Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air is advocating for open skies between the Philippines and Japan in the upcoming RP-Japan Air Consultation Talks, to be held on September 11 to 13 in Tokyo.
“Cebu Pacific plans to aggressively expand into Japan in the future. We fully support the CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] in its efforts to further boost tourism and the Philippine aviation industry,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for Marketing and Distribution of Cebu Pacific.
She added that, “An open skies agreement with Japan will benefit local tourism and trade, especially since we believe Japan can rival South Korea when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals.”
In its position paper submitted to the Philippine Air Consultation Panel on August 15, 2013, Cebu Pacific recognized the government’s efforts in increasing capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), such as minimizing general aviation traffic. It emphasized though that should NAIA capacity become rapidly available, Philippine carriers will not be able to mount flights because of the lack of seat entitlements.
Seat entitlements have to be given first by countries such as Japan, so airlines like Cebu Pacific can increase flights to or add destinations internationally. An open skies agreement will speed up this process and allow Cebu Pacific to immediately expand its Japan operations.
At present, the carrier operates from Manila to Osaka thrice weekly.
The airline noted the compounded decrease of a -2 percent in Japan’s foreign arrival statistics from 2006 to 2011, and attributed it to the lack of additional seat entitlements. Meanwhile, tourist arrivals from Southeast Asian countries grew by double digits.
“Aside from Japan being one of the Philippines’ biggest trading partners, it is also home to 350,000 global Filipinos. Cebu Pacific’s expansion in Japan will allow us to offer our trademark lowest fares to the Philippines to boost business and leisure traffic,” Iyog said.