MANILA – The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) announced Friday that the Philippines and Qatar have signed, on May 28 in Doha, a new Memorandum Of Understanding on Air Services, increasing the maximum number of flights for each country from the current eight flights per week to 14, or an increase of 6 flights per week.
The parties also agreed to accommodate unlimited flights between Doha and other airports in the Phil, except Manila. Previously, the entitlements outside Manila were 14 per week to Clark and 14 per week to Cebu.
CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said that Qatar Airways is currently flying out of NAIA Terminal 1 eight times a week to Hamad International Airport.
Arcilla said that, as a result of the latest air talk agreement, the last one being held in 2009, Cebu Pacific could expect to start services between Manila and Doha on June 5, 2015.
CAB said that there are about 250,000 OFWs in Qatar.
There are six Middle East carriers that fly out of NAIA, Cebu and Clark: These are Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Air, Emirates Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Etihad Airways.
Sources from the aviation industry note that Qatar is making this aggressive move, pushing to increase its flights, considering that the demand for air travel between the two countries are currently on the downtrend and that even the Middle East market is weak.
One logical explanation seems to be that Qatar is the sixth largest freedom hub airline that relies on the carriage of traffic between city pairs outside of its territory.