SALALAH — Budget airlines Cebu Pacific’s Muscat-Manila operation is caught in the technicality of freedom rights, as the operators are waiting for clearance of ‘5th freedom traffic rights’ to operate in the sector. The airlines management is evaluating its earlier plan, as it was hoping to start the operation in the middle of this year.
“We have been looking at ways in which ‘5th freedom traffic rights’ can be allowed. For the Manila-Muscat route, we are expecting a majority of our passengers to be Filipino — those residing in Oman and returning to the Philippines for a holiday, as well as their friends and relatives coming to visit them in Oman,” said Alex Reyes, General Manager, Cebu Pacific Air — Long Haul Division, in an email response to the Observer.
According to Alex the commercial viability of services between Oman and the Philippines would be enhanced if there are ‘5th freedom traffic rights — the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country — enabling to carry passengers beyond Muscat. “The CEB is limited by the current air services, which does not allow the exercise of such traffic rights.”
There is a whole set of internationally adopted commercial aviation rights, referred to as the ‘freedoms of the air’. These rights set out scenarios in which commercial planes would operate routes for revenue. The first two rights, the first freedom and second freedom, are the most standard and over 129 countries have adopted the treaty that allow them.From there, the freedoms of the air get progressively rarer as they require approval from multiple states. This goes all the way down to the 8th Freedom, also known as ‘cabotage’, which as an example would allow a foreign carrier to fly on domestic routes.
Source: Kaushalendra Singh, Oman Daily Observer