COCKTALES | AirPhil abandons Clark, plans Davao-Sandakan flight means BUSINESS


Budget airline AirPhil Express is pulling out of Clark and stopping all domestic and international flights out of the former US military base effective February 22, an airline official said, confirming a number of blog reports.

A sister airline of Philippine Airlines, AirPhil launched the Clark base only in late March 2012, offering four flights a week each to Cebu and Kalibo, and thrice weekly to Davao and Puerto Princesa.

AirPhil will also stop its four times a week Clark-Hong Kong frequency, with the last return flight on February 21.

The thrice-a-week Clark-Singapore route will take off for its last return flight on February 16.

An emailed advisory sent to a passenger attributed the cancellations to "operational requirements."  AirPhil was offering the option of having the airfare refunded in full or re-routing the flights via Manila.

An AirPhil official, who asked not to be identified by name, also confirmed industry talks that the budget carrier instead plans to start a Davao-Sandakan route, among other flight re-deployments.

The planned Davao-Sandakan route comes amid an earlier announcement from MASwings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines servicing the so-called rural routes within Sabah and Sarawak, that it will start a Kota Kinabalu-Puerto Princesa service by late March.

Ayala, Lopez in an AIM toss-up

The planned redevelopment of the Asian Institute of Management campus has reached the crucial negotiation stage between two business giants, a bargaining table, as it were, occupied on one side by the Ayalas, and on the other by the Lopezes.

According to the grapevine, the Castilaloy hacienderos, who donated the one-hectare campus site, prefer that the entrance be relocated to Trasierra St., currently the campus backside, among other considerations.

On the other hand, the Lopezes, whose original P5-million donation four-and-a-half decades ago underwrote the construction of the three-story building and obtained the naming rights -- and thus the AIM building is formally known as "Eugenio Lopez Foundation Building" -- not only want to keep the present Paseo de Roxas entrance, but also retain the naming rights to the future campus that will be built by Ayala Land.

The broad outlines of the Ayala proposal, according to the grapevine, is that AIM return the one-hectare site in exchange for Ayala Land constructing an eight-to-ten story building to house the future AIM.

Ayala Land in turn will get to build and sell two high-rise residential condos on what is now the open car park, facing the Corinthian Plaza and Washington Sycip Park.

The AIM management, for its part, wants a slice of the planned leasable space in the two high-rise condos so as to beef up the revenue stream of the financially-challenged business school, the region's first.

The planned redevelopment would reduce the present AIM footprint to about a third, with the campus essentially being transformed into a podium ringed by higher residential condos barely indistinguishable from the Greenbelt complex across the street.


o PNoy's mother-side relatives running the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in Hacienda Luisita apparently still find it difficult to walk the straight-and-narrow path of corporate governance. The listed refinery has again reset its already twice-postponed shareholders' meeting to April 12 because of its inability to prepare the annual report on time.

o Alexander Escucha, a past president of the Philippine Economic Society who bears a depilated resemblance to options trader-author Nassim Taleb, has just been promoted to senior vice president of Chinabank.

Heard through the grapevine

Taipan Lucio Tan has found a neat way to solve his brother-in-law problem at the merged Philippine National and Allied banks. Instead of 15 board seats as had been announced last year, the taipan reduced the number of directors in the merged bank to only 13, thereby leaving no more seat available for his out-of-favor brother-in-law, Domingo Chua. Unfortunately, one son, John Tan, suffered collateral damage, and had to resign from the combined boards, since he was the 15th member.