Government favors Jin Air despite protests from AirPhilExpress

Rappler.com
The government sides with Korea's Jin Air, extending its temporary permit, despite complaint from Lucio Tan's Airphil Express

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) extended the temporary permit of Jin Air, a Korean low-cost carrier, for another month despite the protests of Lucio Tan group’s budget carrier, Airphil Express.

CAB, which regulates and develops the economic aspect of aviation, allowed Jin Air to service the Incheon-Kalibo route until mid-February. The route allows Korean tourists to reach the idyllic island of Boracay.

“We gave a second batch of approval after the first partial approval lapsed last January 22,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla explained on Tuesday, January 24.

Arcilla added that the board of CAB will meet on the first week of February to determine it’s next move. “We can’t speculate what kind of action the board will take,” he said.

The extension was granted based on President Aquino’s ‘open skies’ policy, which was based on Executive Order no. 29 issued in 2011.

The EO aims to lessen congestion in Ninoy Aquino International Airport by encouraging foreign carriers to setup flights in secondary hubs, which are largely underserved by international and local airlines.

The EO provides for third, fourth and fifth freedom rights, which means foreign carriers can mount flights in any secondary airport without restrictions on frequency, capacity and aircraft type. In line with the order, Arcilla said the board had begun issuing permits last year for airlines from Korea and Taiwan to Kalibo, one of the two airports servicing the tourist haven of Boracay. (The other is Caticlan airport)

AirPhil Express made noise. The Lucio Tan group’s budget carrier had blocked Jin Air’s bid after its attempt to resume flights from Manila to Incheon was thwarted by CAAP’s counterpart in Korea. 

The Manila-Incheon route had been suspended for 6 years, during which time the United States Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 safety status, which prevents Philippine carriers from expanding operations in the states and triggered a Korean regulation that prevents states tagged with a significant safety concern by the FAA from inaugurating additional flights in Korea.

Arcilla added that “Airphil complained that there is no reciprocity and Filipino carriers are not given equal opportunity. We will address the complaint and make a decision sometime first week of February.” –Rappler.com