Flights between PH, Italy coming soon

Rappler.com
Philippine Airlines (PAL) may now fly to Italy. The agreement between the two countries marks the first successfully negotiated air talks since the European Union lifted the ban on Philippine carriers

HELLO, ITALY. Philippine Airlines (PAL) may now fly to Italy, the first successfully negotiated air talks since the European Union lifted the ban. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Direct flights between the Philippines and Italy, home to some 170,000 Filipinos, may commence soon after the two governments agreed to a 14-a-week flight limit.

This marks the first successfully negotiated air talks since the European Union lifted the ban on Philippine carriers in July.

READ: EU allows PAL flights to Europe

It’s also landmark decision for both countries. The 1969 agreement allowed each to only mount one direct flight a week.

“Rome and Milan can also be a jump off point for traffic between Southern Europe and the Philippines,” Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, said in a text message to reporters.

Arcilla is part of the Philippine air panel that took part in the successful negotiations on September 4 and 5.

PAL flights

Among the local commercial airlines, only legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is allowed to mount flights to EU member countries, including Italy.

PAL president Ramon Ang said in July that they plan to resume operations in the European market where it used to hold direct flights until the 1990s. Rome is one of the target destinations they plan to start flying to this 2013. 

The other target international routes in Europe include London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Madrid.

Air talks with France are scheduled for early 2014. 

READ: Philippines pursues air talks with France

PAL is beefing up its fleet to service these target long-haul routes. It has been 15 years since PAL last flew to Europe. 

Watch this video report on how the Philipines got off EU’s aviation blacklist: 

Cebu Pacific, air talks

Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific and other local airlines keen on mounting flights to European destinations still have to comply with EU’s aviation safety regulations before they are allowed in the 28-member bloc’s airspace. 

Governments engage in bilateral air talks to negotiate on destinations covered in each country, frequency of flights, among other details.

After an agreement is reached, each government awards entitlements to their commercial airlines.

The Aquino government is keen on lifting regulatory restrictions in the number of allowed flights to and from the country as part of efforts to increase tourism and trade. 

The Philippines has set a tourist arrivals goal of 10 million by 2016.

READ: Tourism industry to get boost from lifting of EU ban

This 2013’s goal is 5.5 million foreign visitors. – Rappler.com

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