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12 April 2010

Philippines: Aviation deals sought with Korea, Singapore

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The Philippines will seek additional air rights to neighboring Asia-Pacific countries as local airlines plan to expand their international operations, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Deputy Executive Director Porvenir Porciuncula said the Philippine air panel was scheduled to meet with its counterparts from South Korea and Singapore next month to strike a new deal for more flights.

“We are scheduled to have negotiations with both Singapore and Korea this May. Based on the previous air rights deal we signed with both countries last year, we now have to host the Singapore panel here, and it’s Korea’s turn to host us in Seoul,” he said in a recent interview.

Last month, the Philippines signed its first new air deal for the year with Bahrain for more flights between the two countries.

Porciuncula said two local airlines—Gokongwei-led budget carrier Cebu Pacific and Zest Airways of juice magnate Alfred Yao—have both expressed interest in mounting additional flights to South Korea and Singapore.

Both airlines have been very aggressive in their expansion plans, Porciuncula said, with each constantly looking for new routes to tap.

Last year, the Philippine air panel—made up of officials from the Departments of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and Tourism—was able to sign new air agreements with Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Oman.

Striking air deals with other countries, especially those which host a large number of overseas Filipino workers, has been one of the strategies of the current administration aimed at increasing trade and tourism between the Philippines and the rest of the world.

Aside from bilateral negotiation with neighboring states, Porciuncula said the government was also closely involved in the plans to create a single open-skies area in the Southeast Asian region.

This will lead to a regime where the number of flights from one country in the region to another will be based on the actual demand for travel, instead of following a pre-determined numbers of frequencies.


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