PAL, Gulf Air not keen on more Bahrain flights

Protest new ASA

By Lenie Lectura
April 22, 2010

FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is not interested in mounting flights to Bahrain even if the government’s air panel just recently concluded amending the air services agreement (ASA) between the Philippines and Bahrain.

A PAL executive pointed out that not even Gulf Air wants to fly to Bahrain given the many unutilized entitlements. “There is over capacity in Bahrain. There are so many flights between Manila and Bahrain. Gulf Air is not supporting the additional air entitlements. There is only one group that wants this and that is Bahrain Air,” said PAL president Jaime Bautista. Bahrain Air is the second flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The low-cost airline currently flies to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. It started operations in February 2008 and uses an Airbus A320 fleet.

On March 30, the Philippines and Bahrain amended the air pact between the countries. Under the new deal, four weekly flights to the Manila-Bahrain route were added. Of these new flights, three can only be utilized if there are corresponding flights that would be used in Clark, said Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla.

“Of the four, one entitlement was granted without any condition. The remaining three can be utilized only if these three entitlements will also be used in Clark,” said Arcilla.

The amended air pact with Bahrain brings to 54 the total number of flight entitlements with the Philippines. The Manila-Bahrain route now has 12 flight entitlements; seven flight entitlements to Cebu; 28 to Clark and seven to other points except Manila and Clark. “There is no need to add more rights in the Middle East. There are almost 70 weekly flights between Manila and the Middle East. All these have connecting flights to Europe. If this trend continues, we will not be able to fly to Europe anymore,” said the PAL official. The company discontinued flying to European destinations in the 1980s.

The flag carrier, however, is interested to fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia; Bombay in India, and a new route in China. “Cambodia has many tourist that in the Philippines. The market is for tourists. We would also want to fly to India via Bangkok but the Thailand government prohibits us to pick up passengers there, citing 5th freedom rights. We are now doing the ground works before we seek the assistance of the CAB to talk to its counterpart in Bangkok,” said Bautista.

The CAB is part of the Philippine air panel which negotiates for traffic rights with other countries.

The Philippine air panel is composed of officials from the departments of Transportation and Communications, Foreign Affairs, Tourism, and Trade and Industry, the CAB and representatives of the airline firms.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the writeup. I definitely agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my brother so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!
    Flights to Doha