To: Balesin Members and Friends
This will not be one of my usual loquacious updates because I am still on the road in Europe. However, I did not want to delay informing you of a major development which will no doubt have a significant impact on Balesin and our aviation facilities.
After almost two months of difficult and sometimes arduous negotiations, the details of which I will not bore you with, we have now arrived at a final agreement to acquire our first ATR72 aircraft. The ATR72 has a seating capacity of 66 passengers (equivalent to about seven flights of the CessnaGxrand Caravan planes). The ATR is a very reliable plane and has an excellent safety record. In fact, it is still being manufactured in France and Italy. There are now more than 800 of these planes flying for major airlines all over the world.
We have now signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement and have remitted the down payment. All in all, including pilot training, painting of the livery colors of Alphaland, the ferry flight to Manila and the customs duties and other taxes that we have to pay, the cost to Alphaland of this ATR will be more than Php200 million.
This cost is more than justified by the fact that one ATR will be able to transport almost 400 passengers from Manila to Balesin or vice versa in one day. You all have been aware of the disruption that we have had during the last week because the licenses of two of the airline companies whom we charter were suddenly suspended by CAAP. We have had to scramble for flights so that our members’ and guests’ ability to access Balesin would not be seriously disrupted.
Regrettably, in addition to having to pay much higher charter costs, there were still unavoidable delays. With our new ATR72, we expect that these problems will be a thing of the past, and the flights from Manila to Balesin and vice versa will be much more comfortable in this regular airliner aircraft.
As a matter of fact, as we approach the peak season which culminates during the Halloween and Christmas holidays, we plan to acquire a second ATR in order to completely eliminate this problem.
This first ATR will be delivered to Manila at the beginning of June. As many of you are aware, we have had to subsidize, during the past two years, our aviation operations heavily and thus, I am now constrained to write you to inform you that we will have to increase the round trip fares between Balesin and Manila from Php7,000 per passenger to Php8,000 beginning June 1st.
I am enclosing pictures of the ATR 72 that will be servicing you within the next couple of weeks.