Manila is still close for Open Skies with Singapore
Opens Clark instead
* 11,200 seats between Manila and Singapore;
* 10,000 seats between Clark and Subic free-airports to Singapore;
* 5,000 seats between Cebu and Davao cities to Singapore.
Mr. Porciuncula said that their counterpart in Singapore wanted the early implementation of the Open Skies Agreement between the two state capitals but the Philippines declined to open Manila borders further this time considering the limitations of NAIA airport in Manila.
The Philippines was however able to grant more frequency to Manila-Clark with extra spices for 5th landing freedom rights to almost all destinations except Canada and the United States.
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport Deputy-Secretary (international) Lee Yuen Hee, who led the Singapore team in the negotiations, said that “The expanded agreement between Singapore and the Philippines demonstrates the commitment of both countries to develop closer aviation ties. The increased air services would further promote people-to-people ties, boost tourism and enhance bilateral economic relations.”
Lee Yuen Hee further said that “This is no mean feat considering the decline of 2.2 per cent in international passenger traffic across the Asia-Pacific region.”
Meanwhile, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano announced that the granting of 10,000 weekly seats, or the equivalent of 50 flights per week and with Fifth Freedom Rights privilege equivalent to 14 flights per week will make Manila-Clark (DMIA) a future hub of Singapore registered carriers.
Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Silk Air, and its low cost subsidiary Tiger Airways together with Value Air and Jetstar Asia, a low cost Qantas subsidiary operates businesses in Singapore’s Changi Airport.
Currently, no Singapore based airline flies out of Manila-Clark as most of them operate from Manila, and points in Cebu and Davao. Only Philippine based Cebu Pacific flies to Singapore from Manila-Clark.
Luciano stressed that at the rate of 14 flights per week for a start, “They can go from Singapore, to Clark and onward to Japan, Europe, the Middle East, China and beyond, a development which boosts the DMIA’s position to being the premier gateway of the country as envisioned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
"The results of the air consultation talks were based mainly on the demand of RP and Singaporean carriers to add more services. For travellers, this should result in more choices and hopefully, lower fares," Mr. Porciuncula said.
Under the new agreement, Singapore carriers will be able to fly an additional 16 weekly Airbus 320 services to and from Manila. The same entitlements have been accorded to Philippine carriers.
Mr. Porciuncula explained further those local carriers, namely: Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air, have already expressed interest in adding more flights, while Zest Airways also plans to mount flights to Singapore.
Philippine Airlines now flies 20 times a week between Manila and Singapore. A spokesman said the company would not comment until it receives the report of its representative in the air talks. But a company official said they intend to take 7 of the new flight entitlements equivalent to a new daily frequency.
Cebu Pacific Vice-President for marketing distribution Candice A. Iyog said that they are looking forward for a thrice-daily Manila-Singapore service from the current 18 weekly flights. They also intend to make a daily Cebu-Singapore service for the upcoming peak season and reintroduce Davao-Singapore service again.
Zest Airways President Alfredo M. Yao said in a phone interview confirming that they are applying for Manila-Singapore flights but waits for its delegates to decide on the frequency.
Singapore Airlines (SIA), which currently services the Singapore-Manila market three times a day, using the bigger Boeing 777s announced that it will take coefficient equivalent to additional daily flight while subsidiary Tiger Airways will restart Singapore-Clark-Bangkok and Hong Kong flights. Silkair will also double its flights to Cebu and Davao by serving daily flights to both Cities this year.
Mr Leslie Ng, who heads Jetstar's commercial division, said the airline, which has a daily flight to Manila, is keen to increase frequency. He said: 'Demand is strong on the route, so we are definitely looking to mount a second daily flight.'
With the expanded air agreement, both Jetstar and Tiger Airways said they would consider any new opportunities that come along.Currently, airlines on both sides together operate more than 100 weekly services between the two countries, maximizing the number of flights allowed under the previous air deal which was signed in August 2001.
Traffic between the Philippines and Singapore has grown by an average of 17 per cent annually since 2004. Despite the global economic and traffic downturn, traffic grew last year by 12 per cent.