The Kuwaiti government has rejected the request of Philippine Airlines to exercise fifth freedom rights to fly from DXB-KWI (Dubai-Kuwait). In retaliation, PAL has requested Philippine Civil Aviation Board to revoke Kuwait Airways’ right to carry passengers from BKK-MNL (Bangkok-Manila).
The bilateral air treaty between Kuwait and the Philippines allowed airlines to carry out 5th freedom, or the right to pick up passengers from a foreign country, after flying from point of origin to to the first foreign country) and carry them to a second foreign country or final destination.
“Similarly, invoking 5th freedom rights, the flag carrier should be allowed to pick up passengers in Dubai to be flown to Kuwait and vice versa,” PAL said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on January 5 of Kuwait rejected PAL’s application for fifth freedom rights.
This means PAL has no rights to carry passengers from Dubai and bring the passengers to Kuwait on its Manila-Dubai-Kuwait flights.
PAL earlier said it was ready to compete on a level playing field. The Middle East and Europe routes, however, are unique because the competitive field is distorted by the massive subsidies enjoyed by Gulf carriers such as Emirates Airlines and Etihad.
PAL stopped flying to the United Arab Emirates in 1997, to Europe in 1998 and to Saudi Arabia in 2006 due to unfair competition, mainly because of massive and well-funded efforts by Mid-East carriers to siphon passenger traffic via their hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other airports in the Gulf region.
Six European airlines also suspended their routes to Manila during the same period as Mid-East carriers employed their multi-million-dollar advantage to devastating effect.
In 2014, Emirates cancelled its Dubai-Clark route in anticipation of receiving permanent additional entitlements to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Emirates was also penalized by the Civil Aeronautical Board in December 2014 for selling without prior authorization flights that exceeded their weekly maximum entitlement.
Emirates and other Mid-East carriers have been lobbying for more flights into Manila in order to carry passengers to destinations beyond the UAE.Standard
When PAL and European carrier flights to the Middle East and Europe stopped in 1997, the monopoly of air service enjoyed by Mid-East airlines led to higher air fares and constrained the growth of European tourists visiting the Philippines.