A planned new Philippine carrier called Spirit of Manila aims to launch passenger services from Clark in the Philippines to destinations in the Middle East.
An official at the company, who wishes to remain anonymous, confirms the planned carrier has received approval from the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board to launch services to the Middle East.
“Within six months we will be flying and in the next two to three months” hope to get an air operator’s certificate, he says.
Spirit of Manila has been negotiating with an undisclosed leasing company for dry-leases on Boeing 767-300ERs and hopes to conclude a deal soon and receive the first aircraft “in the next few weeks”, says the official.
It is looking to dry-lease two or three 767-300ERs and later add Boeing 747-400s on dry-lease, he says, adding that the day after tomorrow it will begin advertising for pilots and hopes to recruit Filipino pilots working overseas who wish to return home.
Some reports in the Philippines, quoting unnamed sources, say the airline has a minority shareholder from the Middle East but the official ATI spoke to says the carrier is 100% Philippine-owned and that the owners are mostly individual Filipino investors.
He also says: “We will not be competing against Philippine Airlines (PAL) or Cebu Pacific because we will operate out of Clark and not Manila.”
The airline will focus on operating on routes to the Middle East, a region where PAL has refrained from serving in its own right, he says.
These flights will primarily cater to Filipinos working in the Middle East, he says, referring to the thousands of Filipinos who work in the Middle East largely in the household services, hospitality, construction and petrochemical industries.
PAL sells airfares for flights from Manila to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha and Dubai but these are codeshare flights operated by Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Emirates.
The official was responding to reports in the Philippines quoting the Civil Aeronautics Board deputy executive director, Carmelo Arcilla, as saying the board has just granted approval to Spirit of Manila and TransGlobal Airways to operate to the Middle East.
TransGlobal executives were unavailable for comment today. It is based at Clark - an airport outside Manila – and already operates Boeing 737-200 freighter flights to China and Taiwan.
In January the airline’s director of international marketing, Real Carpio, told ATI the carrier planned to add a Boeing MD-82 and MD-83 for passenger flights to South Korea.
Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news