Friday, August 29, 2008

Civil Aviation News

MANILA, Philippines — A pending bill in the House of Representatives seeks to encourage air travel and tourism by further liberalizing commercial air travel.

House Bill 4314 proposes the alignment of existing rules and regulations governing domestic and international air and sea travel and tourism.

"The country has become the laggard today in Southeast Asia with only some three million tourist arrivals a year, while most of our neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore have achieved tens of millions of tourist arrivals. Even latecomers in the industry like Vietnam and Cambodia have overtaken the country already," said Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles, author of the bill, in a statement on the House of Representatives website (

Cerilles said even if R.A. 9497 seeks to ensure efficiency and safety of commercial air travel operation, there remains a pressing need to address the "commercial and aero-political aspects" of the industry.

RA 9497, signed into law in March 2008, creates the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

In filing his bill, Cerilles said the Philippines was once the leading tourism country in the 1960s but has deteriorated in terms of growth and development in the travel and tourism industry.

He said the continuing clamor for liberalization of commercial aviation will sufficiently address not only the needs of tourists but also of millions of OFWs.

Also, he said no Filipino carrier operates in any part of the Middle East and Europe, including the Eastern Seaboard of the United States where many Filipino seamen fly to catch up with their ocean-going vessels in New York City and Miami.

"Most of the world-class tourism destinations of the country are located outside Metro Manila. We need to facilitate the travel of tourists from their point of origin to the final tourism destinations and thus there is a need to improve the tourist facilities in the major airports of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," Cerilles said.

Cerilles added the move will result in the decongestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which can no longer cope with the influx of tourist arrivals for lack of facilities, and which now also needs expansion since it is located in a highly urbanized and populated area. - GMANews.TV

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Explosion Investigation

MANILA, Philippines--At the end of a mission to help investigate an explosion aboard a Qantas jet nine days ago, a Philippine aviation official experienced on Saturday a midair scare on a flight of the Australian carrier bound for Manila.

A top official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was among some 200 passengers who found themselves on a jittery ride over Australia, when the Qantas jet made an emergency landing in Sydney because of a hydraulic leak.

Keen on any sign of aircraft trouble, CAAP Executive Director Daniel Dimagiba grew worried as he observed the slow ascent of the Qantas plane, a Boeing 767, just minutes after its delayed takeoff at the Sydney airport at around 2 p.m. Saturday.

"I was in business class and on a window seat—that's my favorite seat on a plane—and I noticed as we took off that the plane's rate of climb was slow. I could see the ground slowly drifting away and the sound of the jet engine was different," Dimagiba told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of Saturday.

He was flying home after he met with Qantas officials and observed the Canberra-based Australian Transport Safety Bureau's data retrieval and analysis of the flight data recorder from the Qantas Boeing 747-400 jet, which was involved in a midair decompression within Philippine air space on July 25.

The flight en route to Melbourne from Hong Kong made an emergency landing in Manila after a blast believed to have been caused by an exploding oxygen cylinder ripped a large hole in its fuselage.

Plane parts retrieved from the damaged jet, which is still grounded in Manila, were sent to Canberra for forensic analysis. The CAAP sent a representative to observe the probe in compliance with international aviation regulations.

Then on July 28, a Qantas 737-800 was forced to return to Adelaide after a landing gear door failed to retract.

The incidents followed a series of media reports in Australia about concerns about the quality of maintenance amid an increase in the amount of such work outsourced to other countries.

On his way back to the airport, Dimagiba never expected a first-hand taste of what he has been dealing with in his career. The official knew all too well that something was wrong.

"Since I understand how planes work, I was concerned because our ascent was slow … The other passengers were in their seats, just relaxing, reading," he said over the phone on Sunday.

Trouble began before passengers entered the plane, according to Dimagiba. He recalled hearing the airline ground crew saying that the plane's passenger door could not be shut properly.