• Myanmar, PH conclude air talks

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    The governments of the Philippines and Myanmar announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on air services allowing the designated airlines of each country a total of 3,780 seats per week, or about three flights per day, for each country between Manila and points in Myanmar.

    Myanmar has three international airports.

    In addition, the parties agreed on unlimited traffic rights between all points in the Philippines, except Manila, and all points in Myanmar.

    The MoU, signed on May 20, states the need to modernize and update the current air services agreement between the two countries that was originally signed in 1979. Myanmar is a rapidly growing economy of about 60 million people, with a potential for the development of direct connectivity with the Philippines.

    The two governments held two-day talks from May 19 in Yangon, which included negotiations for air service agreements.

    Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla had said that seat entitlements were part of the discussions between the two governments.

    The Philippines has no local carrier that flies to Myanmar.

    CAB has said Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Zest have plans to open routes to Myanmar to tap its emerging market and good tourism prospects.

    The Philippines held successful air talks with the governments of France in January, Singapore in February and New Zealand in March.

    Early this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that beginning January 4, 2014, Filipinos holding ordinary passports may enter Myanmar without a visa and stay there for up to 14 days.

    January 4 was the date the agreement between the Philippines and Myanmar on the visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports took effect, after it was signed during the state visit to the Philippines of Myanmar President U Thein Sein on December 5, 2013.

    The visa-free entry agreement is expected to boost tourism, trade, and investment between the two countries.

    The Philippine government is pursuing air talks as part of its open skies policy. Under Executive Order 29, airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are to be opened to accommodate more foreign traffic.

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