Philippine, Korea to hold air talks in April
These air talks will benefit AirPhil Express, which wants to mount flights to South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – The negotiating panels for a bilateral air service agreement between the Philippines and South Korea are scheduled to meet in April to explore an increase in the current limits in airline passenger traffic.  

“We got a confirmed schedule on April 2 and 3 to hold our first air talks for the year with Korean counterparts,” CAB Carmelo Arcilla, the executive director of Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), said in an interview.

These talks would likely impact local carrier AirPhil Express, which has previously complained of benefits that the Philippines gave Korean airline Jin Air, but the Korean did not reciprocate.

Jin Air mounts flights to Caticlan airport, the jump-off point to tourist haven Boracay Island and one of the facilities covered by the Aquino government’s “open skies” regime.

Arcilla said the negotiation of traffic rights with Korea will take into account the “open skies” policy, which aims to attract foreign airlines to mount flights to Philippine tourist destinations, without limits on frequency, capacity and type of aircraft – the traditional points of negotiation during air talks.   

The CAB is part of the panel which negotiates for traffic rights with other countries. The other panel members include the Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, and representatives from the airline companies.
This will be the first air talks for 2012 with Korea, and could result in an increase in the existing the entitlements of 19,000-weekly seat allocation.

“We are still determining how many more entitlements we need to add. That will be discussed during the air talks in Seoul,” said the CAB official.

“We are not after the quantity of the number of air pact to be sealed this year. What we are after is to ink agreements that are consistent with our aviation objectives. That’s why we must have a more rational program,” he added.

In 2011, the panel amended air services agreements with Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Japan, among others. –

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