PH-New Zealand air pact allows more weekly flights

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While there were no current plans for direct flights between the Philippines and New Zealand, the talks can provide the impetus to support start-up operations

AIR TALKS. Air talks with New Zealand were successful, expanding the freedom rights of both countries.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines concluded air talks with New Zealand, reaching an agreement on Thursday, March 6, to increase the number of seats and expand freedom traffic rights between the two countries.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the two countries agreed to increase the number of flights for each side to 21 flights per week, a significant rise from the current flight count of 3 per week.

Arcilla added that points outside Metro Manila should be unlimited, in accordance with Philippine policies and the multilateral agreements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regarding air liberalization.

One other topics discussed was fifth freedom rights, referring to the right to fly passengers to third countries from a country with which an airline’s resident country has outstanding air services agreements. In this case, both the Philippines and New Zealand agreed to improve their fifth freedom arrangements.

While Philippine carriers can now operate fifth freedom to Australia, New Zealand can now use fifth freedom to get to China, said Arcilla.

Arcilla noted that while there weren’t immediate plans for carriers to have direct flights between the Philippines and New Zealand, “the enhanced fifth freedom can provide better opportunities for carriers to support start-up operations.”

The two countries also agreed to third country code sharing for the carriers of the Philippines and New Zealand. Arcilla explained that “third country code sharing will allow the airlines to market indirect but more seamless services between the two countries, via cooperative agreements with third country airlines, which can help develop the market.”

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) are looking to set direct flights to Australia.

The Philippines previously signed air agreements with Japan, Macau, Brazil, Australia, Israel, and Italy in 2013, and with France in January and Singapore in February of this year. (READ: PH to hold air talks with France, Singapore, N. Zealand)

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