Emirates pushes for revival of 3rd Manila-Dubai daily flight
MANILA, Philippines – Emirates will push for the revival of its third daily flight between Manila and Dubai when the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) conduct air talks in July.
“Since the removal of the third daily flight, Emirates’ two daily flights on the Dubai-Manila route have been operating at 100% capacity in economy class – with no seats left for international tourists and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” the airline said.
The Emirates Manila-Dubai route expired on January 26. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) denied the petition of the airline to further extend its third daily flight. (READ: Emirates: ‘Underserved’ Dubai-Manila route needs 3rd daily flight)
Barrier to PH tourism growth
Emirates pointed out that there is no capacity available for tourists who want to visit the country, considering that the government has declared 2015 as “Visit the Philippines Year.”
“The restoration of Emirates’ third daily flight is essential to preventing serious negative disruptions to OFWs, tourists, and exporters via a dramatic drop in seats and cargo space,” it said.
The airline explained that demand for the Dubai-Manila route remains extremely high throughout the year.
For instance, tourists from the UAE are identified to patronize high-end hotels and stay in the country for 8 to 10 days on average.
“The current scarcity of seats, combined with reduced non-stop travel options have, unfortunately, become a barrier to Philippine tourism,” it added.
Currently, there are approximately 850,000 Filipinos residing in Dubai and the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai is also expected to generate more than 275,000 new jobs.
With increased seat demand from OFWs and international tourists, Emirates said the airline is also witnessing an increased demand for more direct flights.
“Travel options for millions of Filipinos residing overseas are also limited. Emirates’ extensive network from Dubai provides the solution to this problem,” the airline said.
The reduction of Emirates’ flights between Manila and Dubai has also affected Philippine exports as the airline’s cargo capacity has been reduced by 18,000 kilograms on the Manila-Dubai route every day, the airline said.
“With this acute shortage in cargo capacity, cost for cargo transportation has also escalated,” it added.
In October 2014, the regulator turned down the petition of Emirates to use the unutilized frequency of Philippine Airlines until March 2015. The Middle Eastern carrier filed an appeal before the CAB.
CAB granted Emirates a 30-day extension to continue its third daily flight between Manila and Dubai until November 26.
The regulator granted Emirates a second 30-day extension allowing the Middle Eastern carrier to mount 3 daily flights in the route until December 26.
However, CAB granted the third “final and inextendible” extension for the third daily flight of Emirates for the Manila-Dubai-Manila route until January 26 so as not to inconvenience OFWs in the Middle East going home for the Christmas holidays.
Emirates again sought another 30-day extension prior to the expiration of the third extension on January 26 that was denied by CAB. It elevated the case to the Office of the President in February. (READ: Emirates seeks Aquino’s mediation for 3rd Dubai-Manila flight)
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr earlier told reporters that the Philippine air negotiating panel is in the final stages of preparing for serious discussions with the UAE, despite objections from national flag carrier Philippine Airlines of taipan Lucio Tan and budget airline Cebu Pacific of tycoon John Gokongwei.
Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines (PAL) said in November that Emirates should not be granted an increase in service capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), citing Executive Order No. 29.
PAL and Cebu Pacific explained that the move is a “mockery” of government regulations, bypassing limits laid down by bilateral aviation agreements. (READ: PAL, Cebu Pacific protest Emirates' 'excessive' Dubai-Manila flights)
The Philippine carriers win the round, as CAB slapped a P1.8 million ($23,946.73) fine on Emirates for selling tickets for the Manila-Dubai route without prior approval from the regulator. – Rappler.com
$1 = P45.10
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