CAB eyes new round of air talks with Russia and South Africa

By Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jun 24 2014 07:27 AM | Updated as of Jun 24 2014 03:27 PM

MANILA - After securing more liberal air- traffic rights from six nations, the Philippines’s air-services regulator has set its eyes to expand air pacts with South Africa and Russia.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said in a text message that the CAB has received a request from its African counterpart to hold negotiations for an expanded air-traffic pact.

Additional frequencies are seen to address persistent operation demands and would further boost commerce and tourism between the two countries, he said.

“South Africa could be the next. This is because of the long-standing request of South Africa in view of the interest of South African Airlines to operate to the Philippines,” Arcilla noted.

The regulator explained that his agency has expressed to its African counterparts of its availability in July.

“We are also hoping to confirm a schedule with Russia,” he added.

The meeting between the air-service panels of the Philippines and Russia—originally scheduled in November last year—was postponed at the request of the latter due to internal concerns.

Though having a mutual air-service agreement, the two counties do not have rights to fly directly to each other’s territories.

Only the route structure and the general agreement are contained in the contract, Arcilla explained.

Thus the need to update the old and existing agreement forged in the 1960s or 1970s, he said.

Aside from initializing air operations across countries, the agency also aims to improve situation of passenger traffic by increasing seat entitlements.

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.