MANILA, Philippines – Air talks between the Philippines and Malaysia were postponed as authorities in Kuala Lumpur continue to deal with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said Malaysian authorities asked for the deferment of the air negotiations scheduled on April 3 and 4 due to the search for the missing plane.
“Malaysia asked for deferment to another date that will be agreed upon later. It’s because of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which they are dealing with now,” Arcilla said in a text message.
Beijing-bound MH370, carrying 239 passengers, disappeared on March 8 shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur. A multi-nation search for wreckage from the plane is underway in the Indian Ocean where Malaysia said satellite data indicated it might have gone down.
The Aquino administration is pursuing air talks as part of its open skies policy. Under Executive Order 29, airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila will be opened to more foreign traffic.
This is in line with the country’s target of attracting 10 million tourists by 2016.
The Philippine Air Services Negotiating Panel is composed of officials from CAB, Department of Tourism, Department of Transportation and Communications, and Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives from the Clark International Airport Corporation and Philippine carriers.
The Philippines successfully concluded air talks with New Zealand, Singapore, and France this year. Aside from Malaysia, it is scheduled to hold air talks with Canada, Taiwan, Russia and South Korea.
Last year, the country signed new air agreements with Japan, Macau, Brazil, Australia, Israel and Italy. – Rappler.com