PH Grants 7 More Flights To UAE

Emirates Required To Fly CEB or CRK

29 August 2015

UAE-based airlines did not get its wish but Emirates Airlines was granted another seven flights a week between Manila and Dubai, regulator said Friday.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said flights between the UAE and Manila will see a 25 percent increase soon after the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates concluded two-day talks in Manila agreeing to increase air traffic rights between the two countries from the current 28 weekly flights to 35 from each side.

“The parties agreed to increase the maximum number of flights per week for each country from the current 28 flights to 35,” Carmelo Arcilla, CAB Executive Director said.

The Catch
There is however a condition to fly the next seven entitlements out of Manila, that is for Emirates to fly separate flights to either Clark or Cebu within one year after the signing of the amended Air Services Agreement.

“The Philippine panel imposed a condition that the UAE carrier operating such additional flights to Manila is bound to also operate separately to Clark or Cebu within one year from signing of the Memorandum of Understanding,” says Arcilla.

CAB said Emirates will automatically lose the right to continue its third flight if it doesn't fly Cebu or Clark within one year.

A similar condition was attached to the ASA expansion with Qatar, requiring also Qatar Airways to fly either Clark or Cebu, which the Doha-based airline is already doing.

Arcilla said the condition to diversify the routes and extend it to the international airports in Clark or Cebu is in line with the Philippines’ "open skies" policy.

CAB said the purpose of the condition was to force UAE-based airlines to invest in developmental gateways outside Manila.
Fifth-freedom Rights
The expanded bilateral agreement also lifted earlier restriction to fly fifth freedom traffic rights to the UK, US and Saudi Arabia enabling Philippine-based carriers to carry passengers from Dubai to London.

“This means that our carriers can fly from Manila to the UAE and onward to any country including the UK, US and Saudia Arabia. This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE,” Arcilla said.

The lifting of restriction to Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom was earlier proposed by Philippine Airlines which intend to grow its Dubai hub by flying onward passengers to Saudi Arabia, and enter code share flights with Etihad Airlines from Abu Dhabi to London and Manila.

“The Philippine government panel and our airlines view the exchange as more or less fair, as the increase in traffic rights for both sides, which our airlines opposed, is minimal, and we also got unilateral concessions for the increase, in terms of subjecting the operation of the additional traffic rights by the UAE carriers, on the operation of services to Clark or Cebu,” Arcilla said.

UK, Saudi Arabia restriction lifted
With the lifting of the UK restrictions, Philippine carriers already has fifth freedom rights to fly all destinations in Europe and Saudi Arabia from the UAE.

Cebu Pacific is expected to get the new seven slots for a total of 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Italy, while Philippine Airlines (PAL) also has 14 weekly flight entitlements, with plan extensions to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia and PAL Express 7 weekly flight entitlements, on the same route covered by Annex A.

"This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE," Arcilla said.

PAL President Jaime Bautista stated earlier that UAE-based carriers transported less than 30% of their total capacity to the UAE, with Philippine-based carriers ending to have transported more than their counterparts despite utilizing 21 frequencies from the other 28 frequencies of the gulf carriers.

Meanwhile, the negotiating panels also agreed on "co-terminalisation" propose by Emirates, which in aviation parlance means the right to serve two specified points on the same flight and route in the territory of a party to an air transport services agreement.

It literally means that Emirates Airlines can fly to Manila and then to Cebu from Dubai without getting passengers from Manila, and on its return flight pick up passengers in Cebu for Dubai and then picks up again passengers in Manila also for destination in Dubai.

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