By Joyce Pangco Pañares
NEW AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT REQUIRED
Durano, who joined President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s meeting with Russian tour operators at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, said a code share agreement would increase the arrival of Russian tourists in the country.
“PAL is planning to enter into a code share agreement with Russian airlines that have charter flights to Manila, in particular Transaero,” the tourism chief said in an interview after the luncheon meeting.
There are no direct flights between Russia and the Philippines until Moscow signs a new air services agreement between the two countries.
“We have already signed that agreement. We were informed the Russian government is likely to sign the air agreement in September. So the ball is now in their hands,” Durano said.
“But even without the new air agreement, PAL can still proceed with the code share arrangement because it is just a commercial agreement,” he added.
So far, only Aeroflot has been designated by the Russian government for direct flights to the Philippines but the airline has not signified interest to do so.
Durano said once the agreement is signed in September, the Philippines will ask the designation of Transaero, Vladivostok Asia and S7 (formerly Siberia Airlines).
Transaero, the second-largest Russian airline serving international routes, has charter flights to Cebu and Manila.
“This is what we are lobbying. These are the three airlines that we want to be designated by the Russian government,” Durano said.