BIZ BUZZ: ‘Engine trouble’ for airlines | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: ‘Engine trouble’ for airlines

/ 02:10 AM June 19, 2023

It’s easy for passengers to direct outrage at airlines when they are inconvenienced by flight cancellations, but what if the root cause is beyond the control of the carrier, the airport operator or regulators?

That’s the challenge facing Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines—along with a host of carriers around the world—after it was revealed that US-based engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is unable to provide the required maintenance in a timely manner to its clients due to logistics problems.


Pratt & Whitney makes the high tech “geared turbofan” (GTF) engines that power the new Airbus A320neo (new engine option) of Cebu Pacific and, to a lesser degree, PAL.

The problem, as it turns out, is that these engines— while being more fuel efficient—require maintenance after only 6,000 takeoff and landing cycles, compared to 20,000 cycles for the older models.


With more aircraft engines requiring preventive maintenance sooner, Pratt & Whitney was unable to provide the needed repair and overhaul services, as well as replacement parts, resulting in over 160 Airbus planes being grounded worldwide due to unserviced engines.

In the Philippines, Biz Buzz hears that Cebu Pacific has had to ground three of its 24 Airbus NEO planes while PAL has had to take four of its eight NEO aircraft offline. This means that almost one fourth of both carriers’ planes are vulnerable to these maintenance scheduling challenges which, in turn, results in more flights being cancelled of late.

Both carriers have since reduced their flight frequencies and limited booking slots for the meantime while the engine manufacturer struggles to cope with its problems.

The unfortunate consequence is irate and inconvenienced passengers and, predictably, politicians making their usual loud consumer advocacy statements. Would everyone rather forego safety and risk flying on planes whose engines are past their “service by” dates? We doubt it.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Big Boss is back

After a two-year hibernation as business slumped during the prolonged pandemic, tycoon Henry Sy Jr. a.k.a “Big Boy” has rekindled the operations of his upstart cement venture, Big Boss Cement.

Sy himself told Biz Buzz that his cement plant in Pampanga is up and running again, for now producing around 100,000 cement bags per day. Since reopening for business two months ago, Big Boss is not yet operating at its full capacity, but the tycoon is optimistic about the country’s economic recovery. For now, Big Boss is selling through dealers and still working to get its brand out there.

While the pandemic has disrupted their momentum, Sy and his team used the hiatus to fix up their manufacturing plant in Pampanga. It’s now of first world factory quality, he said.


Furthermore, Sy said his team has come up with a proprietary cement formulation that is more planet-friendly.

Instead of using clinker which, in turn, relies on quarried limestone, Big Boss’ earlier formulation used pozzolanic sand to reduce reliance on limestone quarrying.

Sy declined to elaborate on the new formulation, saying Big Boss would have to register the patent first. However, he vowed that it’s the “greenest and the best” in the market today.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

TikTok CEO and dad jokes

TikTok CEO Shou Chew is probably one of the busiest people in the world as he leads a giant social media platform that has global reach. And it only keeps getting bigger with its integration of e-commerce, which has been on the rise during the pandemic.

Nonetheless, the Singaporean businessman has the time to scroll through numerous TikTok videos, just like their 325 million monthly active users.

Chew, during a press briefing in Jakarta, said he likes watching funny videos. These short clips flood his “For You” page, which suggests content related to the users’ interests.

“I do spend a lot of time going through the content,” he told reporters coming from different parts of Southeast Asia.

“My feed is a lot around humourous content. I guess that is what I like. A lot of jokes… a lot of dad jokes,” he said.

But more than entertainment, Chew said he also educates himself on what types of content thrive in specific countries.

“In every country I travel to, I try to understand the local content ecosystem. Every time I meet with the local creators, I get a better sense of what is happening in the country,” he added.

Now, the question is: what is in your “For You” page? Let us know!

— Tyrone Jasper C. Piad
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