THE Philippines and United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) on air services that enhanced the exchange of traffic rights between the two countries and raised the number of flights weekly for each country from 28 to 35.
“The parties agreed to increase the maximum number of flights per week for each country from the current 28 flights to 35, subject to the condition that the UAE carrier operating such additional flights to Manila is bound to also operate separately to Clark or Cebu within one year from signing of the MOU,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.
“This condition is in line with our open skies policy on our developmental gateways outside Manila, and forces UAE airlines to invest in our developmental gateways,” he added.
“The Philippines also got on, a unilateral basis, additional fifth freedom traffic rights to the UK, US and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“This means that our carriers can fly from Manila to UAE and onward to any country including the UK, US and Saudi Arabia. This will improve Philippine connectivity and also the commercial viability of our routes to the UAE,” Arcilla explained.
The CAB official said the parties also agreed on co-terminalization, which means that an airline from one country can fly to a city in the other country and onward to another city in that country without picking up passengers in the domestic leg.
This also improves connectivity and viability, he said.
“Overall, the talks were a success for Philippine connectivity and network development,” Arcilla said.
“The Philippine Government panel and our airlines view the exchange as more or less fair, as the increase in traffic rights for both sides, which our airlines opposed, is minimal, and we also got unilateral concessions for the increase, in terms of subjecting the operation of the additional traffic rights by the UAE carriers, on the operation of services to Clark or Cebu (which are covered by our open skies policy),” he said.
“We also got additional concession by way of additional fifth freedom traffic rights to the UK, US and Saudi Arabia, which we obtained on a unilateral basis,” Arcilla said.