a family rift between the two siblings and some management decisions are casualties of the squabble which prompted Bautista to exit the company much earlier.

The decision to hire professional manager is designed to shield the airline from any rumored family turmoil.”

Among those at Monday’s board meeting were tycoon Lucio Tan, the siblings Vivienne and Bong, the elder Tan’s longtime lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, Lucio Tan Group President Michael G. Tan; Ryuhei Maeda, representing All Nippon Airways; lawyer Florentino Herrera III, independent directors Gregorio T. Yu, Amando Tetangco Jr., and Johnip Cua.
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21 June 2019


FFlag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is in management transition after President and COO Jaime J. Bautista retires on June 30.

Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr., vice chairman of PAL disclosed that his older sister Vivienne Tan has been appointed by his Dad Lucio Tan to take the helm from Bautista.

Tan Jr. who was recently appointed as Officer-In-Charge of the airline upon the retirement of Bautista—said his sister is “slowly” choosing the people who will help her run the airline.

Among them is Siegfred Mison, SVP for Legal, who was chosen to joined the new management team.

Bautista had spent some 26 years with PAL, 12 of which as its president and COO. Prior to being appointed president of PAL in 2004, Bautista started as the head of the company’s accounting division in 1993.

He is mainly credited with turning around the company from one under rehabilitation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1999 to a formidable airline today.

Through the years, Bautista has successfully steered PAL through turbulent skies, enabling the flag carrier to hurdle challenging periods in its history, from labor strike of pilots, cabin crews and employees to financial problems.

Lucio Tan is said to have personally prevailed on Bautista to abandon his first retirement in 2012 and return to PAL in 2014.

Philippine Airlines pursued expansion programme during this period by adding four more B777-300ER to the fleet and ordering Airbus newest wide-body jets, the A350-900s to grow its profitable overseas route network.

The carrier also improved its service, securing it a 4-Star rating from Skytrax. It was also cited as the most improved airline in 2019.

He was a staunch advocate for foreign support for the airline's growth. In January, Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc acquired 9.5% of Philippine Airlines for $95 million to support its Asia growth strategy.

“Jimmy is an honest man. And he has done a great job in PAL,” says Tan Jr.

Jaime Bautista said that he had submitted his application for retirement “last month”.

“My retirement will be formally accepted on Monday (June 24) during the board meeting. I will formally retire on June 30, but if the turnover of the office is done earlier, I can just take a terminal leave.” He added.

On Thursday, Bautista was all smiles, seated beside Vivienne and Mison at a farewell lunch tendered in his honor. A photo of the moment was captured by Mison and posted on his Facebook account.

Philippine Airlines operates 98 aircraft, mostly Airbus jets, with a route network of more than 30 domestic and 40 international destinations.

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20 June 2019

San Miguel Corporation hopes to be operating  the New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan by the end of 2024, according to its top official.

“If no other company puts forth a comparable offer to build one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in our country’s history, Filipinos could be enjoying more than just a world-class airport some five years after its groundbreaking,” says SMC President Ramon S. Ang.

Ang is confident that all requirements will be satisfied soon and they can break ground for the project by the end of 2019.

The Department of Transport (DOTr) said there was no other bidder that bought bidding documents worth 10 million pesos during the conduct of Pre-bid Conference paving the way for SMC to go ahead with its offer.

Ang earlier said he was not expecting any other party to make a bid to challenge his group’s proposal given the size of the investment required and the lack of government subsidy or support agreement.

NMIA will feature four parallel runways and will have eight terminals build in stages, with annual design capacity of more than 100 million when fully completed.

Ang said the new airport terminal will be accessible by expressway via NLEX and R1 (shore expressway) and by airport express train.

The terminal will also be equipped with cutting edge technology including artificial intelligence and facial recognition capabilities that will allow the start of a passenger’s checking in and immigration process as soon as he is recognized by the cameras at the curbside of the airport.

“If you've been to Incheon airport this is the same technology employed by our airport partner in Seoul, South Korea,” says Ang.

Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) was selected by SMC as the operator of a US$15.7 billion new airport after the corporation concluded a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with San Miguel at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on Nov. 23, 2018.

The airport designer IIAC has said the new airport is configured to be a super-large airport with an annual passenger handling capacity of 100 million with eight passenger terminals and four parallel runways.

The Korean airport operator said phase one of the project will cost SMC US$6.3 billion. No further details were disclosed. SMC inside sources however said the airport is planned to be built in four stages, incrementally increasing airport capacity as the demand grows.

IIAC has not yet officially announced what Phase 1 would include, but that it would cover the passenger terminal and cargo buildings, two parallel runways, a control tower, complete navigational facilities, an administrative building, a transportation Center hub, an integrated operations center, and mandatory government office buildings. SMC will take charge of the access road and the railway system.

IIAC is the operator of Incheon International Airport which is the largest airport in South Korea and one of the busiest airports in the world. It was awarded the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards 11 consecutive times by Airport Council International, and was named the winner of World’s Best Transit Airport in 2019.

All this will be accessible from Metro Manila in less than thirty minutes, via interconnected expressways and rail — including a shoreline expressway that will traverse Manila Bay and head straight to NMIA, according to Ang.
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19 June 2019


Low cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) has ordered 16 Airbus A330-900s with 460 seats in all-economy layout to replace its existing A330 fleet beginning 2021 in a deal valued around $4.5 billion at list price.

The airline currently operates 6 A330-300 of three different weight configurations from three different lessors.

Chief executive advisor Mike Szucs indicates that the high-density A330neo layout has been achieved with some "clever" reconfiguration of facilities such as the lavatories and will have a maximum MTOW of 251T.

Airbus has indicated that the 460-seat layout for the Cebu Pacific A330-900s will involve a door modification in order to achieve exit limits.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency's type certificate for the aircraft has an approved maximum seating capacity of 440.

Airbus said CEB A330-900 variant will be fitted with four pairs of Type A-plus exits similar to the A350 which provide emergency exit capability for 120 passengers instead of the normal size Type A size doors which limit exits to 110 passengers.

The A330-900 would have the modified exits installed at the 'door 2' and 'door 4' positions, hiking the authorised capacity.

The new aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

The airline's widebody orders also includes purchase agreement of 10 new A321XLR which will have 220 seats earmarked for Australia, China and Japan destinations, and five additional A320neos which will have 194 seats or 3 more rows for regional destinations out of regional airports outside Manila. The order also contains options for 10 more A321neos which will have 240 seats.

The airline's chief financial officer, Andrew Huang says the narrow-body orders will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100Gs similar to the current A321neos on order with Airbus.

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