3rd in the World

This is another slap on the face of Save Our Skies (SOS) coalition which is opposing the entry of foreign air carriers in the country via the “open skies” regime. SOS raises the bogey that this would kill the domestic airlines.

Well, here’s another proof that SOS is lying like the Palace occupant.

The Philippines ranked 3rd in the world in air travel growth after India and Mexico. Our No. 1 airline Cebu Pacific recorded a whooping 47 percent growth rate. And this happened in spite of four years already of the Clark experiment on “open skies.”

Proves once more that the fears of SOS are unfounded.

See related posts under “Open Skies

(6:20 a.m.)

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Scaring us again

Oh well, here they go again scaring us against “open skies.”

The claim of the Save Our Skies (SOS) that opening the aviation industry would kill domestic airlines simply do not match the numbers.

The “pocket open skies” at Clark is now four years old, and certainly Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have not folded up. In fact, on the contrary, the two main local air carriers never had it so good during these past years. Both continue to post record load factors, sales, passengers and profits.

PAL particularly went out of its receivership last year after its utter failure over a decade ago in mishandling loans and personnel.

Instead of trumpeting this old refrain that local airlines would close shop if foreign airlines fly in, SOS should help prepare domestic carriers for the eventual “open skies” regime. The ASEAN is implementing this policy starting this year among capital cities, and eventually among other major destinations in the 10-nation common market.

Davao’s own effort for a “pocket open skies” to lure more foreign airlines to serve this premier city in southern Philippines had been blocked at Malacanang by this scare tactic. The city’s new airport is now five years old but no new airlines had been added to serve it. Lacking this vital direct airlinks has denied the city more tourists, more trade and better travel routes for Mindanao’s OFWs.

(4:48 a.m.)

Davao and the World Ocean Conference

After its successful hosting of the international Climate Change Summit in Bali last year, Indonesia will again host one of the world’s biggest environmental conferences next year – the World Ocean Conference in Manado, North Sulawesi on May 11-15, 2009.

Davao City should take advantage of this very important event and cash in on its ripple effects across the Celebes Sea.

One, Manado is a sister-city of Davao and we should extend our assistance to it in hosting this conference.

Second, Davao may be considered as the “northern gateway” to Manado. North Sulawesi’s Sam Ratulangi Airport can be reached through Jakarta and Bali to its south, via Singapore to its west and Davao to the north.

Thousands of participants to the conference – heads of states, top scientists and academicians, environmentalists, NGOs, media, etc. will be flying to Manado. Davao can offer itself as its northern passage. By then, Davao has direct flights from Hongkong and Taipei (Cebu Pacific) which could play as the hub for participants flying in from Europe, north Asia and North America.

Third, there would be plenty of opportunities for pre and post conference activities around the month of May. Davao can hold or host a number of these to take advantage of the presence of eminent personalities.

Davao can also offer special tours and exposure trips to the participants to the city showcasing its best practices in marine conservation like the turtle sanctuary, mangrove forest, and the Davao Gulf Development initiative.

Fourth, an ambitious event could be the holding of a sort of Davao-Manado Yacht Race or Davao-Manado fluvial parade in time of the opening of the conference. The Celebes Sea is the future Caribbean and a Davao-Manado cruise trip could be developed out of this idea.

I propose that the city take advantage of this big event. It would be a coming out party for Manado, and we should not miss this opportunity to play a supporting role.

(8:29 a.m.)

New Bacolod airport

The national government has just opened the new Bacolod-Silay airport.

I read the news in a number of online versions of national newspapers. However, none described the exact location or how far it is from downtown Bacolod.

Calling the attention of news reporters and editors. The obvious one important information readers and travelers who are not from Negros would want to know is how far this new airport is from Bacolod.

More confused

In Disparity, eight posts below, I am confused by the figures of tourist arrivals in the country. The figures of the Bureau of Immigration and Department of Tourism do not match.

Here is more confusion. The Civil Aeronautics Board, in charge of airports, has a totally different record. It claims that incoming tourists numbered 4.94 million.

Three more government agencies behaving like our Comelec. They simply cannot count correctly.

(5:38 a.m.)

Disparity

There’s a big gap between records of the Bureau of Immigration & Deportation with those of the Department of Tourism with regards to travelers to the country.

BID counts arrivals at various entry points such as airports and seaports while DOT records those who check in at various hotels, inns, resorts, etc.

What’s the real score with our tourist arrivals – almost 3 million as tallied by DOT or almost 5 million as claimed by BID?

The DOT had earlier reported that Koreans are now the country’s top foreign visitors. But this recent report from BID showed that the Americans had the most arrivals.

Hohum!

The disparity in figures calls for both BID and DOT to reconcile their stats. Here is an earlier report showing the wide gap among Koreans in the country.

(7:50 a.m.)

Cebu Pacific is No. 1

Asia’s oldest airline must have really given up its position as the Philippines’ No. 1 air carrier.

Proof: a numerical trick by Philippine Airlines to dislodge Cebu Pacific as the top airline in the country.

How? It added the passengers, seating capacity, flights, routes and number of aircrafts of sister company Air Philippines to its stats.

Ha ha ha!

Haven’t you noticed that this trick was forthcoming? Well, I noticed that since the much younger Cebu Pacific claimed the No. 1 spot in terms of passengers flown, print ads by PAL had Airphil in it. That is to create in our minds that the two Lucio Tan owned airlines are actually one.

They might as well do that. Why indeed bother with two airlines when Tan can have one big airline that can really outflank the local competition?

No matter the trick, PAL has really lost the premier spot to Cebu Pacific, the latter being more market-oriented, aggressive and flexible. In this era of “open skies,” jurassic airlines, sans their new aircrafts, would really lose out to new and younger players.

(4:08 a.m.)