MANILA, Philippines – Rivals national flag carrier Philippines Airlines Inc. (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) are seeking permits from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to fly to Italy.
PAL is looking at flying to Rome and Milan within the year or early next year using Boeing or Airbus aircraft.
In its application for additional allocation of entitlements to Italy, PAL hopes to fly seven times a week to the Leonardo da Vinci international airport or Fiumicino Airport – the largest airport in Rome.
PAL is also looking at flying seven times a week to Malpensa Airport in Milan.
The Fiumicino airport is the largest airport in Italy and is the sixth busiest airport in Europe while Malpensa Airport is Europe’s 21st busiest airport.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific has filed an application with CAB to fly to Italy seven times a week.
Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei earlier told reporters that the airline is set to meet with EU officials in November to convince them to allow the low cost carrier to fly to the European airspace.
The budget airline has earmarked $4 billion for the acquisition of 49 Airbus aircraft between 2013 and 2021. It currently has a fleet of 47 aircraft and is set to mount its first long haul flight to Dubai on Oct. 7.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla announced last Sept. 5 that the Philippines and Italy have agreed to increase flight entitlements after four decades.
“We got 14 flights per week between the Philippines and Italy. There are 170,000 Filipinos in Italy. Rome and Milan can also be a jump off point for traffic between Southern Europe and the Philippines,” Arcilla revealed.