Adds Clark as cargo gateway.
Bandar Seri Begawan - The Philippines and Brunei ended its air talks successfully with 2 additional entitlements agreed between the two countries.
Under the new bilateral agreement, CAB Deputy Director Porvenir Porciuncula of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said that a new flight entitlement is also provided for the Brunei-Clark route. The route will be for all cargo service.
The previous air pact between the Philippines and Brunei allowed 7 weekly flights that could take off or arrive in either Manila or Cebu airports.
Before the amendment, both countries allowed 5 flights to and from Manila and Bandar Seri Begawan with 2 flight entitlement to Cebu. But only Royal Brunie Airlines fly the sky 5 times a week on code share agreement with Philippine Airlines. Both airlines are entitled to a total of 10 flights a week leaving other operators with only 2 option for the route.
The CAB Executive Director said budget carriers Cebu Pacific and Zest Air have expressed interest to mount the two additional flights to Brunei from Manila. It however have the luxury of choosing connections from Cebu as Philippine flag carrier.
In an interview, Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific Air said it is considering mounting flights to Brunei. "We welcome the developments in the Philippine-Brunei air talks. We are looking into Brunei as one of our options in our route network expansion," Cebu Pacific Vice-President for Marketing and Product Candice A. Iyog said.
Zest Airways however said that it is still studying whether to mount flights to Brunei. "We still have to look at it and study. We have to check if the traffic will justify Zest mounting flights to Brunei," Donald G. Dee, Zest Airways chairman, said.
The CAB panel considered that only 5 flights of the 7 previous ones were actively utilized. Most of the time, the 5 regular weekly flights were coursed through Manila airport. He noted that the extra 2 entitlements were only "used if the load factor of 65 percent is achieved."
Under the new air deal, Manila flights were increased to 7 a week with Cebu, given its own entitlements of 2x a week service. For cargo, the Philippines and Brunei can use seven flights a week either from Manila, Cebu, or Clark. The new agreement also allowed for two airline designations of each country. "Now, we are allowed to field up to two carriers," Porciuncula said.
After Brunei, the Philippine air panel will hold similar talks with Singapore in May this year. The new agreement is the sixth air deal of the country this year. CAB recently amended its services agreement with UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Australia as the latest.