MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Oman have signed a new air agreement that is expected to benefit about 50,000 Filipinos based in Oman, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) reported Wednesday, April 8.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in a text message that the new air pact – the second signed by the Philippines this year – increases frequencies between Manila and Muscat to 7 from 3 flights per week.
The agreement, which would benefit an estimated 50,000 Filipinos working and living in Oman, amends the Bilateral Air Service Agreement and Confidential Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the two countries in December 2009.
The new air agreement also covers fifth freedom traffic rights, referring to the right to fly passengers to third countries from a country with an outstanding air services agreement with the airline’s resident country.
Under the new agreement, carriers from the Philippines would be allowed to carry passengers to one point in Europe, one point in India, and one point in the Gulf States.
In exchange, airlines from Oman would be allowed to carry passengers to one point in Malaysia, one point in Indonesia, and one point in Thailand.
Oman Air, designated carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, started its thrice-weekly service between Manila and Muscat on December 2. It is eyeing mounting daily flights to the Philippines to accommodate the growing number of passengers.
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has expressed its intention to fly to Muscat as early as April 2013.
In February, the Philippines signed its first air agreement for 2015 opening up more commercial opportunities for airlines of the Philippines and Singapore through higher seat entitlements and limit on the frequencies as well as additional co-terminal points.
This air pact increased the current capacity entitlements between Manila and Singapore by 7.1% to 18,888 seats per week for each country from the current 17,627 seats per week.
The Aquino administration is pursuing more air talks as part of its open skies policy under Executive Order 29. The administration aims to double tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2016.
In 2014, the Philippines concluded air talks with Ethiopia, South Africa, Macau, Canada, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, and France.