CAB eyes air-service talks with 3 countries

By Lorenz Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 10 2014 09:20 AM | Updated as of May 10 2014 05:20 PM

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) plans to hold air-service agreement talks with three countries in the next three months to ink and expand the agreements which would facilitate richer trade and further boost tourism.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla told the BusinessMirror that the Philippine air panel is set to meet with its African, Canadian and Burmese counterparts starting this month until July.

Air talks with Myanmar is set from May 19 to 20 in the Burmese capital, Yangon.

“It is an emerging market and our airlines see opportunities in the said country,” Arcilla explained. “Myanmar has a lot of potential.”

Meanwhile, air services talks with Canada is set from June 27 to 28.

The last negotiations between the Philippines and Canada for the expansion of the air-services agreement was held in 2008, he said.

Likewise, the country’s air panel will meet its African counterparts from July 9 to 10 to seek the inking of a new air-services contract.

“They are proposing air talks on June 24 to 25, but we counter-proposed a July 9 to 10 meeting,” Arcilla said.

He added that the expanded air-services agreement will facilitate better trade and attract more foreigners to visit the Philippines.

“We need to expand our air connectivity around the globe,” the official said.

In January the Philippines and France agreed to increase flight entitlements between the two nations to seven weekly flights from one flight per week.

Seat entitlements between the Philippines and Singapore were expanded to 17,600 seats weekly from 13,800 seats per week in the Manila-Singapore route. The negotiations were held in February.

In March, the Philippine air panel successfully increased flight entitlements between the Manila and New Zealand from three flights per week to 21 weekly flights.

The government aims to generate $4.6 billion in tourism revenues by the end of the Aquino administration. It also aims to attract six million tourists and create three million jobs by 2016. This would allow the sector to contribute 6.35 percent to gross domestic product.

Roughly 4.68 million tourists visited the country last year, a 9.56-percent increase versus 2012.