PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific will each get seven flight entitlements to Israel, the top official of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said.
In an interview, CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said 14 flight entitlements will be divided equally between PAL and Cebu Pacific.
“Pending the formal resolution on this, we allocated seven to PAL and another seven to Cebu Pacific during our board meeting,” he said.
The CAB is now preparing the formal resolution which, Arcilla said, will be finalized in a week.
PAL has filed with the CAB an application for confirmation of its designation as official Philippine carrier and allocation of 14 frequency entitlements to Tel Aviv.
Separately, Cebu Pacific also filed for designation as official Philippines carrier and allocation of seven flight entitlements to the Israeli capital.
PAL and Cebu Pacific declined to comment, saying they have yet to receive the formal notice.
Last month the Philippines successfully arranged for an amended air services agreement (ASA) with Israel, fielding as much as 21 weekly flights and allowing fifth freedom flights.
Under the new ASA, the designated airlines of each country are entitled to a total of 21 flights per week between any points in the Philippines and Israel.
The air panels of both countries also agreed to three fifth freedom flights per week on one intermediate point in Mumbai and one beyond point, identified as Madrid.
Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to fly between two foreign countries during flights while the flight originates or ends in one’s own country.
This means PAL can fly to India, unload and pick up passengers and proceed to Israel; or unload and pick up in Israel and proceed to Madrid, explained Arcilla.
The Philippines and Israel also agreed on co-terminal and stopover rights to any third country for the 21 flight entitlements. “This means a Philippine carrier can bring passengers to Tel Aviv and proceed to say, Rome; or bring passengers to Tel Aviv, and pick them up again after several days for onward travel to say, Rome,” explained Arcilla.
For now, the CAB executive said demand to Israel isn’t large “as none of our local carriers are flying there yet. We are not thinking yet of the long-term scenario.
The old ASA between the two countries was inked in 1951. Arcilla said CAB has no records of the previous entitlements because these were not stipulated in the ASA. “Probably, these were in a form of a memorandum of understanding. But presumably it’s a very low number, as was common during that time. PAL used to operate to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s but we don’t have records anymore,” said Arcilla.
The panel is looking forward to sealing another air pact on March 5 and 6, this time with New Zealand.