After an absence of 20 years, Philippine carriers and Italian airlines are now allowed to have direct flights to each other’s major cities because of the Philippines-Italy Air Services Agreement (ASA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs department said both sides held the Air Services Consultations from September 4 to 5 in Rome, Italy.
They discussed and initialed the ASA, and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow direct flights between Rome, Milan, Bergamo, Manila, Cebu and Clark.
There are also other parts of the two countries which might be open to receiving Philippine and Italian air carriers.
“This agreement will benefit some 170,000 Filipinos and their families who work and reside in Italy, among other overseas Filipino workers based in Europe, by affording them the option to take direct flights back home, help boost tourism and encourage increased business travel between the two countries,” the department said.
The last bilateral agreement on air services between the two countries was concluded and signed in 1969. Philippine Airlines (PAL) last flew to Italy in 1994.
The Philippine Air Panel was led Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla while the Italian Air Panel was headed by Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport Dr. M. Cristina Francolini. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON