My Airline Career: Interview with Capt. Tony Halagueña (Part1)

Download PDF


Aviair Aviation’s founder and flight school director, Capt.Tony Halagueña, has had a stellar airline career and over 22,000 flying hours. Before starting his own flight school in the Philippines he was an airline chief pilot and Airbus 320 flight simulator instructor. His extensive experience as a commercial airline pilot brought him to different routes in Asia, Europe, and North America working for four different airlines based in three different countries. Since marrying his wife Trixie, herself a former flight purser, he has also been part of a legacy of flight that is now three generations strong: Trixie is the daughter of World War II aviator and Philippine Airlines commercial pilot Capt. O.D. Ramos+ while the Halagueñas’ daughter Andrea is an Airbus 320 First Officer (F/O) for an Asian airline; two sons are Aviair Aviation School graduates and are currently Airbus pilot trainees.

We asked Capt. Halagueña what lessons and stories he can recall from his long career in aviation. Working his way from turbo prop first officer and captain to systems engineer (on the Boeing B747-200) to first officer (Boeing B747-400), he then became an Airbus 340 and Airbus 320 captain and chief pilot. He also candidly shares his journey from flying a small turbo propeller to his stint flying jumbo jets for international airlines.

Flying Advice for Pilots

What advice does an experienced aviator like Capt. Halagueña have for those who want to enter the flying profession? He gives simple but important pieces of advice: “Prepare your mind and body.  Study your flight route and runway in advance. Sleep early, avoid vices, and prioritize your health.”

A Pilot’s First Time

Capt. Halagueña began flying as a commercial airline pilot for Philippine Airlines in 1975. He says: “I started my flying career with a Hawker Siddley. I moved on to different Boeing aircraft and then eventually became an Airbus 320 captain. On my very first flight I was a co-pilot in 1975 and we flew from Manila to Caoayan in Ilocos Sur. I wasn’t able to sleep the night before because I was so excited. One pilot told me to drink black coffee without sugar before the flight so that I wouldn’t fall asleep inflight. I followed his advice, but during the flight I kept throwing up because I wasn’t used to having coffee in my stomach.”

The Pilot in Command

“Another memorable flight I had was when I was already a captain. This time I was the boss inside the plane and I didn’t have to laugh at the corny jokes of the captain. I was now the captain.”  Capt. Halagueña adds, “I’ve had many great flying memories over three decades.”




Aviair Aviation is a CAAP-approved flying school/training organization in Manila, Philippines with flight training in Plaridel, Bulacan. Email Capt. Halagueña and Team Aviair for aviation questions and flying career advice: fly(at)aviairaviation(dot)com.