RP, UAE expand flight frequencies

Written by Lenie Lectura
Business Mirror
Friday, 30 January 2009 01:41

THE Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed on Thursday to expand their flight frequencies, an official of the Philippine air panel said.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla, in a text message, said there is a need to amend the air-services agreement between the Philippines and the UAE to service the growing demand for flights from the tourism and business sectors between the two countries.

The two-day air talks resulted in additional five flight frequencies a week to Manila from the current nine flights, said Arcilla. The current flights are broken down to five flights between Manila and Dubai and four between Manila and Abu Dhabi.

The Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) total entitlements are under code share with Emirates and Etihad, bringing up their weekly flights to 10 and eight, respectively.

From the current five, both panels agreed to add 42 weekly flights to Clark and with fifth-freedom rights. Fifth-freedom flight basically refers to the right to carry passengers from a carrier’s own country to a second country, and from that country to a third country.

Fifth freedom traffic rights on 14 weekly frequencies to and from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark were given to the two UAE airliners. Each one was granted seven weekly frequencies. Air Arabia was given 14 frequencies.

Meanwhile, flights to Cebu total 21 a week.

The Philippines was also granted 21 more flight frequencies to be used to other points other than Manila, Clark and Cebu.

An item in the Confidential Memorandum of Agreement signed following the conclusion of the air talks states that “in the case of the UAE, the two delegations agreed to allocate the above 42 additional weekly frequencies to and from Clark as follows: 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 1 to which Emirates Airlines is entitled to; 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 2 entitled to Etihad Airways; and, 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 3 allotted for Air Arabia.

“The delegations further agreed that the designated airlines of the UAE shall have the right to exercise full fifth freedom traffic rights only up to 14 weekly frequencies between any intermediate point or points and DMIA (Clark) only, and any point or points beyond, except Japan, the US and Canada.”

Arcilla led the Philippine air panel, with representatives from the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Trade, as well as from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark. It also includes representatives from PAL and Cebu Pacific for passenger carriers and PEAC for cargo carriers.

The UAE panel was composed of representatives of the UAE civil aviation authority and its designated carriers—the Dubai-based Emirates and the Abu Dhabi- based Etihad airlines.

Business groups earlier welcomed the aviation talks, saying this will enable businesses, particularly in the Philippines, to flourish while serving overseas Filipino workers.

Elizabeth Lee, chairman of the Management Association of the Philippines’ Trade and Industry Committee, had said the air talks is good news because “air travel serves as a vital medium for business.”

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