CEBU Pacific has filed a petition with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) asking for additional seat entitlements following the signing on Wednesday of a new air service agreement by Hong Kong and Philippine travel authorities.
The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on air services between the Philippines and Hong Kong expanded the capacity to 30,000 seats per week, from the previous limit of 15,000 seats per week.
The MOU replaced a 2008 agreement, and showed positive signs that the tension between Manila and Hong Kong had eased since the tragic 2010 Manila hostage incident where Hong Kong tourists were killed.
With the doubled air seats between Manila and Hong Kong, Cebu Pacific said it will increase and upgrade its flights to Hong Kong after CAB approves its petition for more seats.
The airline currently operates seven flights daily to Hong Kong from Manila, Cebu, Clark and Iloilo.
“We congratulate the Philippine Air Panel for successfully negotiating an increase in flight capacity with a key tourism and trade partner of the Philippines. The increase in air rights will allow CEB to add flights to Hong Kong, in support of the Department of Tourism’s Visit Philippines program in 2015. We look forward to serving even more of our kababayans in Hong Kong and their families back home,” said Jorenz Tanada, CEB vice president for corporate affairs.
Carmelo Arcilla, CAB executive director, said that the MOU with Hong Kong was done as part of the government’s open skies policy.
Under Executive Order 29, airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are to be opened to accommodate more foreign traffic.
“We also agreed on unlimited capacity in all International airports in the Philippines outside Manila in accordance with EO 29. The previous agreement only allowed 4,300 seats per week to Clark, [Clark International Airport].” Arcilla added.