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High-flying son-in-law

/ 04:54 AM December 12, 2014

A high-flying son-in-law of a local airline magnate supposedly caused a recent Manila-Hong Kong flight full of Pacquiao fans (en route to the boxing champ’s fight in nearby Macau) to be delayed by almost two hours.

“Totally outrageous,” complained one passenger on the flight.

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Perhaps they should learn a lesson or two from Heather Cho, the embattled daughter of Korean Airlines chair Cho Yang-ho. Cho reportedly caused an 11-minute delay in a recent New York-Incheon flight for demanding that the plane be turned around to offload a member of the flight crew who incorrectly served her nuts in a bag instead of in a bowl. She has since resigned as vice president of the Korean national carrier. The airline’s contrite management, led by its chair, also issued formal apologies and promised a full-blown investigation of the incident.

In contrast, this Philippine carrier and the owner’s now (in)famous son-in-law has neither apologized nor even issued a single statement over the delayed Manila-Hong Kong fiasco. Irate passengers claimed that the flight was delayed significantly after the son-in-law allegedly interceded and made the aircraft wait for a passenger—his friend—who was running late. Making matters worse for the hundreds of Pacquiao fans en route to Macau via Hong Kong to watch the Pacman-Algieri fight, the long delay caused major headaches with the changes in their hotel bookings due to the resulting late check-ins.

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With no apologies forthcoming from the airline, angry passengers are reportedly contemplating on bringing the matter to the attention of local airline regulators. But our advise to those passengers is just to grin and bear it. In short, inconvenienced passengers should just do a J.C.—Just Chill. Daxim L. Lucas

Clipped wings

But wait. There’s more. It seems this airline magnate isn’t taking things sitting down, after all. Upon hearing of the attacks against his son-in-law and prized airline cropping up all over the press, the chair reportedly caused the dissolution of the company’s two vice chair positions.

In fact, for quite some time now, the airline magnate has reportedly been annoyed by the creation of two extra board positions sans his knowledge.

One of these posts, according to our sources, was appropriated by the son-in-law for himself.

Now, aside from his removal as vice chair, sources say the son-in-law’s other positions in key airline committees, including the entire conglomerate, are under review. For more J.C.—Juicier Chismis, that is—watch this space. Daxim L. Lucas

X goes to SG

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In line with its aspiration toward regional expansion, newly listed consumer IT firm Xurpas Inc. acquired a 21.7-percent stake in Altitude Games PTE Ltd., a Singaporean IT company in the business of mobile games development and publishing.

The transaction gives Xurpas 24.7-million shares at a par value of $0.03 per share.

Under the terms of the deal, Xurpas will have exclusive South East Asian distribution rights to Altitude’s games, beginning with the critically acclaimed Run Run Super V launched locally this December.

Xurpas expects Altitude Games to boost its portfolio of mobile content and services, specifically in the development of gaming applications. To date, casual games is considered one of company’s key growth drivers.

Altitude Games, built by veterans of the Southeast Asian game industry, had worked on games that have been downloaded more than 10 million times worldwide over mobile, PC, Mac and console device.

“We are happy to take part in bringing forth world class content to the rest of the region. We have so much rich and creative content locally and with Xurpas’ reach and expertise in distribution we plan to harness these and serve as an enabler to get these to a wider market,” said Nico Jose Nolledo, Xurpas president & chief executive officer. Doris C. Dumlao

No contact policy

if tollroad operator Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) expects to be in the loop when it comes to the drafting of the terms of reference (TOR) for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) price challenge, then it’s in for another disappointment.

The state-controlled Bases Development Conversion Authority has adopted a “no contact policy,” citing the need to preserve the integrity of the process and to ensure that nobody will be able to influence the final terms.

This is amid reports that MNTC is seeking to meet with the BCDA to immediately discuss the necessary amendment to the agreement, as well as the SCTEx price challenge terms before the TOR is released.

For the good of everyone—including MNTC itself—BCDA president Arnel Casanova yesterday said that his agency could not talk to anyone outside the price challenge process.

“It’s also for their own good should they win or if there are no other challenger,” he said, noting that other parties would otherwise think that MNTC was influencing the entire scheme.

At the sidelines of the ground-breaking ceremonies for Bonifacio Summit Center yesterday, Casanova assured that MNTC had nothing to fear about terms being suddenly modified, noting that what was being challenged was only the upfront cash that the prospective SCTEx partner would have to pay to government for the right to take over the tollroad concession.

Whatever relevant provisions were agreed upon with the MNTC under the proposed contract, which Malacañang had ordered to be subjected to a competitive price challenge, would remain the same.

“We made the process very simple,” he said.

But if MNTC decides to bring this to court, Casanova is confident that BCDA could hold its ground.

“We have not done anything that will provide them any course of action to go to court. It’s the transparency and integrity of the process that we’re adopting,” he said. Doris C. Dumlao

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Business, Cho Yang-ho, economy, Korean Airlines, Manny Pacquiao, News, PAL
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