Emirates Airlines, one of the flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates, appealed on Malacañang anew on Friday to approve its request to increase the frequency of its Manila-Dubai flight from two to three because of the growing number passengers, mostly overseas Filipino workers.
Abdalla Al Zamani, Emirates Philippines Country Manager, said the company has also asked the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to reconsider its decision rejecting its application to increase the frequency of its flights.
“We encourage the honorable Board to reconsider its decision and to allow the resumption of our third flight as soon as possible for the sake of tourism and the business community,” Zamani said.
CAB allowed Emirates a third flight last December until January 26 to accommodate a big number of Filipino workers during the holiday season. CAB later rejected Emirates’ application for extension.
Emirates elevated its request to Malacañang, where it is still pending. It also invited the government to hold air talks with UAE to discuss more daily flights between the two countries.
“We hope that the bilateral talks between the governments of the Philippines and the UAE take place as soon as possible to address the urgent need for extra flights,” Zamani said.
He said there would be enough passengers for Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB) and Emirates Airlines because of the growing volume of traffic between the two countries.
“We believe the demand is huge and it is growing. That is why there is a need for more flights between Dubai and Manila to catch up with this demand from tourists, business travelers and OFWs,” Zamani said.
Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Perpetou Lotilla said Emirate Airlines’ request for additional flight was still pending in Malacañang and the proposal to hold air talks “has to be discussed further.”
“Other economic objections have to be raised. Technically it should not be like that, they should have gone to the CA (Court of Appeals) but they went to the OP (Office of the President) instead. Maybe they are following the administrative procedure,” Lotilla said.
CEB and PAL said they welcomed healthy competition that benefits the traveling public but it should not mean allowing foreign carriers like Dubai-based Emirates to disregard Philippine laws.
The local carriers opposed Emirates’ third daily flight between Manila and Dubai, saying that Emirates was selling tickets without government approval.
The demand for air travel services between Dubai and Philippines would grow during the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, which was expected to generate 275,000 jobs and opportunities for Filipinos in the hospitality, engineering Information Technology and medical services industries.
In 2013, remittances of Filipinos from UAE reached $1.26 billion, an increase of 31.45 percent compared with $960 million in 2012.
Emirates invested almost $100 million through direct expenditures in the Philippines in 2013 and its three daily flights supported over 4,300 jobs in the country through direct employment as well as via the supply chain catering, ground handling and other associated air travel services.
For 2015, Emirates Group is expected to hire additional 11,000 people to strengthen its workforce.