MANILA – Regulators approved Emirates Airlines’ request for an extension of its third daily flight between Manila and Dubai.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the agency granted Emirates 30 more days or until January 26 to offer a third daily flight.
Arcilla said the board approved the carrier’s request because of the huge demand from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the holiday season.
“The board’s action is premised on the need to assure that passengers, especially the big volume of OFWs traveling to and from the Philippine during the holiday season, would not be inconvenienced or dislocated,” he said.
Representatives of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific were unavailable for comment as this went online. Both local carriers had bucked Emirates’ bid for a third extension, complaining that the first two extensions were illegal.
“We are grateful to the authorities in the Philippines for granting an extension on our third daily flight from Manila to Dubai up to 26 January. It is a positive decision that will provide passengers with uninterrupted travel plans, offer increased options for travel during the busy festive season, and one which will be welcomed by the thousands of Filipino travelers and businesses who prefer to use our services to get to Dubai and beyond,” Barry Brown, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for Commercial Operations East, said.
“At Emirates, we remain committed to the Philippines and will continue to work closely with the Civil Aeronautics Board to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all stakeholders. We hope that the interests of consumers and the business community will continue to prevail,” Brown added.
The CAB had issued a cease and desist order, barring Emirates from selling tickets for a third daily flight for schedules beyond December 26, after PAL and Cebu Pacific complained that the third daily flight wasn’t covered by a regulatory permit.
To recall, CAB only extended Emirates’ extra flights twice, or from October 27 to November 26, and from November 27 to December 26.
The Philippine-United Arab Emirates Confidential Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) provides for a maximum of 14 weekly frequencies for the Middle Eastern country’s flag carrier.
Government data show that there are over 700,000 Filipinos working in United Arab Emirates.