The government hopes to expand existing bilateral air agreements with at least six countries and sign a new air-transport deal with the Maldives this year, in response to the request of local airlines for more entitlements to support their ongoing expansion initiatives, according to the chief of the air-services regulator.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said his group is looking to expand the Philippines’s air-services agreements with Canada, India, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Australia.
The Maldives would also like to craft an agreement with the Philippines, so its carriers may launch flights to the Southeast Asian nation.
“We need more traffic rights to these countries because of the expansion of our airlines. The Maldives, on the other hand, is reaching out to us for bilateral talks,” Arcilla told the BusinessMirror.
Under the existing air-services agreement with Canada, Philippine carriers are allowed to operate 14 weekly flights to any point in Canada. The same goes with any Canadian carrier that wants to fly to the Philippines. The last time that the agreement was updated was in May 2014.
For India, Filipino carriers are allowed to fly to New Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata and Chenai for seven days a week. It was last updated in July 2005.
Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines, according to its president, Jaime J. Bautista, is interested in relaunching its New Delhi flights sometime in the second half of 2018.
Coefficients for the Manila-Hong Kong route was at 30,000 seats per week. The air-services agreement was last updated in October 2014.
The agreement with Papua New Guinea, last updated in August 2011, allows carriers to fly between Manila and Port Moresby for only 760 seats per week.
For Japan, there are only 14 weekly flights available for Philippine carriers that want to fly between Manila and Tokyo (Haneda International Airport). All of these are held by the flag carrier.
Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia have been asking the regulatory body to launch air talks to expand the said agreement for a few years now. Haneda Airport is the closest airport to Tokyo.
The Philippines-Australia air-services agreement allows Philippine carriers to fly between airports in the Philippines and Australia with 9,300 seats per week.
There is no existing bilateral agreement with the Maldives.
“These are the countries that need additional entitlements because we do not have enough to cover the needs of our airlines,” Arcilla explained.
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