After delays, Philippines, Malaysia sign new air pact
MANILA, Philippines – After delays, the Philippines finally inked a new air agreement with Malaysia.
Air talks with Malayasia were cancelled twice in 2014. Originally scheduled in April, they were postponed due to the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The air talks were reset to August but had to be called off again due to the shooting down of Malaysia Airline flight MH17 over Ukraine.
With the new air pact, the capacity between Manila and Kuala Lumpur doubled to 9,640 per week from 4,820, Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), said in a text message.
The new air agreement also provides unlimited seats per week from the current 2,000 seats weekly between all points in Malaysia and in the Philippines except Manila, Arcilla said.
The air pact with Malaysia signed in 2011 needs updating to cope with the growing number of passengers between Manila and Kuala Lumpur, Arcilla said.
“The new agreement will allow our airlines to expand on the routes between the Philippines and Malaysia, especially since the market continues to grow and our airlines have been fully utilizing their entitlements,” Arcilla said.
For instance, the low cost carrier AirAsia Zest has been operating beyond the limit and is currently utilizing temporary rights to fly more passengers to Malaysia.
Apart from AirAsia Zest, national flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc and budget airline Cebu Air Inc (Cebu Pacific) also fly to Malaysia.
The air agreement with Malaysia was the 10th concluded by the Philippine air negotiating panel composed of officials from the CAB and the departments of Tourism, Transportation and Communications, and Foreign Affairs, including Clark International Airport Corporation and representatives of Philippine carriers.
As part of its open skies policy, the Aquino administration is pursuing more air talks under Executive Order 29.
The administration targets tourist arrivals to hit 10 million by 2016 from about 5.7 million this year. – Rappler.com