MANILA – The decision to lift the ban of the European Union on the Philippines’ second airline Cebu Pacific is expected to be released on the first half of this year, an EU official in the country said.
Julian Vassallo, political counselor of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said the request for lifting of EU ban on Cebu Pacific is now being reviewed.
After the EU lifted the ban on Philippine Airlines last year and the company’s inaugural flight last November, the ban on the Gokongwei-owned company is now being reconsidered.
“We are happy now that people from both Europe and the Philippines can experience ease of travel with direct flights after more than a decade,” said Vassallo in an interview Friday at the EU office in RCBC building in Makati.
“We are currently helping Cebu Pacific get off the list of EU ban on airlines. I expect a decision on the first half of 2014,” said Vassallo.
He said reestablishing direct flights from the Manila to European destinations will strengthen the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Europe with the ease of flow of people from both sides.
Vassallo said the lifting of EU ban on the country’s airlines will also increase European visitors to the Philippines.
He said the biggest hurdle for many Europeans in going to the Philippines is the long hours of travel and transfers in regional hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Earlier, Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said there were 3,867,386 foreign tourists who arrived in the country from January to October 2013 – a double-digit gain of 11.19 percent compared to 3,478,285 over the same period in 2012.
The top ten tourists who visited the Philippines remain from the main source countries such as South Korea, US, China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and United Kingdom.