CAB iterates air talks with four nations in 2018

THE air-services regulator iterated consultations with at least four countries, including India, would be held next year.

A Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) official said the CAB is looking at updating the air-services agreements with India, which was last updated more than a decade ago.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said in a chance interview that the Philippine air panel plans to meet with its counter parts from India, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Canada to sign new agreements on air services.

Arcilla did not elaborate. In April the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said it sees direct flights in the India-Philippines market likely to resume by 2018.

India and the Philippines last held air-services negotiations in 2005, when the two countries agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that will allow Filipino carriers to operate seven flights per week to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

The same entitlement was awarded to Indian carriers, which can operate seven flights per week “on each city pair” between the two countries. The first agreement was signed in 1949.

The bilateral agreement with Papua New Guinea, on the other hand, allows Philippine carriers to fly to Port Moresby with a limited capacity of 600 seats. The two nations conducted negotiations for more liberal air-traffic rights in 2013, but Port Moresby junked Manila’s request due to unused capacities.

Currently, Philippine Airlines (PAL) flies to Port Moresby from Manila two times a week.

The Philippines and Japan last updated their air-traffic agreement in 2013. Traffic rights between the Manila and Narita were increased to 400 flights per week between from its 119 flight-contract.

The two parties also agreed to allow 14 weekly flights between Manila and Haneda.

Currently, all 14 coefficients for the coveted Manila-Haneda route are held by PAL. Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia have expressed their desire to also mount flights between the two cities.

Flight entitlements between the Philippines and Canada were doubled in 2014, when the Canadian and Filipino air panels agreed to increase the coefficients from seven weekly flights to 14 flights per week.

Increasing coefficients—measured by the number of flights or seats—allow local and foreign carriers to mount more flights between two or more points, thereby generating more traffic and revenues from travel and tourism.