Air Talks Set with Israel, Russia

Source: Business World Online



THE PHILIPPINES will hold air service talks with Israel and Russia before the end of the year to secure seat entitlements from those countries, officials of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said.

“The next air service talk is in Israel on Nov. 4 and 5,” Jesus F. Ibay, officer-in-charge of the CAB’s planning and research division, said in a chance interview.

“We will have air service talks with Russia in November or sometime in December, but there is still no confirmed date,” he also said. The talks with Russia will be held here in this country.

The Philippines has existing air service agreements with Israel and Russia. However, these ASAs are considered outdated, as they were inked in the 1960s or ‘70s, Mr. Ibay said.

He could not immediately provide the existing seat entitlements from Israel while the Philippines has none from Russia. To date, no local airline flies to either country.

“They (Russia) wanted to meet with us; so do we, because we do not have entitlements, just routes. But there are chartered flights,” Mr. Ibay added.

Asked if it is possible for two countries to have an ASA with no entitlements, Mr. Ibay clarified: “It’s possible; just the route structure and the general agreement contained in ASA.”

“PAL (Philippine Airlines) has expressed its interest to fly to Russia; Cebu Pacific might ask for entitlements with the delivery of their long-haul planes,” he said.

“PAL is intending to fly to Israel; that’s why we are arranging talks with Israel,” he added.

Mr. Ibay said that the Philippine air panel’s main target markets for Israel are pilgrims and overseas Filipino workers.

“There were Russian groups who want to go to the Philippines via Vladivostok,” Wyrlou E. Samodio, who heads the legal division of CAB, also noted. — Lorenz Christoffer S. Marasigan


Cebu Pacific Wants PHL-JPN Open Skies Deal

Source: GMA News Online




Cebu Air Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, is urging the Aquino administration to forge an open skies policy with Japan as a way of boosting trade and tourism and reverse a decline in Japanese tourists to the Philippines.

An open skies agreement between the bilateral partners should be tackled in the upcoming air talks with Japan under the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), a Cebu Pacific official said.
“An Open Skies agreement with Japan will benefit local tourism and trade, especially since we believe Japan can rival South Korea when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals,” vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog noted in a statement Wednesday.
In a position paper filed with the Philippine Air Consultation Panel, the Cebu Pacific said carriers from the Philippines would not be able to mount additional flights to other countries including Japan in the absence of seat entitlements as Philippine authorities struggle to increase capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Seat entitlements must be given by other countries like Japan so airlines can increase flights or add international destinations, according to the budget airline.
An open skies deal with Japan would let Cebu Pacific to expand its Japan operations beyond the thrice weekly Manila-to-Osaka flights. “Cebu Pacific plans to aggressively expand into Japan in the future. We fully support the CAB in its efforts to further boost tourism and the Philippine aviation industry,” Iyog said.
Japan could dislodge Korea as a major source of tourists for the Philippines, the airline official noted.
Official data showed a 2 percent compounded drop in tourist arrivals from Japan in 2006 to 2011, primarily in the absence of new seat entitlements.
“Aside from Japan being one of the Philippines’ biggest trading partners, it is also home to 350,000 global Filipinos. Cebu Pacific’s expansion in Japan will allow us to offer our trademark lowest fares to the Philippines to boost business and leisure traffic,” Iyog said..
Japan, once one of the most protective aviation sectors in the world, has signed Open Skies agreements with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, France, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, US, Canada, and Mexico.
CAB Deputy Executive Director Porvenir Porciuncula told reporters Wednesday the PHL-Japan Air Consultation Talks is scheduled for Sept. 11 to 13 in Tokyo.
The Philippine panel hopes to secure additional seat entitlements for Philippine carriers to mount additional flights to Japan, Porciuncula said.
The Philippines and Japan last held air talks in 2008. — VS, GMA News