Philippine flag carrier agrees to pay $117 million aviation fees

President Rodrigo Duterte had given Philippine Airlines a Friday deadline to pay arrears. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Philippine flag carrier agrees to pay $117 million aviation fees

MANILA: Flag carrier Philippine Airlines said Friday it will pay the government six billion pesos (SR441.6 million) after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to cut off its access to Manila airport over alleged unpaid landing and other fees.
Duterte had given the airline a Friday deadline to pay arrears.
“The (Department of Transportation) has accepted the offer of PAL to pay in full the six billion-peso claims of the (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines/Manila International Airport Authority,” a joint statement said.
“One of the overriding reasons why PAL agreed to settle is to manifest its trust and confidence in President Duterte’s administration,” the statement said.
The airline also committed to “keep all transactions updated and current” with the aviation and airport authorities, it added.
On September 26 Duterte said he had told PAL chairman and billionaire Lucio Tan: “You are using government buildings, airport, you have back debts for the use of the runway that you have not paid.
“I said, ‘You solve the problem yourself. I will give you 10 days. Pay it. If not I will close it down. No more airport’.”
Previously state-owned PAL was sold off in 1992, and the government said the fees were waived when the airline was government-owned.
Despite an increase in low-cost competitors, PAL still has the largest fleet in the Philippines and is the only local carrier to fly to North America and Europe.
In June it said it planned to increase its fleet serving smaller islands in the archipelagic nation.
PAL’s parent company, PAL Holdings, suffered a net loss of 501 million pesos for the three months to June due to higher fuel costs and aircraft lease charges.


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.