NATS UK Bags NAIA Optimization Project

1 September 2015

After two failed bidding's due to unreasonably low contract offer, NATS UK finally was offered consultancy contract by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) after series of negotiations and watered down work provisions, to help ease air traffic congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

DOTC said three (3) international firms vied for the contract which included Mitre Corporation of the United States, NATS Ltd of the United Kingdom, and Copenhagen Airport A/S of Denmark.

The 91.4 million pesos NAIA Runway Optimization project was broken into two parts after bidders tendered in excess of 100 million.

The new NAIA Runway Optimization project phase one (short term) costing only P66 million was awarded to NATS Services Limited and Schema Konsult Inc., with the aims of increasing hourly air traffic movements (ATM) from 40 to 60 by determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways.

Under the 12-month contract, the group will be tasked to increase hourly air traffic movements (ATMs) to 60 from 40 by determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways.

According to UK-based NATS Ltd. representatives, it is possible to increase the capacity of the existing NAIA runway to between 50 and 60 movements per hour from the current 40 movements per hour, similar to what they did at Singapore, Hongkong, and London's Heathrow airport.

In the first six months of the 12-month contract, NATS will evaluate the airport’s current airspace, runway, and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points; and ATC training and recommends ground movements and approach and departure patterns at the airport.

Over the next six months, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will then implement the recommended improvement measures over the ensuing six months.

The road map for short- and long-term improvements (phase 2) will focus on the optimization of runway capacity by cutting aircrafts’ occupancy times; developing air traffic controllers’ (ATC) surveillance capabilities through technology and determining needed alterations to access points; and maximization of available airspace by reducing restrictions and making procedural improvements to tighten intervals between aircraft movements.

“We are excited to work with one of the world’s best firms in the industry towards optimizing NAIA’s runway capacity. With NATS, which has worked on the Dubai, Singapore, and Heathrow Airports, we can expect safer, more efficient operations, and much less flight delays and cancellations,” Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya said in a statement Monday.

NATS UK provides air traffic navigation services to London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports.

Secrets of UAE Negotiation Revealed

1 September 2015 

By Federico D. Pascual Jr.

Veiled threats
Last Thursday, the UAE chief negotiator, Omar bin Ghaleb, opened the air talks by castigating the Philippine panel. He poured out his disappointment over seeing “joint statements” in the newspapers issued by the major Filipino airlines.

This has never happened before, he told the Philippine panel, threatening to report the affront to his superiors in Abu Dhabi.

The Philippine chief negotiator, DoTC Undersecretary Jose Lotilla, replied that the Philippines is a free country with a free press, and that the government cannot restrict citizens, including airlines, from making statements. Needless to say, the opinion of Filipino airlines is not necessarily shared by the government.

Throwing in more veiled threats, the UAE negotiators mentioned the thousands of Filipinos employed by UAE airlines, as well as overseas Filipino workers in the UAE (one official said there were 900,000, while another one claimed “millions”).

That did not go well with the Philippine side, as some felt the UAE was threatening to stop or slow down hiring of OFWs if their demands were not granted.

(Hint from history: Some years back, the UAE booted out Canadian soldiers from one of their military bases after Canada refused to accede to the demand of Emirates Airlines for more entitlements to Canada.)

What exactly does UAE want?

THE UAE was demanding more flights to Manila than just the 14 flights per week usually cited in the media, even as high as 28 to 56 additional flights per week.

The discussions dragged on to almost midnight, with UAE holding out for more flights than the seven that the Philippines was prepared to give (and finally gave).

But the foreign airlines resisted the condition proposed by the Philippines that UAE airlines must also fly directly to Clark or Cebu as a price to pay for receiving and using new entitlements to serve Manila.

The UAE’s reluctance led to the watering down of the Cebu/Clark condition. Now the UAE airlines, such as Emirates or Etihad, have one year to meet this condition. They also demanded a chance to postpone this further if they present valid reasons.

Why did the Philippine side accept this weakening of a core pro-Filipino position?

Was it too willing to close a deal with UAE at any cost? The panel owes the people an explanation.

Etihad Airlines (the UAE flag carrier based in the capital, Abu Dhabi) walked out at one point. It was sore that the Philippines seemed to be favoring Emirates, its chief rival and fellow UAE carrier. Etihad returned to the table that same day.

It seems the UAE government promised to split any new entitlements more or less equally between Etihad and Emirates. The final split appears to be four for Emirates and three for Etihad.

Why does Emirates get the upper hand? Did not the CAB rebuke them in late 2013 and early 2014 for operating illegal flights to Manila without the express approval of the board, slapping it a fine of more than P1 million for the deception?

Curious sidelights

Philippine carriers (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air/Air Asia) are rivals, but they were so distressed over developments that they issued together an ultimatum to protest the Philippine panel’s willingness to give in to some UAE demands.

After this show of force by the local airlines, the Philippine panel somehow displayed a little more backbone and started pushing back UAE. Were it not for this, the final agreement would have been more detrimental to the national interest.

Note that Zest/Air Asia did not join Cebu Pacific and PAL when they issued joint statements before the negotiations. But the goings-on in the talks must have been so bad that Zest/Air Asia felt compelled to stand with its two biggest rivals.

The seating arrangement itself was suggestive. Filipino airlines were assigned seats on the periphery of the meeting room, while government officials (DoTC, CAB, DoT, DFA and DTI) occupied the main table on the Philippine side.

In contrast, at the main UAE table Emirates and Etihad sat on the right and left flanks of the chief negotiator and members of the UAE, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah government authorities for civil aviation.

The agency with the most number of representatives, after the Civil Aeronautics Board (whose staff handled secretariat functions), was the Department of Tourism that had at least five reps. Reward for bringing in less than 20,000 Emirati tourists last year?

It was revealed that Cebu Pacific was kicked out of Dubai airport for two months in 2014, when one of the runways needed repairs. While CebuPac was forced to use neighboring Sharjah airport, Emirates was not required to transfer its Dubai-Manila flights to Sharjah.

PH Grants 7 More Flights To UAE

Emirates Required To Fly CEB or CRK

29 August 2015

UAE-based airlines did not get its wish but Emirates Airlines was granted another seven flights a week between Manila and Dubai, regulator said Friday.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said flights between the UAE and Manila will see a 25 percent increase soon after the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates concluded two-day talks in Manila agreeing to increase air traffic rights between the two countries from the current 28 weekly flights to 35 from each side.

“The parties agreed to increase the maximum number of flights per week for each country from the current 28 flights to 35,” Carmelo Arcilla, CAB Executive Director said.

The Catch
There is however a condition to fly the next seven entitlements out of Manila, that is for Emirates to fly separate flights to either Clark or Cebu within one year after the signing of the amended Air Services Agreement.

“The Philippine panel imposed a condition that the UAE carrier operating such additional flights to Manila is bound to also operate separately to Clark or Cebu within one year from signing of the Memorandum of Understanding,” says Arcilla.

CAB said Emirates will automatically lose the right to continue its third flight if it doesn't fly Cebu or Clark within one year.

A similar condition was attached to the ASA expansion with Qatar, requiring also Qatar Airways to fly either Clark or Cebu, which the Doha-based airline is already doing.

Arcilla said the condition to diversify the routes and extend it to the international airports in Clark or Cebu is in line with the Philippines’ "open skies" policy.

CAB said the purpose of the condition was to force UAE-based airlines to invest in developmental gateways outside Manila.
Fifth-freedom Rights
The expanded bilateral agreement also lifted earlier restriction to fly fifth freedom traffic rights to the UK, US and Saudi Arabia enabling Philippine-based carriers to carry passengers from Dubai to London.

“This means that our carriers can fly from Manila to the UAE and onward to any country including the UK, US and Saudia Arabia. This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE,” Arcilla said.

The lifting of restriction to Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom was earlier proposed by Philippine Airlines which intend to grow its Dubai hub by flying onward passengers to Saudi Arabia, and enter code share flights with Etihad Airlines from Abu Dhabi to London and Manila.

“The Philippine government panel and our airlines view the exchange as more or less fair, as the increase in traffic rights for both sides, which our airlines opposed, is minimal, and we also got unilateral concessions for the increase, in terms of subjecting the operation of the additional traffic rights by the UAE carriers, on the operation of services to Clark or Cebu,” Arcilla said.

UK, Saudi Arabia restriction lifted
With the lifting of the UK restrictions, Philippine carriers already has fifth freedom rights to fly all destinations in Europe and Saudi Arabia from the UAE.

Cebu Pacific is expected to get the new seven slots for a total of 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Italy, while Philippine Airlines (PAL) also has 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia and PAL Express 7 weekly flight entitlements, on the same route covered by Annex A.

"This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE," Arcilla said.

PAL President Jaime Bautista stated earlier that UAE-based carriers transported less than 30% of their total capacity to the UAE, with Philippine-based carriers ending to have transported more than their counterparts despite utilizing 21 frequencies from the other 28 frequencies of the gulf carriers.

Meanwhile, the negotiating panels also agreed on "co-terminalisation" propose by Emirates, which in aviation parlance means the right to serve two specified points on the same flight and route in the territory of a party to an air transport services agreement.

It literally means that Emirates Airlines can fly to Manila and then to Cebu from Dubai without getting passengers from Manila, and on its return flight pick up passengers in Cebu for Dubai and then picks up again passengers in Manila also for destination in Dubai.

PAL, CEB Carries More Passenger to UAE

28 August 2015

UAE-based Airlines carried less than 30% traffic
to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Image courtesy RAPPLER, Photo by Chris Schnabel

Philippine Airlines said Thursday that Philippine-based carriers transported more passengers to the United Arab Emirates than Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airlines and Dubai-based Emirates Airlines combined, says an airline executive.

PAL Chief Operating Officer and President Jaime Bautista said they have all the data to prove that Etihad and Emirates Airlines carried only less than 30% of its passengers going to the UAE while the rest of its passengers goes to other destinations.

"The figures that we got is that Emirates carries less than 30% of passengers who stay in the UAE. So around 70% of its passengers are those that fly beyond Dubai. The other carriers (referring to Etihad) are carrying passengers in the same percentages,” Baustista said.

“Going by those figures, it shows that PAL and Cebu Pacific (CEB) are actually carrying more passengers between the two countries so that’s why we think there is an overcapacity in that market,” he added.

Bautista said both PAL and CEB has already furnished the Philippine government regulators of the data to support their position that there was no capacity shortfall for the route. He added that both PAL and CEB passengers are those who travel between the two countries, while UAE carriers carry passengers beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"PAL, alongside Cebu Pacific, are operating only 21 per week. So it's a demonstration that the market cannot sustain additional demand." says Bautista.

The Air Service Agreement allowed 28 flights per week between Manila and the UAE and unlimited landing rights to select regional airports in the Philippines.

"If the market demand were strong, then we would fight each other (referring to CEB) for the additional 7," Bautista said.

He explained that their passengers data actually proves their position that there was no capacity shortfall to begin with otherwise they would have flown the unused 7 frequency.

Bautista added that additional entitlements could result in the dilution of the passenger loads in PAL's flights to London, and other proposed European destinations because these airlines can carry passengers from Manila to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, and extend it to Europe and the US, which is clearly a demonstration of abuse of air traffic rights.

Both PAL and CEB flies to Dubai 13 times a week as compared to 14 times a week by Emirates Airlines, while PAL flies 6 times a week to Abu Dhabi as compared to 14 times a week by Etihad Airlines.

PAL New Fleet Announced

Orders New Fleet of Bombardier Turboprops

28 August 2015

Range, efficiency for new mid-sized wide body
Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) announced yesterday that it will be adding up to eight wide-bodied aircraft to its fleet with new orders to be sealed this year after securing approval from PAL Board.

The company did not elaborate on the new aircraft type to be ordered but said they were choosing between Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner or Airbus A350-900 aircraft as their new fleet sub-type to replace the Airbus A340 which will be delivered to them as early as 2017.

"The Dreamliner and XWB will be contributing to savings in fuel, savings in maintenance and will allow us to improve our product because we can fly non-stop to more destinations," says PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista after the PAL Holdings, Inc.’s annual stockholders’ meeting at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.

Mr. Bautista however gave a hint on what airplane is closer to their hearts without saying further.

“Range is very important especially for non-stop flights. We want to be sure that these airlines will fly the destination that we’d like to reach. Secondly, we need to know the efficiency in terms of fuel,” Bautista said.

“There are good proposals from Airbus and Boeing but we are not yet ready to announce which airplane we will choose,” Mr. Bautista said.

The mid sized long haul fleet will service Europe, Canada, and the United States.

“The new jets would help the airline cut fuel and maintenance costs, its key expense item, while boosting its non-stop flights to the US and Europe from Manila” says Mr. Bautista.

According to the airline new destinations would be added to their route network and capacity expanded to existing ones after orders start arriving as early as 2017.

PAL earlier secured operating lease deals from Intrepid Aviation for two Boeing 777-300ERs to bolster its long-haul operations to the United States with delivery expected before the end of next year. Bautista did not disclosed delivery schedules.

“It will be very efficient if we operate the same types of plane.” he adds.

PAL also secured a concession from Airbus in 2014 relating to the non-delivery of five remaining 242t variant A330-300s which it cancels from the manufacturer's order book for something better and deferral of some of its A321 orders to a later date than previously signed.

Next Generation Q400's
PAL said it will replace five of its nine turboprop planes, leases of which are expiring next year, with more efficient next generation Q400s in 2016 to prop up its domestic operations.

“We are considering the same aircraft,” Mr. Bautista said.

PAL said it expects to take delivery of the new Bombardier turboprops one year after the order was placed by the aircraft lessor in 2014.

The airline currently operates a fleet of 5 DHC8-400s which are 15 years old, let from a Scandinavian lessor Nordic Aviation. It also operates 4 DHC8-300's, 3 of which were bought by the airline brand new in 2007, while the fourth was also let from the lessor firm.

“We have nine turboprop airplanes right now,” Mr. Bautista adds.

PAL intends to secure more orders from Bombardier for the next generation plane, either Q300's or Q400's, which caters 50-78 passengers this year.

The smaller planes will address the demand for flights servicing the country’s regional airports.

“We have more than 70 airports in the Philippines and we serve only around 30 of them,” he said.

More fun while it blasted

27 August 2015

By Conrado R. Banal III

Those UAE airlines flying to Manila–but not to any of other international airports in country such as Clark or Cebu or Davao—must be having a lot more fun in the Philippines.

Those airlines simply demanded that the Philippine government should give them 26 additional flights per week right smack in the middle of the air traffic-infested Manila airport, which would really be a blast to them, because these would be on top of the 28 flights per week that they have already been enjoying for the longest time.

From what I gathered, the Philippine aviation authorities seemed to be ready to give in to the onerous demands of those airlines, namely, Emirates Airlines of Dubai and Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi.

But of course the two Filipino airlines flying to the Middle East, flag carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, frowned upon the demand on the Philippine government made by those two foreign airlines.

If the Aquino (Part II) administration would give in to the pressure from those airlines, Emirates and Etihad would each have more than 25 flights per week to Manila, and the locals PAL and Cebu Pac reasoned that it would only mean certain death for them.

But surely the question would have to be, well, did our leader Benigno Simeon, aka BS, even know all about this deal happening behind his back?

Only a few months ago, the United Arab Emirates pushed for the new round of air talks with the Philippines, giving as their most compelling reason that the existing air agreement between the two countries was already obsolete being… well, two years old.

In the existing air agreement crafted in 2012, those two airlines, Emirates and Etihad, already succeeded in doubling their flight entitlements to the Manila airport, thus giving them 14 flights each.

And now, two years later, they want more!

In comparison, PAL had 14 flights per week to the Emirates, while Cebu Pacific had seven flights per week.

Anyway, our dearly beloved Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. revealed that the government would “give in”—his exact words—to the demand by the UAE government for the new talks, implying that it would be good for Philippine tourism.

But as it turned out recently, the Philippine government would not only be giving in to the holding of talks but also would be giving away all the flight entitlements that those two UAE airlines demanded.

And what would the local airlines get? Well, it seemed that the side of the local airlines happened to be not part of the main agenda in the new air talks. Talk about “reciprocity”!

Question: Did we ever have a pressing, matter-of-life-and-death need for the additional 28 flights of those UAE airlines to Manila?

As I said, at 14 flights per week each, the two UAE airlines already enjoyed 28 flights per week, while PAL and Cebu Pacific, together, had all of 21 flights per week.

Just how big the UAE market was and would ever be, perhaps could be gleamed from the official statistics supplied by that country, showing that the total population of the UAE happened to be all of 1.4 million people.

That was not even anywhere close to the estimated number of OFWs at more than 10 million already and still counting.

Thus the locals feared, and rightly so, that those new entitlements, if given by the administration to the foreign airlines, would only bleed the local carriers.

For one, the locals used their own capital, while based on reports abroad, those UAE airlines wallowed in government subsidies to the tune of $42 billion, in the form of cheap loans, cheap airport services and even outright cash.

Other governments, such as the US, Canada and Europe, already made a lot of noise over the subsidies enjoyed by those airlines from their government, with some NGOs even calling the $42-billion subsidy as just the “tip of the iceberg.”

European countries like the Netherlands, France and Germany already blocked the UAE airlines from getting new flights to any of their areas, because subsidies would make it easy for the UAE airlines to steal customers from other airlines.

Notice that the subsidized Middle East airlines already became so dominant in the Europe-Asia Pacific routes that most European carriers abandoned direct flights on those routes a long time ago.

Like it or not, subsidies would never be good for competition. In the case of the Philippine carriers, the Middle East and European routes were the virtual monopolies of Emirates and Etihad. PAL and Cebu Pacific only started to go on those routes only two years ago. The result was immediate cutting down of rates.

That was the biggest reason that the local carriers had to oppose the Aquino (Part II) administration’s grant of flight entitlements to the UAE airlines, because it would be unfair subsidized competition.

The last time I checked, monopoly was not good for competition; it would thus be criminal to burden our OFWs this way.

Manila-Clark Still Wide Open To Emirates

Says Clark Airport CEO

27 August 2015

For Emigdio Tanjuatco III, President and Chief Executive Officer of the state-run Clark International Airport Authority, he cannot understand why Emirates Airline (UAE) insists on flying the already congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila when Clark International Airport which he manage is wide open for business.

Clark International Airport continues to struggle attracting passenger traffic after Emirates terminated its flight there.

Emirates Airlines had daily flights from the Clark airport to Dubai until it pulled out in 2013 and transferred operations to Manila when they entered code-sharing flight with Philippine Airlines. The agreement has since been abrogated and the extra flight barred by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

“The new talks is already detrimental to the country’s aviation industry. Yet we are open here in Clark and they have entitlements to fly here.” says Tanjuatco.

Tanjuatco said the new talks with the United Arab Emirates gives for naught the entitlement of other regional airports in the Philippines which allows the airline to operate without violating the existing bilateral, referring to the Air Services Agreement that is currently negotiated today in Manila, with the support of the Department of Tourism.

Emirates Airlines is permitted unlimited flights to Clark and Cebu from Dubai while it allowed only 14 flights a week to Manila.

“That was exactly the intent. To funnel excess traffic to us, but the expansion has the effect of reversing that rule. ” Tanjautco adds.

Tanjuatco said Emirates should just instead use the rights to fly other airports in the Philippines like Qatar Airlines and other Korea-based airlines did and develop the market, if they were genuinely interested about the economy and overseas Filipino market, instead of getting perception that they are trying to kill competition by flooding Dubai market.

Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flies Manila to Dubai and sees new entitlements as distortions to market capacity considering that PAL has yet to utilize all its entitlement to the United Arab Emirates.

According to PAL there are still more than 2,000 seats per week vacant to address that growth and service OFW flights. Emirates however has used all its entitlement to Manila.

Emirates said Wednesday in a statement that the added capacity would be helpful to Filipinos working and traveling overseas.

“The upcoming bilateral talks and the restoration of Emirates’ third daily flight are all in the best interest of the Philippine economy, tourism as well as that of millions of Filipino travelers,” said Barry Brown, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for commercial operations in the Far East & Australasia region.

“The intent is good but our economy and the OFW market is not centered on Manila market alone. Majority of the OFW travelers are coming from outside of Metro Manila.” adds Tanjuatco.

Emirates Airline is the first foreign airline in Clark airport to fly long haul to Dubai.

The UAE Science

25 August 2015

What fuels the United Arab Emirates Market?

Emirates Airlines said Thursday last week the revival of third daily flights between Manila and Dubai will  be beneficial to overseas Filipino workers and tourists.

“Since the removal of the third daily flight, Emirates’ two daily flights on the Dubai-Manila route have been operating at 100 percent capacity in economy class on most  of the flights – with no seats left for international tourists and overseas Filipino workers,” Emirates said in a statement.

Emirates Philippines Country Manager Abdalla Al Zamani said that there is a “significant gap between the supply and demand for seats” in the Manila-Dubai route.

“Taking this into consideration, we are confident that the  restoration of Emirates’ third daily flight to Manila will ensure widespread and sustained benefits to all stakeholders,” Zamnani said.

Emirates’ said its commitment to the Dubai-Manila route has been a catalyst for growth in the UAE-Philippine bilateral trade and tourism to the Philippines for the last 25 years.

The UAE airline has lobbied the Tourism Department and has been successful to asked President Aquino to authorize Philippine panel to meet their counterparts to start air-services talks with the aim of expanding the capacity and meet the demand to the objection of local carriers.

But does Emirates really cater to Dubai-Manila route alone?

Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) doesn't think so at it opposed new talks expected to be negotiated in August 27-28 in Manila after talks in January was postponed.

This time around though, both the government of the Philippines and the UAE have decided to proceed with air talk negotiations despite protest of the local carriers upon the support of the Tourism Department.

Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific has argued that the added capacity was not needed as the Philippines hasn't utilized all its entitlement to the UAE. Further, it is only the Dubai-based airline that wanted bilateral expansion. Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi has code share relationships with Philippine Airlines.

“We call on the Philippine panel to the Philippine-UAE air talks to refrain from giving Mid-East carriers undue advantage by granting more capacity and frequency beyond what the market requires,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said.

Cebu Pacific echoed Mr. Bautista's sentiment.

“Given the significant increase in capacity over the past year, Cebu Pacific believes that a new round of air talks with the UAE should not be held until all available Manila-use entitlements are fully utilized by Philippine carriers who are ready, willing and capable of operating routes to UAE,” says Atty. Paterno Mantaring Jr, Officer-in-Charge of Cebu Pacific corporate affairs.

Air Service Agreement (ASA) between the two countries authorized their respective carriers to fly 28 flights a week between Manila and Dubai/ Abu Dhabi and unlimited rights to regional airports.

While UAE-based carriers has flown all allotted slots, the Philippines flew only 21 of said entitlements with 7 slots belonging to PAL Express not utilized.

“We hope our own government will promote fair competition and support our airlines who have invested much in re-establishing air links to the Middle East and Europe,” says Bautista.

"Should the UAE airlines get the additional entitlements they seek during the coming Philippine-UAE air talks, this will undermine the investments PAL and other airlines have made for the country in opening new routes to serve Philippine tourism and overseas Filipino workers," Bautista adds.

PAL's routes to Europe, Middle East and the US are at risk once UAE secures increased frequencies to Manila he said.

Bautista cannot understand why Emirates insists on flying to Manila when it can launch Clark and Cebu instead in growing its Philippine operations as these airports has no restrictions. 

In 2014, Emirates Airlines cancelled its Dubai-Clark route in anticipation of receiving a third entitlements at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but the agreement with PAL was objected by Cebu Pacific prompting the Civil Aeronautical Board to cancel the deal but Emirates continued selling tickets beyond the summer season that in December 2014 it penalized the airline for selling tickets without prior authorization and it also cancelled the third flights which already exceeded their weekly maximum entitlement

Philippine Airlines was very vocal on the unfair practices employed by Emirates disguising tourism traffic from sixth and seven rights abuses for destinations to Europe.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has been very vocal about expanding the UAE entitlements for tourism and business reasons.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the pursuit of air talks is in line with the government’s objective of increasing tourist arrivals from the middle east.

But data from the DOT does not support such claims as most tourism traffic growth are coming from South Korea, United States, Japan, and China. If at all, more entitlements should be negotiated in this countries according to Bautista. 

While International commercial air traffic soared by 28 percent during the first quarter of the year, these are mostly attributed to entries of other airlines Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, as well as Chinese and Korean carriers. Foreign carriers, grew by an unprecedented 47 percent, to 2.8 million passengers from 1.91 million passengers in the first quarter of 2015.